Bil Browning

DNC thinks LGBT has too many letters

Filed By Bil Browning | May 29, 2008 11:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: blogger credentials, Democratic National Convention, Pam's House Blend, Towleroad

The list of credentialed blogs to cover the Democratic National Convention was released this evening and Bilerico Project was denied credentials. Contributor Pam Spaulding's home blog, Pam's House Blend, was one of two gay blogs issued credentials. The other blog? Towleroad.

Towleroad is not known for racial diversity, trans inclusion, or its lesbian audience. It is a site for wealthy gay white men - the HRC demographic. Their advertising info reads "News. Entertainment. Gossip. Media. Art. Life. Most Unique Users: 500,000; 95% male; 85% US; 52% earn $75,000+; 40% earn $100,000+" Where was "politics" in that description? Did they pick up on the lack of women? What about the lack of average American salaries? Towleroad's readers' average salary is almost double the median annual household income. Household. Not one person.

It's not that I have anything against Andy Towle and the product he's built. It's damn good and he definitely has an audience; hell, I'm a regular reader. I am, after all, his target audience. But when was the last time you saw serious in-depth political coverage on Towleroad or committed coverage of an issue from multiple angles or guest posts from members of Congress and Presidential candidates? We've brought you all of that and more.

At Bilerico Project we're committed to the diversity others give lip service. We asked for credentials for myself, Jerame Davis, Serena Freewomyn, Marti Abernathey, Monica Roberts and Eric Marcus. Two trans women from middle America (one African-American), two gay activists from Indiana, a lesbian feminist from Arizona, and a New York Times bestselling author and former television news producer from New York.

Pam's House Blend also promoted diversity in their application by getting credentials for all of her regulars. Towleroad has a niche - upperclass white gay men; it's not that diverse. Maybe there are too many letters for the DNC to spell LGBT. When we first launched, Alex would often use the line, "Not everything queer is marriage, martinis and Madonna." Maybe we should have stuck with the big 3 Ms after all.

I'm wondering what the selection process was for DNC credentials though. To start with there are only two gay blogs who got credentialed (unless you count Americablog and he's more politics; gay is a sidenote). I realize that Towleroad is a quality site with tons of regular readers - their traffic kicks our ass completely.

However, Towleroad represents a certain segment of our community only - but it's the segment that's more likely to donate to the Democratic party. Is that what this is about? I thought the idea was to get some diversity. Plenty of LGBT blogs applied other than us. We got tossed two bones - and one is only for some of us.

What was the selection criteria other than traffic?

[UPDATE:] ThoughtTheater.com was also selected. I apologize for overlooking Daniel before. I thought of his site as primarily a political site, but he considers the blog an LGBT site.


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It's a shame - and a loss for the DNC-that Bilerico didn't get credentials. Nothing against Pam Spalding - she deserves to be there - but I'm not a Towleroad or AmericaBlog fan. I don't come close to fitting Towleroad's demographic, but it's hard to see what demographic I fit, really. Aravosis lost me permanently after his statements on T exclusion in ENDA last fall.

Like others, I believe this is evidence that the DNC is taking the GLBT community for granted. After all, we're not about to vote Republican. This election will likely be close, and I don't think they're taking the broad GLBT community seriously. I don't think either Democratic candidate really takes GLBT issues seriously, either, and I've never been very excited about either one - they'll treat us exactly as Ronald Reagan treated the fundies - a safe voting block that deserves lip service and nothing more.

TowleRoad? ... TowleRoad? ... You must be kidding!

TowleRoad not only doesn't take politics very seriously, it is also heavy on the beefcake eye candy, glitsy celeb gossip, and jet-set party scenes --- not the most advantageous image that the GLBT populace can project in the political world.

As for the DNC ... what the hell were they thinking?

I'll offer my guess: TowleRoad won't ask any hard questions, won't go out of their way to criticize Demo fluff-mouths, won't do anything to make trouble with the DNC or to even eat up any processing cycles. To TowleRoad, the Democratic National Convention is a big party, and as far as the GLBT populace is concerned, that's how the DNC wants it to be covered.

It would be interesting to know who made the decisions and what their criteria were. I suspect they were overwhelmingly impressed by simple numbers, as in Towleroad gets soooo many readers. For the record, I also read that blog and enjoy it, but in terms of covering the DNC, Bilerico would have provided more intelligent delivery. I'm sure it's not too late.

Bil -

It seems to me that a lobbying effort is called for. After all, they're a political organization, so it responds to political pressure.

