Media Turn Edwards' Shrill Blogger into Political Martyr

Amanda Marcotte, one of two vitriol-spewing anti-Christian bloggers hired by the John Edwards presidential campaign, resigned on February 12, 2007. 

Liberal media reported that Marcotte was “driven out” of her job by Catholic League President Bill Donohue.  Last week, Donohue issued a press release detailing some of Marcotte's anti-Christian bigotry.  Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly also gave the story lots of airtime.  Today Donohue called for Edwards to fire the other anti-Christian blogger, Melissa McEwan, who infamously referred to President Bush's “wing-nut Christofascist base” in a blog entry.

Marcotte's resignation made big news in the mainstream media today.  Among other outlets, The Associated Press wrote a story, The New York Times carried it on its political blog, and The Washington Post dedicated a full column to it on page A-4.  The common theme was political martyrdom.

Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz quotes Marcotte lambasting Donohue “and his cavalcade of right wing shills.” According to Marcotte, Donohue and his supporters, who “don't respect that a mere woman like me could be hired for my skills, and pretended that John Edwards had to be held accountable for some of my personal, non-mainstream views on religious influence on politics” were to blame for her ouster.  The Post repeats Marcotte's claim that Donohue ran a “scorched earth campaign” against her, and gives her a platform to claim martyrdom: “It was creating a situation where I felt that every time I coughed, I was risking the Edwards campaign.”

All this within the first three paragraphs of the Post's story.  AP reports the martyrdom in paragraph two.  The New York Times political blog makes martyrdom the lead for the story.

The Post glosses over Marcotte's inflammatory comments, burying them in the seventh paragraph.  Of course, neither the AP nor The New York Times stories mention them at all.

For those who can stomach it, here are some samples of what Marcotte wrote:

    What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit? You'd have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.

    The Catholic church is not about to let something like compassion for girls get in the way of using the state as an instrument to force women to bear more tithing Catholics.

    The Pope's gotta tell women who give birth to stillborns that their babies are cast into Satan's maw.

    Protestant anti-choice a**holes are on the horizon.

None of these outlets reported Bill Donohue's thoughtful arguments regarding Marcotte. The Post did quote a statement by Donohue in a press release last week: “John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots.”  This quote is buried in the 10th paragraph. 

Why didn't any of Donohue's other statements make the cut?  Press releases on The Catholic League's Web site, where the Post presumably pulled the statement regarding Edwards, contain some pointed comparisons between Marcotte's vitriol and that of other press-pronounced bigots: 

“Had anyone on his [Edwards] staff used the 'N-word,' he or she would have been fired immediately. But his goal is to loot the pockets of the Soros/Hollywood gang, and they—like him—aren't offended by anti-Catholicism. Indeed, they thrive on it.

“When Mel Gibson got drunk and made anti-Semitic remarks, he paid a price for doing so. When Michael Richards got angry and made racist remarks, he paid a price for doing so. When Isaiah Washington got ticked off and made anti-gay remarks, he paid a price for doing so.”

Each of the celebrity rants cited above received substantial coverage by the media.  But there is a double standard for bigotry and hatred aimed at Christians. Reporting such comparisons would mean giving voice to the conservative viewpoint and balance to the story.  

Had Marcotte substituted Mohammed, Allah or Islam where she bashes the Pope, God or the Catholic Church, she would have been vilified in the mainstream media.  But because the object of her attacks is Christianity, the liberal media don't feel the need to report the full story. 

Martyrdom of a liberal blogger on a sword wielded by “right wing shills” plays much better to the base.

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institute (