Bloggers at the Democratic National Convention – Is it an accurate representation?

9 years ago

The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) started taking applicationsfor blogger credentials to attend the National Convention in December. The amount of bloggers the DNCC granted credentials to have expanded from other cycles and more importantly, there was an addition of selecting one blogger from each state and territory to ensure that blogs that covered local politics would be adequately represented. In addition there is the selection of the general bloggers pool, which consists of video and ‘niche’ bloggers – those who do not specifically write about politics. But as soon as the list of selected bloggers was released, the problems started.

As with any type of contest the people who are not selected are bound to be upset, but in this case, especially in this historical election, issues of race, gender and the media’s influence has greatly affected the nomination, it seems as though the DNCC is being a bit wary.

It has been reported that many bloggers, even those who were selected but questioned why some in their blogging community were not have started to ask questions about the DNC selection process. Some feel that there is a bias against those who posted content that is critical of the Democratic party and some feel that the selected bloggers are simply da facto spokespersons for the party. Others wondered why some blogs were picked as according to the blog selection process, the selections were based on readership, Internet ratings and most importantly, posts that centered on the local and state politics where the bloggers reside.

However, Daily Kosdoesn’t quite agree that those requirements were necessarily practiced in the selection process:

In New Jersey, the inimitable Blue Jersey got passed over for PolitickerNJ -- a non-partisan, corporate owned site run by the guys who own the New York Observer. Somehow, I doubt that's inline with the spirit of Dean's 50-state strategy, online organizing, or being agents of change.In Alabama, Left in Alabama was passed over, as was Cotton Mouth in Mississippi, passed over in favor of a site, Natchez Blog, devoted to Natchez MS, population 18,000 -- a site, by the way, that didn't have a single post or action alert on the MS-01 special election we won last week. Cotton Mouth was one of the best resources on that race (and the Senate race as well).

From Cotton Mouth:

We at Cotton Mouth must disagree with the selection of The Natchez Blog to represent Mississippi’s blogging community in Denver. We like and respect Casey Ann who in addition to writing there has posted on Cotton Mouth, but her blog should not have been selected over Cotton Mouth. We’ve had 33 posts so far THIS WEEK. The Natchez blog has had 24 posts so far THIS YEAR.

As well, the lack of diversity in the first selection of bloggers (the second selection of bloggers will be released at the end of this month) as also raised a few eyebrows. From the Dallas News:

But some members of the self-titled “afrosphere” — blogs written or published by African Americans — are angry that the “State Blogger Corps” appears to be mostly white, particularly since the party appears poise to nominate a black candidate, Barack Obama, for president. “OK, folks, black bloggers to the back of the bus,” read the headline on the African American Political Pundit blog. Party leaders said the factors in determining state bloggers were readership, Internet ratings and focus on local and state politics, not race. The Texas representative, the Burnt Orange Report, has several writers, including at least one Hispanic contributor.

This article raises a salient point. What constitutes as a black blogger? The DNC application does not request the ethnicity of the applicant, and not everyone’s blog name or username reveals their racial identity. But because there are specific criteria that are being used, the selection committee is looking at every applicant, so by reading the contents and reviewing the links if the blogger does write –even occasionally about race and ethnicity, they will find it. However, because the expected Democratic Nominee is African-American the other candidate is a woman, is there a presumption that there should be an attempt to get at least some black and female bloggers on the floor of the Convention? But if one does to identify as a black blogger, does that mean that they automatically not as objective or have a blog that is as up to snuff as others?

A Hispanic blogger from New Mexico agreed and wrote that their blog was passed over in favor of a blog run by a white woman, but didn’t see any discrimination in a majority Hispanic state. “I do think we should be looking at the quality of blogs,” said the blogger, who only identified his or her ethnicity. “Do we want to include certain blogs of poor quality to fill a sort of quota? No, that would be ridiculous.” Linda Kellen Biegel, whose Celtic Diva’s Blue Oasis blog will represent Alaska at the convention, said the issue should encourage more minorities to blog locally while pushing for more diversity in the entire blogosphere. “No one knows what anyone looks like in the blogosphere. It’s easy to get caught up in anger, to ignore the actual underlying issue,” she said. “The underlying issue is that bloggers need to reach out and try to find other voices from the community that are diverse.”

This is where the article gets kinda lazy, first by using typical straw-man and deflective arguments to blame the complainants for not being selected for the DNC. Secondly, there are bloggers of color who are not only blogging about local and state politics and yes, actually know how to put together quality blogs, plus, online inclusion have been a huge problem in the blogosphere for quite awhile now.

On the other hand (I use this a lot, I know) is that the selection for the general bloggers pool will be announced shortly, and it has been assured that POC bloggers will be adequately represented, as those who might have not made the initial selection will be considered in the general pool. Let’s hope that both the state and general pools are granted the same access at the DNC.

For more information, check out:

Florida Speaks

African American Political Pundit

The Huffington Post

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