Slate has this bizarre quality to it in that I know that most of the articles are utter crap inflated by inflammatory headlines meant to suck readers into their opposite world in which everything you thought was good sucks and everything terrible is secretly awesome, yet I still read it. I guess that makes me a sucker. I’ve been planning to do a distillation of Slate headlines (forthcoming) but for now I just want to bitch about Mickey Kaus.
Slate’s blogger is defined almost solely by the sheer volume of the chips on his shoulder. He imagines a vast left-wing blogospiracy in which he was not included and takes it out on the people who actually make the form worthwhile. He was one of the first people to pick up the John Edwards affair story and wrote in every post for a month about how the media wasn’t jumping on it. Just like everything in Kaus’s world, another conspiracy. Nevermind that there was something else the media was covering: the presidential election. In his latest post, he goes for Elizabeth Edwards’s knees because she was in on the whole thing.
Here are some questions he holds NPR (I bet they’re in on it too!) responsible for not asking,

1) OK, you don’t really care whether Rielle Hunter’s baby is John’s, even though that would mean his Nightline confession was a second edifice of lies(with the affair continuing long after he said on Nightline it had stopped).But you make it seem as if John just slipped up with this one woman who approached him. Do you really think Hunter was the only woman John was unfaithful with? Hello? Are you constructing another elaborate bogus media version of your marriage after the first version collapsed? (None of our business? Er, you’re the one who’s coming forward to expose your private life for some reason. Nobody asked you to. Asserting that it’s not our business means we have to accept your version of it. We did that once before.)  

2) Your husband’s campaign conducted an elaborate coverup to hide the Hunter affair, which involved lying to the voters and lying to the press and running down Hunter’s character. You don’t have a reputation as a hands-off politician’s wife. Did you know about the coverup and the lies? Did you approve of them? At least you acquiesced in them. Why are you a beloved figure again?

First of all, the paranoia is just absurd. I think he thinks he’s a one-man Woodward and Bernstein out to uncover the truth with the whole world against him. What did she know and when did she know it! The idea that Elizabeth Edwards started this media storm and should be held responsible for the fallout is ridiculous. Kaus is the one who started the damn thing. A fact of which he’s very proud.
Elizabeth Edwards is an incredible woman who apparently has a husband who doesn’t deserve her. Why the intricacies of the Edwards marriage is any of anyone else’s business perplexes me. Let them work it out on their own. Blaming the victim of an adulterous spouse for making her complicated life look less so in front of the cameras is not journalism. Nor is it good blogging. It’s beltway gossip in the worst way and I feel dirty for having read it.

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