Creatively reinterpreting the past appears to be a theme in case-related matters this week. The potbangers blazed the trail; Amanda Marcotte took up the challenge.
The ex-official blogger for the Edwards campaign published an explanation of her departure yesterday in Salon.
Her departure from the Edwards campaign, in her view, was a cataclysmic setback. In her article, she claimed:
- “Regardless of its motive, the result of the smear campaign was to send a loud, clear signal to young feminist women. It tells them that campaigning for Democratic candidates, and particularly doing so in positions that would help the candidate connect with young feminist communities like the one that thrives in the blogosphere, is a scary, risky prospect.”
- “When I was trying to decide whether to resign, no other concern weighed as heavy as the fear that resigning would tell the right-wing mob that harassing young feminists works.”
- “It’s also plausible that the right-wing noise machine was working on pure misogynist emotion.”
- “This was just the first sign that the established media and political circles will not be letting the blog-writing rabble into the circle without a fight.”
Marcotte mostly attacked the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue. But, she conceded, her problems began when she “noticed a small flare-up of oddly aggressive and misogynistic comments in my moderation queue over a short, irritated post I wrote about the coverage of the Duke lacrosse rape case on CNN.” That post, dated early January, openly asserted that a sexual assault took place.
Her response? To assume “that some anti-feminist blogger had linked me and so, in frustration, I went and rewrote my by-then week-old post to mock the commenters by spelling out my views in childish, easy-to-understand language.”
Marcotte is a professional blogger; I’m not. But I don’t consider it common practice at most blogs to, upon receiving questioning comments, eliminate the original post and replace it with something else.
And how does Marcotte define an “anti-feminist blogger”? Apparently anyone who believes that no evidence exists in this case to suggest that a rape occurred.
The affair, laments Marcotte, “may have been the first indication that the right-wing noise machine had noticed me and was looking for something with which to hurt me and my new employers.”
The blogs that did the most postings on Marcotte and the Duke case were Liestoppers and DIW—hardly part of the “right-wing noise machine.” Liestoppers was devoted to a campaign designed to allow Mike Easley, a Democrat, to appoint
But, as Marcotte made clear in her original (airbrushed) post about the case, she clearly is someone for whom the facts are secondary to advancing her ideological agenda.
By the way, Marcotte also claimed in her Salon column that “liberal blogs are issue-oriented and good at parsing out complex ideas that don’t fit well into the sound-bite-driven mainstream discourse. They are a good fit for wonky Democrats.”
Here’s a compilation of Marcotte’s postings on the lacrosse case. How many people would consider these postings examples of “parsing out complex ideas,” or “wonky,” or “issue-oriented”?
Another redefining occurred this week in the Chronicle column of one of the few remaining defenders of the Group of 88, Samson Mesele. Echoing the assertion of Charles Piot from last Monday’s edition of the Group of 88 Rehab Tour, Mesele claimed that the Group of 88 is really the Group of 89—that “in my view, [President Brodhead] is an honorary signatory of the ad and its references to student-identified problems of racism, sexual coercion and social inequality at Duke.” (I’m not sure Brodhead would agree with this claim.)
Mesele articulated the Group of 88’s current talking points—(1) the ad had nothing to do with the lacrosse case; (2) dozens of professors taking out full-page ads “listening” to their students is somehow routine in higher education: (3) critics have willfully misinterpreted the document, which no one noticed at the time.
“Indeed,” he wrote, “the April ad’s social commentary transcends the very dimensions of the lacrosse case. Publishing student experiences is . . . an extension of the University’s educational interests.”
The latter claim is, of course, absurd: it would imply that every day, college newspapers are filled with dozens of ads published by dozens of professors “listening” to students with whom those professors agree on ideological issues.
But what of Mesele’s first claim? His assertion echoed that of the “clarifying” faculty, whose defiant open letter asserted that the Group of 88’s statement was not “a comment on the alleged rape, the team party, or the specific students accused.”
Here’s an announcement (scroll down the page) of an April 12 event at the
Wednesday, April 12th, 2006: 07:00 PM - 08:30 PM
John Hope Franklin Center
Thinking About This Social Disaster
Wahneema Lubiano (AAAS and Literature), Thavolia Glymph (AAAS and History), and Serena Sebring (Sociology)
The presenters will talk about what has happened, what is happening, and what is coming together in the framing of the accusation of rape against members of the Duke men’s lacrosse team and its afterlife. [emphasis added] There will be plenty of time for audience members to be part of the discussion.
The same announcement on the African-American Studies program blog helpfully contained a link to the (since-removed) URL of . . . the Group of 88’s ad.
Serena Sebring, as a post earlier this week noted, was a prominent potbanger; when asked whether the protesters should apologize for their rush to judgment, she eloquently replied, “Nope.” At the forum noted above, Thavolia Glymph lamented how “since the [negative] DNA results were returned Monday, we [have been] moving backwards.” And Lubiano, of course, was not only the author of the Group of 88’s ad, but the author of eight of the student quotes in the ad, which came not from a transcript but from her (apparently unverified) notes.
- The “listening” statement, which contained quotes about what “happened to this woman” and thanked protesters for not waiting, was entitled, “What Is a Social Disaster?”
- Six days after its publication, the AAAS hosted a forum entitled “Thinking about a Social Disaster,” which addressed “what has happened, what is happening, and what is coming together in the framing of the accusation of rape against members of the Duke men’s lacrosse team and its afterlife.”
- The official announcement of the event on the AAAS website linked to the “listening” statement.
But the ad was not “a comment on the alleged rape, the team party, or the specific students accused.”
As Marcotte discovered, it’s difficult to airbrush the internet.