Can politicians tame bloggers?

John Edwards, angling for the Democratic presidential nomination, has decided to keep two stroppy feminist bloggers on his campaign. If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em? Edwards seems to have imposed an uneasy truce on the two bloggers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan.

This story line will resurface on many fronts in future. Political campaigns are controlled to the nth degree, whereas there's something intrinsically rebellious about blogs. Amanda and Melissa have duly produced public apologies for some of the things they have said online. But—but—but!

The New York Times reports:

John Edwards learned the hard way this week of the perils of grafting the raucous culture of the Internet to the decidedly staider world of a presidential campaign. [...]

Mr. Edwards could keep the women on his staff and have to answer for the sometimes vulgar and intemperate writings posted on their personal blogs before he hired them late last month. He could dismiss them and face a revolt in the liberal blogosphere, which is playing an increasingly influential role in Democratic politics and could be especially important to his populist campaign. Some bloggers saw the controversy as manufactured by conservative groups.

Or, as Mr. Edwards did Thursday, he could keep the two bloggers on staff, but distance himself from their views.

Sorry, can't link to the exact page of NYT. Date of Simon Rosenberg's story is 9 February 2007.


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