You think it’s easy being Wonkette? Perish the thought.
In a wide-ranging interview with Campaign Desk this morning, the blogette who out-drudged Drudge yesterday by revealing the supposed name of the supposed woman supposedly involved some years ago with John Kerry, spoke of the travails of her own 15 minutes of fame on the Internet.
Many bloggers, and most journalists, have not yet touched the Kerry-intern rumor but here was a woman with her hands all over it, pushing the “story” like nobody’s business (which some would say is exactly what the story is).
Campaign Desk telephoned Wonkette (a.k.a. Ana Marie Cox), an intrepid blogger and self-described “failed journalist” who works from her home in suburban Washington D.C. She gave us a snapshot of one seminal moment in the brave new world of the blogosphere, where no one can decide what the boundaries are, or even if there are any. We wanted to know: Why did Wonkette go where even Drudge had not (so far)?
The ensuing interview was somewhat akin to opening a faucet. In other words, she had lots to say.
“This is Ana Marie [Pause. Giggle]. Wonkette.”
So began the conversation. Here are the highlights:
Wonkette On “Why”
Yesterday, Wonkette received and posted a link to an obviously bogus Amazon.com wish list attributed to The Other Woman - by name. “I thought the Amazon list was funny. Someone sent it to me from an obviously fake email address … There are no standards for this game. It’s blogs, it’s not journalism you know. I feel I had to make the rules for myself as I go along.” And the rule she chose was no naming of names, for now, but no holds barred on linking to another site that named a name.
“The [rules] are different for every person. That’s the tragedy and triumph of self-publishing. I’ve gotten shit from people [pause] or, say, static from people who I think sort of take the CJR position. [Which is? Campaign Desk was curious to know]… that I shouldn’t do it, shouldn’t even mention the actual topic, don’t hint. Obviously that’s not my position. I’ve also gotten static from people, well my boss, who thinks I should publish everything I get… He’s British.”
Wonkette On Principles
“I’ve drawn a line for myself in a universe where there are no lines. I’ve drawn my lines. I think given some time I could probably develop a more philosophical justification of where I’ve drawn the line, but the one I have for you now is I tried to choose a middle ground, something I’m going to look back on and feel comfortable with.
“Journalists do this all the time… they insert the word ‘alleged’ when writing a story about someone who has committed a crime…The word alleged just floats right by [readers]…Journalism is full of these half-assed lines that people draw.
“Journalism is one huge, slippery slope. You sort of put a toehold in where you can. I am a failed journalist [Wonkette makes reference to having been fired more than once]. I guess I have some vain pretense of still hanging onto that.
“My basic principle is I am a satirical gossip site. …I have also published reports of the Bush girls drinking baby blood. I don’t know if you know this, but they haven’t. When I write about politics, I’m mainly mocking.
“I was somewhat subconsciously not using her name. I got lot of tips from real journalists. Their publications won’t let them go with it, and they assume I have lower standards, and I do. I’m a slut, but not a whore. [pause] That’s a joke.”
Wonkette On Going Where Drudge Had Not Gone (Yet)
“[Drudge] has been sued before. I’m also trying to avoid any legal trouble. I don’t want to be a blogger test case…I bounced it off some people that I trust…I ran it by real journalists. Enough people who I trusted thought there wasn’t a problem that I felt ok about going forward with it.
“I haven’t gotten credit for [out-drudging Drudge.] I am actually disappointed … maybe Drudge actually has higher scruples than I do. If only I made the kind of money he does. I don’t think … If I was trying [to outdrudge Drudge] I failed. My hits are still in the five figures, not the six figures that Drudge has. “
Wonkette on Campaign Desk
“The Lieberman of poli-blogs.”
Wonkette on Wonkette:
“I have a hard time taking myself seriously.”
Campaign Desk on Wonkette:
Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.