MSM finally picks up on DNC blogger credentialing issues re: race, gender

Last week, I wrote about this issue regarding the Democratic National Committee’s credentialing of bloggers for the DNC convention here. The Washington Post picks up on it today:

Natalie Wyeth, spokeswoman for the convention committee, says criteria for selecting State Corps bloggers were readership, online ratings and focus on local and state politics. The General Pool will also be selected on the basis of readership and online ratings, she adds, with an emphasis on bloggers covering “national politics to niche issues of interest to specific communities.”

Race was not a factor in the selection of the State Corps, Wyeth repeatedly says.

But, to the frustration of black bloggers, the list appears to be mostly white — during a primary race in which black voters turned out in droves in Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi. And, they add, this pool is for coverage of a convention that might very well see the first African American presidential nominee.

In other words, this constitutes convention drama and, rightly or wrongly, people are getting called out, e-mails are being exchanged, accountability is being demanded. Francis L. Holland, one of the vocal black bloggers, sent e-mails to DNC officials asking that 15 black-operated blogs be added to the State Corps. “There is nothing ‘Democratic’ about an all-white Democratic National Convention floor blogging corps,” he wrote in an e-mail. Holland is also asking for the inclusion of 15 Latino-operated blogs.

L.N. Rock, a Silver Spring-based information technology professional and founder of the African American Political Pundit blog, likens this “black shut-out” in the State Corps to an “I’m sick-and-tired-of-being-sick-and-tired” Fannie Lou Hamer moment. The civil rights activist and Mississippian challenged her state’s all-white delegation at the 1964 Democratic convention.

“This is all very puzzling to me — and to a lot of black bloggers,” says Rock, who didn’t apply for the State Corps because he blogs about national issues. “The Democratic National Committee says it wants to be inclusive. It wants to have a big tent. And then this? What were they thinking?”

Hattip to John Ettorre of Working With Words.

8 thoughts on “MSM finally picks up on DNC blogger credentialing issues re: race, gender

  1. There are plenty of rewarding experiences open to even the smallest blog. I know I’ll never forget talking to my congressman on a conference call while he was in Iraq. Even something like a link or email from a more established blog can be rewarding. That kind of support (as I’m sure you know) goes a long way.

    There’s also the personal rewards like the knowledge and experience gained from blogging. When I first started blogging I would have had to stop and think if someone had asked me what congressional district I lived in, now I know off hand where almost all the districts are roughly located and who represents them.

  2. Recruitment is good but also modeling the kind of environment people would either want to create or be involved in would seem to matter. In other words, how many people want to caretake other people who don’t want to play nice or at least play fair? That was one of the biggest problems on the PD Wide Open thing – those cleveland.com commenters were often totally out of control. But they would (most of them anyway, a few have migrated and hung around and I’m glad for that) never come to WLST – it’s not nasty enough.

    Which is fine – but again, to recruit someone to be a blogger – they’d have to decide there’s some reward in it for them.

    How do we highlight that? Rather than letting the MSM highlight all the negatives all the time. (cynical me speaking)

  3. Well I certainly wouldn’t talk about sexism involving Hillary Clinton. It seems like every white male Obama supporter (including me, who gave up religion at a young age because a woman tried to convince me that men should lead churches since Eve ate the apple) has been accused of being a sexist at some point. There’s bound to be some people angry about that.

    As for lack of diversity among the blogs, I think I can see where you’re coming from. I’ve felt the effects of the lack of regional diversity. Being the only real Democratic blog presence in SE Ohio was extremely frustrating at times. It felt like I had to be the entire regions online voice, even though many of my opinions aren’t in the majority here.

    Still I don’t think it’s right to favor blogs based on gender, race, region, or any other diversity issues. Really the only solution I can see is just to start recruiting people from those groups to start blogging.

  4. David, in the case of Ohio, I would agree that there’s a lack of diversity as far as white guys, few women, fewer minorities. I can’t speak about other states.

    The fact is – what’s anyone doing about it? I wrote about and got slammed on the back channels because some folks thought that I was wrong. Your comment here indicates that you, at least, agree to some extent with my saying that there’s not much gender diversity.

    I continue to maintain that Ohio lacks real gender diversity in the political blogs, but Lisa Renee and I have some plans to help that, I hope. Might take a while, but we’re thinking about action.

  5. Ben – I didn’t apply or look at the process so I’m not the best to say, but at a minimum, they decided to offer the chance, they get to make the rules. The point has to do with applying the rules as the applicants expected. It sounds to me like different people had different expectations of how the rules would be applied.

    If it were me, without a doubt, I’d have picked ODB, but I refer all kinds of groups to that blog, even when groups have come to me to be a state-oriented blog – I always say that Jeff’s is better for that because I’m quirky and niche-y.

  6. Here is a novel idea: Why dont they pick the best blogger in the state / the person they feel will do the best job in getting their message out, regardless of age or race?

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