I'd suggest a multi-pronged approach. Ask all readers to send e-mails to TPTB at the DNC protesting the decision and strongly suggesting that Bilerico is added. You might want to use one of the software tools that some of the major orgs use, so people can basically just click and send. (People are very lazy, so it needs to be as simple as possible to e-mail them) Also, you'll want a way to track how many e-mails were sent to them.

Lobby DNC members directly to be credentialed. Also, state party chairs, elected officials, etc.

Reach out to the Obama campaign and ask them to lobby for us. The nominee (presumptive) will have quite a lot of leeway to get whatever they want for the convention. Try approaching the GLBT committee from the campaign, and any other staffer or official you have an in with.

Ask the Stonewall Democrats to lobby the DNC on your behalf, and perhaps the Victory Fund, and NCTE.

If this campaign cycle has taught us nothing else, the rulings of the DNC are flexible.

I've been looking at the full list of accepted bloggers. I can appreciate the DNC challenge of trying to get geographic, ethnic, gender, racial and various constituencies balanced, but what really strikes me as odd is the number of blogs on that list that provide pitifully little original content. I saw a lot of blogs that rarely do more than pass along news items, sometimes simply reprinting AP stories. The DNC could have made better decisions simply by analyzing the amount of original content versus links, summaries and experts.

I enjoy Towleroad, too. I'm a regular reader. But when you compare the amount of first-run, thought-provoking content... Bilerico, Joe My God, Queerty, Wayne Besen, HRC Backstory, even AfterEllen/AfterElton provide more original politcal coverage than Towleroad.

But wait -- are you saying RealJock didn't get credentials?

No, Mattilda, RealJock lost out.

... but if we're lucky, maybe TowleRoad will cop a beefcake photo of Howard Dean, Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Evan Bayh in a Denver hot tub.

That might get our attention for about five or ten seconds. If there aren't any suds in the water.

What is the total number of blogs that were chosen for the DNC? And what does the rest of the list look like?

Ricci, here is the list:
http://www.demconvention.com/credentialed-blogs

It is a shame that our community only gets two blogs represented. I guess I figured we rated better, but I figured wrong.

I notice that there is a place at the bottom of the list of blogs for comments - and I notice that none have been made there.

(not-so-subtle hint)

Also, I know this is almost heretical to even suggest such a thing, but is it possible that blogs were not chosen because of a community affiliation but, rather, for some other reason? Perhaps the DNC didn't even consider if the blog was an LGBT-focused blog, or if the owner of the blog was an LGBT person.

Do we know what the criteria were for selection?

And I think, for what it's worth, that Rory's idea (above) is a good one!

Denise Leclare, the Executive Director was trying to get press credentials for Transgender Tapestry. I wonder if she was able to do so. If she did, then we could have a trans-specific presense at the convention. If Bilerico lost out and if IFGE also failed, then the only chance is if Pam would send Autumn Sandeen with whomever else goes. I'm sorry to see Bilerico not going. I had real hopes that we would see some great coverage.

Here in Georgia, the GA DNC failed to live up to what we hoped to be their committment to the LGBT community. Only 8 are going, and no trans person. I didn't want to go again, for several reasons. It now looks like I wouldn't have gotten to go because of their attitude.

Holly - AmericaBlog is a political blog run by a gay man. He doesn't focus on LGBT issues like Pam does or we do.

Monica - As far as I know, TT did not make the cut. Pam is included Autumn in her credential requests, so Autumn will be the only transgender blogger with credentials. Poor woman - the weight of an entire community is on her shoulders!

I'm still really pissed off over this and I'd appreciate any ideas folks might have on how to get the DNCC to change their mind and include us. Right now the only thing I have to offer is thecontact information for some of the DNC decision makers:

You can call Jenni Engebretsen, Damon Jones, Natalie Wyeth at 720-362-2006. You can e-mail the general press office or you can e-mail Aaron Myers, Director of Online Communications for the convention.

Please be polite, but let them know you're concerned that the LGBT community will not be truly represented by one inclusive blog (Pam's) and one fluff site for rich white gay men.

Thanks! Let me know what the responses you get are like. Leave it in the comments section please. My e-mail inbox is overflowing because of this. :)

My thoughts about Bilerico's DNC convention credential application being turned down.


One Denver Trip Ain't Happening

Bil,
Not only will the weight of the trans community will be on Autumn's shoulders, but since she is also a veteran and the former Secretary of TAVA, she will have some trans-veteran-specific goals for the convention.

But, if there is anything I can do from my position here in Geoagia, or in general where I can help, please don't hesitate in asking. You got my E-mail. I have a good friend who was just hired on at the Nat Stonewall Dems, Kyle Baily. I'll call him. You have a great group of people who need to be there.

