I have a daughter who has my exact same name. She was easy to find because she’s a graduate student in Princeton. That’s been really hard. Plus another blogger who was furious about the piece had put out my email address. So I was getting hate email and eventually I got a couple of death threats. Now, there’s two things to say. First, there’s a lot of crazy people out there. Secondly, people figured, ‘Oh my god, what has she done?’ They love and have placed—rightly, I think—so much hope for the future in Senator Obama and people thought I had done that in. In the blogosphere people don’t think about what they do. I’m sure if I met a lot of these people, I’d like them. They’d be great, decent people.
JMS: How did you start writing for the Huffington Post?
MF: I was in the Middle East last spring, and when I got back, I wanted to keep up with the news there, and while I was at it, I thought the election was coming up. I got a mass mailing saying there was going to be this Obama canvas, this application online. I went, ‘What the hell’ and I went out to this canvas and I wrote 500 words and within a week I got a phone call from editor Amanda Michel. I was in the right place at the right time having had some training. I had always wanted to be a writer. For the last 10 years I have been perusing writing fairly assiduously. I’ve never had anything published, but almost published. Basically, I’d been honing the craft for over 10 years. I’d written a couple of books. I’ve never been interested in journalism in the least, that’s the funny thing. One was a thriller, one was a mystery, one was a book about nursing my mother-in-law until she died, and a lot of nonfiction pieces, and short stories.
JMS: Where do you want to go from here? Do you want to be a professional journalist?
MF: I don’t know how it’s going to be play out, I can’t even begin to speculate. I never thought I’d be getting a reputation as a political journalist. It’s been a very difficult past couple of days, yesterday such a low point because I’d become the bone that the media, like a pack of rabid wild dogs, were trying to fight over. Everyone wanted a piece of me. The only reason I’m doing this interview is because I thought, ‘Maybe there’s something someone can learn from this.’ I plan to cover all of election 2008, at this point I keep doing what I’ve been doing, cover it was as I planned. In July I plan to really bone up on John McCain so I can cover him. I have no idea who my persona is now and so to the extent that that has changed, I’ll have to see what that is, and then see what my options are. Now that I’m sixty, I realize that truth is very important, truth eventually prevails. I feel like it’s just pointless to be a partisan blogger—it doesn’t advance the knowledge of what’s really going on, which is really nuanced.