Reading the stories that emerged yesterday was not as shocking to me as it may have been to many who live outside the realm of the political blogosphere and all that it entails. I have my own story, albeit far from the hell that bloggers like Stacy McCain, Mandy Nagy, Aaron Worthing, Patterico, and others have experienced. Most effective conservative bloggers experience harassment on a daily basis. It comes with the territory, and one either develops a very thick skin, or quits writing altogether.
Earlier this week, my young friend Madeleine McCaulay announced, in an appearance on Fox & Friends, that she’d received death threats after voicing her opinion on gay marriage. The next day, another blogger friend emailed me, asking for advice on how to handle hate-filled comments from the left. These bloggers learned what many more did today–we can expect the uncivilized, shrill, often vulgar and downright dangerous rhetoric/actions of the left to grow exponentially as the 2012 election approaches. It’s simply how the left rolls. And they need to be exposed.
When I started blogging in 2008, I was completely new to the world of politics. I voted, but was otherwise completely uninvolved. I didn’t claim to be an expert, just a mom expressing my own opinion, learning alongside those gracious enough to read my scribbling. My topic, however, was big news–after all, she was the first Republican woman to ever be nominated for Vice President. The local newspaper soon learned about my blogging, and ran a feature article that was originally intended to be a tale of two opinions–pro and anti-Sarah Palin. Because I was the only one to respond, the reporter ran a full feature article in the local section about my blog. This infuriated some local reporters, who decided they’d have a bit of fun at my expense. I made the mistake of reading the posts that were being written about me, and in a moment that showed my complete ignorance of journalistic terms, I left a comment poking fun at the misspelling of the word “lede” in one of the articles. This sparked a bit of a firestorm and, in the local media, I paid dearly for it. (many posts that were written are no longer available) Leftists began leaving comments under the online article, and one lovely woman decided it would be funny to post my street address and phone number for those wishing to make calls for sexual services. (which was soon removed, at my request)
To be honest, I hated every second of the attention. I started blogging for two main reasons: to defend Sarah Palin, and to reach other women who–like me–were uninvolved. I wanted to make a difference and motivate others to jump in like I had. So, I knew I couldn’t throw in the towel. Instead, I continued to try to learn all I could about how to articulate the conservative political beliefs I’d claimed to espouse for so many years, and as I learned, I shared.
Before long, I began receiving calls and–honestly–I thought they were pranks. Several came from local radio shows wanting me to do on-air debates with Democrat women. I was far from ready for that sort of thing, so I ignored the calls completely. Jokingly, I told my husband that the only media request I’d be responding to would be the one that came from Fox News. You can imagine, then, how surprised I was when he called to tell me that a producer from AC360 had left a message on the answering machine. “You have got to be kidding,” I told him. “Erase it.” He did not, and strongly advised me to return the call.
Within a few days, a CNN crew came to my house, turned my living room into a makeshift set, and so began my first media interview. For several hours we filmed and at the request of Randi Kaye, the CNN reporter that interviewed me, six of my friends joined us for a portion of the interview to create a sort of round-table discussion. It went well, the cameraman was especially grateful that I fed him while he was there, and the producer was wonderful. I joked with them several times that they had completely changed my opinion about people from CNN. And they had.
The CNN audience, however, was a different story altogether. Within seconds of the first mention of my blog on the Campbell Brown show on the evening of October 9, 2008, the haters began to flood my blog. I’m sure many were locals, after bloggers like Kyle Munzenrieder at the Miami New Times felt the need to follow my story, even suggesting I enjoyed the attention I was getting. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Hate would be too mild a word to express my sentiments for any attention I was getting. I started blogging to make a difference, and that’s truly all I cared about. I agreed to do an interview because I thought it might have a bigger impact and motivate more women like me to get involved. (and, by the way, it did) Once the show aired on AC360 that evening, I realized I’d made a huge mistake. Blogging novice that I was, I had put no counter or filter in place on the blog, so thousands of comments began rolling in. Because I was intent on keeping filth off my blog, I began to read each comment, and was soon overwhelmed with what I was seeing. Vile comments were pouring in faster than I could keep up, in what I believe was a coordinated attempt to completely shut down the blog. Before long, I gave friends passwords to the account so they could help me delete them as quickly as possible. Soon, we realized we weren’t going to be able to stop them, so I put a filter in place, and tried to digest what I was reading.
The comments were unbelievable. There were threats of violence, not only against me but also against Sarah Palin. There were multiple threats against me, my children, and my husband–rape threats, death threats–and then the phone calls began. For months, phone calls would come at all hours of the night. Shortly thereafter, I began to receive hate mail at my home address–the address that had been posted in the comment section on the blog where the original article was reposted. Before long, there was even a blog created just to post hate about me and Sarah Palin, as if we were the best of friends. There were several women that seemed to be obsessed with taking me down. They would post at all hours of the day/night, were relentless in their pursuit, and…well…it was all rather eerie and didn’t stop until my family and I moved, and took measures that would ensure we were at least a little more protected than we were prior to this undertaking.
The thing that I learned during the mild and thankfully fairly short-lived attack that was launched against me was that these attacks are coordinated. Several of the people who constantly made threats of physical violence against me repeatedly very proudly announced that they were working for the Obama campaign. While some scoffed at the notion, I did not. It is now widely known that the Tides Foundation, George Soros, and others are actively involved in trying to silence conservative bloggers. Wonder why? Conservative bloggers, along with Fox News, have become a much more trusted news source than many of the mainstream media outlets that have previously driven the narrative. The truth must be told, and apparently, according to domestic terrorists like Brett Kimberlin, must be stopped.
But how in the world do we stop them?
We expose them.
For far too long, many of us who have been subjected to the harassment–regardless of severity–of these disgusting human beings have remained silent. Some of us have fought back in our own way, sometimes responding, other times ignoring (which drives them batty). We must remember, however, that we have truth on our side, and it is vital that we share that truth. We must remain strong, continue to rally like we did today, and expose these criminals for what they really are. Most importantly, we must not allow them to win. We must continue the fight for truth, we cannot falter. Will we stop them? Not completely. But we can certainly take measures to protect ourselves, and fight back.
**Many who are reading this and other posts on this topic are completely taken aback by the lengths to which the left will go to stop people like Patterico and others from speaking the truth. If you’re one of them, you can help too. Please visit conservative blogs and show your support. Do so by reading and commenting once in a while! We love to hear from our readers–YOU are the very reason we continue to do what we do.**
Category: Blogs and Blogging