I’m behind the times on this one, I know.
There are all these Mom group blogs around the country, which tend to speak out on political and social issues more than diaper brands and bottle feeding. There’s the D.C. Metro Moms Blog, Chicago Moms Blog, New York Moms Blog (coming soon) and the subject of this post, the Silicon Valley Mom’s Blog. (I wish we had a Boston one! I know I should grab the bull by the horns and try to start one … but that will have to happen some other time, not when I’m about to start a new job which I’m already nervous about.)
I read on Lawyer Mama, one of the posters to the D.C. Metro Moms Blog, about a firestorm that erupted over an earlier version of this post. The Silicon Valley Mom (Rebecca) had written in response to a New York Times article regarding John and Elizabeth Edwards’ decision to have their younger children on the campaign trail with them. From all reports, the original version of this post had been quite critical of the Edwards’ decisions, and went so far as to call Elizabeth Edwards a “terrible mother.”
The comments were immediate, and mostly people were appalled – how could the Rebecca be so critical? Why feed into the “mommy wars” in this way? Why attack another mother in this manner? There were also several people pointing out that Rebecca got the facts wrong.
Shortly after the post was put up, according to Lawyer Mama (I can’t verify it myself, because of the fact that the original post and comments have disappeared), Elizabeth Edwards herself commented. (I don’t think that comment is still on the site – again, the later revisions make it hard to sort out.)
Eventually, Rebecca apologized (I hope that it isn’t this post being categorized as an apology). I think that happened in one of the versions of the post – all of which are gone. Poof.
I’m really not interested in re-hashing the argument over the Edwards’ decisions and their parenting. It’s old news since the original post was August 27th, and it would be silly to bring it back up (despite all of my opinions on it).
I certainly feel that to call someone a “terrible mother” goes well beyond criticism of someone’s choices and into an un-called for personal attack. Apparently the poster later said it was “tongue-in-cheek” and perhaps “snarky.” Bullshit. It was just unprofessional, catty, and from everything else I’ve seen of these metro area Mom Blogs, out of sync with the tone of the sites.
I do want to say, however, that I find the fact that the posts have been pulled to be acts of cowardice. Yes, she made a mistake, and I’m glad that she apologized. If there was a point in time where she got the first two comments, and realized that she had stepped over a line, and pulled the post – I may excuse it. But once you get to the point where everyone is talking about it (like here (which includes an excerpt of the original post), and here, and here (which includes Elizabeth Edwards’s response), and here – not to mention the call from Good Morning America), you don’t take it down. The apology should go hand-in-hand with ownership of the mis-step.
I know that blogging is a relatively new medium. But if you’re going to put yourself out there, especially on such a public site as the Silicon Valley Moms Blog (which is far from a “hey look how cute my kids are” or a “today I went to the dentist” blog – it’s a networking blog, a political blog, designed to pull in readers, and to foster a community – regardless of how many “readers per post” there are), you should not manipulate the technology to cover up your tracks in a way that no other medium allows. If this had been written in an op-ed piece, it would not have disappeared just because it pissed too many people off and made the author squirm. This poster created news, she created a situation, and then she wimped out and tried to erase it. But the blogosphere won’t let her completely hide. Instead, she’s created a gaping holes in the information that the internet was designed to provide. (Not even effectively, since while collecting links I was able to find most of what I wanted from other sources: like here (which includes an excerpt of the original post), and here, and here (which includes Elizabeth Edwards’s response), and here).
I think less of her for deleting the post than I do for her comments. I could excuse the comments, and would have found her apology to be worthwhile, if the post was left up.
Let me see the trail. Let me see the wrong, and the reaction, and the apology. And I will think, “See how this works? We have conversations, and we can change each other’s minds.” I will see that yes, people say things (and think things) that we come to regret, but that through an open discussion, we can heal and move on, and leave in our wake a lesson for others.
Instead, all I’m left to draw from the situation is that someone made thoughtless remarks, empty apologies, and then ran and hid.
Instead, I see a coward.
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