Players: Irreverent D.C. politics blog Wonkette; Papa John's Pizza.
Opening Serve: Prompted by Derek Hunter's Twitter crusade against Wonkette for a controversial post on Sarah Palin's Down syndrome-suffering son's birthday, Papa John's announced via Twitter that "We've taken steps to make sure our advertising doesn't appear on that site in the future."
Return Volley: Silent on the Trig issue for most of the day as it and editor Jack Stuef were chided across Twitter, Wonkette finally reacted this afternoon to Papa John's post. "@papajohns Sarah Palin uses her special-needs child as a craven political prop for the anti-family GOP. That's reprehensible and we mock it." That was followed by, "Hey Wonkette readers, tell @papajohns what you think of its support of Sarah Palin using her baby as a craven political prop," clearly mocking Derek Hunter's numerous tweets throughout the day at various companies asking if they "supported" Wonkette's "calling disabled children 'Somewhat alive.'" The Wonkette Twitter feed also included a couple of swipes at Papa John's for having employed a "homophobic" spokesman.
What They Say the Fight's About: Obviously influenced by the prospect of supporting a site that "calls disabled children 'somewhat alive,'" Papa John's decision to disassociate itself from Wonkette seems like a move to avoid bad press. Wonkette insists its objective in posting the Trig article was to spotlight Sarah Palin's use of her disabled child as a prop to gain popularity and make a point about her pro-life positions.
What the Fight's Really About: Who should Papa John's and other advertisers listen to? The pizza company was persuaded by the argument that, by advertising on Wonkette, they'd be supporting those who mock special needs kids. But, in defending itself, Wonkette argued that by removing its advertisements, Papa John's would be effectively supporting a politician who uses her special needs child as a political prop. Though unintentionally, Papa John's has been dropped into a political debate and, regardless of which side they take, they're going to wind up irritating someone.
Who's Winning: The original Wonkette post was, if activism, pretty tasteless activism. Derek Hunter scored a win for his side by getting Papa John's to withdraw advertising. Yet you also have to give Wonkette credit for turning the tables that quickly and ferociously to defend and clarify the original post. Who knows how this will end up. The only thing we can say definitively is that Papa John's does not win for unwittingly getting in the middle of all this when a shockingly low number of their customers probably read Wonkette.