I Tuned into a Debate on the Edwards Bloggers -- and a Hockey Game Broke Out

Regular readers know I'm not in the habit of choosing unflattering screencaps, but sometimes devotion to accurately portraying the tenor of an event demands it. Which it does in spades in conveying the vituperation unleashed on MSNBC today in an exchange over the Edwards blogger brouhaha between Dem strategist Julie Roginsky and GOP strategist Brad Blakeman.

Words don't come close to doing justice to the Roginksy vitriol. I urge you to view the video here.

Roginsky began the conversation by asserting that Edwards did the right thing in retaining the two bloggers with a history of making outrageous anti-Catholic statements, as detailed here. She called it a "pragmatic political decision."

Blakeman took animated issue: "I am absolutely flabbergasted that Julie can sit there and say that Edwards did the right thing," saying that Edwards made a "terrible judgment call" and "should have canned these people immediately."

MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, daughter of Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew, tried to switch the focus to a Republican, claiming that "John McCain has picked up a few controversial characters along the way himself. Patrick Hynes, a blogger, who took criticism . . ."

Given the partisan nature of the shot, Blakeman -- in a different studio -- understandably assumed that it was Roginsky who had made the comment, and responded:

"Did you hear what I said, Julie? Anyone who has a history, Republican or Democrat, of making inflammatory statements like the ones like Edwards' bloggers did should be canned."

That's when Roginsky began to unleash on Blakeman:

"So McCain should can, McCain should can his blogger?" She wouldn't let Blakeman reply, again repeating: "should McCain can his blogger?"

Roginsky, in full prosecuting attorney flight: "Yes? Is that a 'yes,' Brad? You can't come out and say McCain . . ."

When Blakeman finally managed to work in edgewise that he didn't know the specifics of the McCain case, Roginsky riposted: "Well let me tell you. McCain hired a blogger who made inflammatory, racist statements. Yet John McCain keeps him on. Now you can sit there and spin all you want."

Roginsky's machine-gun interrogation continued at length. When Blakeman finally said he couldn't take Roginsky's word for the facts and that the story hadn't made the press, she shot at him:

"It has made the press. It made the New York Times two days ago, Brad. You should read the New York Times more closely."

Blakeman: "I don't believe everything that's in the New York Times, Julie -- that's for damn sure."

A sneering Roginsky: "You know what? Then I guess you don't believe in anything that doesn't agree exactly with your Republican talking points. But this was in a paper of record, Brad. You should read it."

As NewsBuster and NY Times watcher par excellence Clay Waters has documented, comparing McCain blogger Patrick Hynes to the Edwards bloggers is apples-and-oranges. Hynes' great offense is having once, before coming onboard with McCain, described the US as a Christian nation, and on another occasion having invited readers to suggest nicknames for Henry Waxman. Compare and contrast with the vile stuff spewed by the Edwards bloggers.

Blakeman stood his ground well, but pity the poor guy on the receiving end of a Roginsky diatribe. Still, hard not to get a kick out of her abiding faith in the New York Times as a "paper of record.'

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.