Home > Blogging/Tech/New Media, Election 2009: LG, The Opposition > Pat Edmonson’s War on Blogging

Pat Edmonson’s War on Blogging

From The Virginian-Pilot we have word that Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Pat Edmonson is none too happy about some of the things that are being published about her on one particular blog and intends to do something about it:

Hurling homophobic and racial slurs, an unidentified blogger has launched an Internet attack on lieutenant governor candidate Pat Edmonson.

Campaign officials said the barbs began with e-mails sent in recent weeks and have migrated to an anti-Edmonson Web site.

Responding to that deluge, the campaign Thursday filed a lawsuit in Virginia Beach General District Court that seeks to have the blog shut down and the identity of its creator revealed.

Edmonson spokesman Conner Morris said the campaign is “hiring security, which is highly unusual for this kind of race” because of concerns about the threatening tone of some of the e-mails.

Posts on the “Stop Pat Edmonson” blog criticize campaign staffers, insult the candidate’s physical appearance, question her sexuality – in one she is called a “bull dike” – and label her African American husband a “negro.”

I have been to the blog in question, and in the interest of good taste I have decided not to link to the above-mentioned blog. One thing is clear: it is a vile, meanspirited attempt to end the campaign of Pat Edmonson. The blog’s tone and single-minded focus on Edmonson’s candidacy are both disturbing. Equally disturbing, however, is Edmonson’s response, to wish to out the individual and take down the blog, is equally disturbing. 

I must admit that I am conflicted on this particular story. On one hand, I know the trouble that comes with being (in my case, only slightly so) a public figure. In one’s desire to be involved in the political process, you give up a degree of anonymity. It’s bothersome that people are always so determined to make such a deal out of it, but people’s private lives do come up in determining which candidate to support, although in some cases (such as with the above author) that focus is greatly misplaced. Personality and politics, however, are inseparable, and when you choose to fight in the political spectrum, you give some of that up. However, many of the accusations that are made can border on being very hurtful.

However, as a blogger, I also value public discourse of both candidates and issues. Certainly on this blog I have chosen a different tone and to not be anonymous; not so for others. Some do it to protect their public position; others do it out of sheer cowardice. However, I have decided to sacrifice the simplicity of remaining silent for the ability to add something to the public discourse with this blog. It’s not an easy road to hoe; however, I feel compelled to be part of the discourse in this manner, and I reject any attempts to be silenced. That’s why, despite the author’s tone and decision to remain anonymous, I cannot condone the actions of the Edmonson campaign. Because, ultimately, if Edmonson goes after this, what’s to stop the next candidate from saying that I’ve gone over the line? What makes Ben Tribbett’s equally scandalous but less venomous remark’s about Edmonson’s lack of professionalism more worthy of protection? Will this always be the case? 

Again, I abhor the author’s approach but feel that, as with any other political player, they should be subject to their opinion, no matter the forum nor tone. Just as Edmonson chose to be a player, so did this individual, and each should be judged equally in their conduct–I refuse to afford special protections to an individual simply because they are a candidate for public office.

To quote Voltaire: “I may disagree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.”

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  1. March 20, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Just a point of clarification:

    The lawsuit (Edmonson V. Google) was prompted by emails containing threats against the candidate. These threats represent criminal activity and the purpose of the lawsuit is to obtain the identity of the people responsible so that they may be brought to justice.

    As has been indicated in several communications from the Edmonson campaign, Pat believes in free speech rights and respects aspects of the internet that make it easier for people to communicate ideas, opposition, etc. Pat does not believe those rights extend to anonymous threats of physical harm.

    Do you believe that Voltaire actually applies to threats of physical violence? It is our position that the line is clear, and in emails from the perpetrators we have received threats. We cannot allow that to continue without an appropriate investigation.

    Conner Morris
    Communications Director
    Pat Edmonson for Lieutenant Governor

  2. sauer kraut
    March 22, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    I have no relationship to the candidate, nor have I ever heard of her. I do not know what type of candidate she is nor do I know where she stands on issues. But this I do know: people who make those types of comments lack courage. And they ought to be tracked down like the sick dogs that they are.

  3. Judith M
    March 25, 2009 at 7:42 am

    I have met Pat Edmunson and she is a lovely, mature woman of petite stature with great poise and self confidence. She has a common sense approach to Virginia’s future that is both enlightening and refreshing. Her no nonsense stand on the issues is realistic and straight forward. But don’t take my word for it. Go to her website and see for yourself.

    http://www.patforvirginia.com

    Freedom of Speech doesn’t give someone the right to send email threats regardless of their recipients political aspirations.

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