I've also submitted this post to Digg, Reddit, Mixx and my Facebook profile. Waymon has added it to our GLEE, MySpace and Facebook profile/group/etc.

If you're members of any of these social networking sites, please vote for the story to help it rise to the top and get noticed around the nation. Thanks!

(If you're not a member - check out the buttons in the "Share" section and become a member!)

I'm a fan of Towleroad and got here via Qweerty (talk about shameless beefcake content). There seems to be a lack of information about how credentials were awarded. You have my attention now, so you better put out bitch. So far I think you are more bitter than Pam's blend and need a Towle to dry behind your ears.

I would also appreciate someone suggesting a snail-mail address that people can send real, hardcopy letters to. Maybe even handwritten ones.

I've been told consistently in lobbying workshops that the priority of voter feedback goes like this: (1) Handwritten letters (2) Typed or printed custom letters (3) Phone calls (4) One-off emails, and (5) bulk communications, such as postcards or emails that are identical and received in large numbers.

True even in the computer age, I am told.

Pardon my intrusion, but I am trying to recruit a few good lesbians to help pull together a weekly Daily Kos column for the GLBT community there. We are hoping to gather enough folks from all segments of our community and provide a weekly diary and gathering place to discuss anything and everything of interest to our community. If we manage to reach critical mass, the work involved will probably be minimal. If anyone is interested in joining us there, or would like more information, please feel free to contact me at tnichlsn@yahoo.com. Thanks and Happy Pride!

Isn't it true that the LGBT community is roughly 10% of the Democratic voting base in any given national election? Maybe a little more, maybe a little less?

Well, by my calculations, we've only got 3-5% of the bloggers for the Convention! There's a stat that might raise the eyebrows of DNC folks who feel like they've got the L, G, B and T covered with more than one blog -- and by more than one I mean 2 or 3...and ditto all the comments Bil made about the diversity (or lack thereof) certain blogs represent.

Although I doubt the DNC took a "proportional representation" approach to blogging credentials. That would be a bit too progressive -- and complicated -- for them to do.

Meanwhile, should Bilerico not secure credentials I envision a mad outsider blogging extravaganza. Might I suggest a Rule #1 of Politics: Don't make enemies when you can make friends. And remind us of an age-old saying: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?

I'll spread the word about this -- good luck!

We have estimated through various resources that transgender people make up about one percent of the American population. Now, I doubt that there will only be 100 total individual people representing all those blogs who got credentials. If we go with the 10%, as Dustin suggested on LGBT people, we would need dozens more LGBT people going. So, yeah, it is grossly underrepresnted.

I just spoke with Autumn and she is still wrapping her mind around the fact that she will have to represent our whole community, but she is a very grounded person who has her stuff together. I'm proud to call her a friend.

but wait . . . where did the DNC put all the Bisexual/Pansexual Community's Political Bloggers? Can it possibly be are we only there in name (or actually just in initial) AGAIN??

from the often overlooked "B" in LGBT

I'm sorry, Bialogue. I should have included that one of contributors who would have been attending is bisexual.

peterparker | May 30, 2008 2:42 PM

Let me put it this way: the list of 'Most Popular' items on bilerico.com reads as follows:

Lindsay Lohan Naked Photo Shoot
Big Brother 9 Neil Garcia shows his ass (literally)
Wild Animal Sex!
Open Letter From Barack Obama to the LGBT Community
Hannah Montana Dirty Photos!
Uh Oh
Big Brother 9 James Zinkand in gay porn movies
The Future of Anal Sex
The queer red light district
A message to LGBT Americans: I want to be your President

Perhaps the folks from the DNC saw that list of weighty subjects tackled here at bilerico and decided towleroad readers were a bit more...intelligent. Just a guess.

xo,
peterparker

Peter: The funny part about the most popular posts list (It's been a regular topic of conversation around here!) is that the reason most of those posts are so high on our "Most Popular" list is because Towleroad linked to them. *grins* You'll also notice though that of the two posts listed that aren't silly, one is by Barack Obama and the other is from Hillary Clinton.

It's not as if Andy and I have a blogwar going on. I don't dislike Andy we link back and forth and exchange e-mails. We cater to different audiences. I don't think he should lose his credentials; I think other LGBT blogs with more diversity should have been chosen too!

I guess it's fun and easy to bash upper middle class white gay men because they're, um, upper middle class white gay men, and nothing is more irritating than people who are white and have well-paying jobs--they just suck!--but it's not going to help anyone make their argument. Towleroad is the one of the highest trafficked gay sites. It has a lot of fluff (thorough, smart, well-done fluff), but it also has a constant stream of political news, and saying otherwise is just a lie. It would be absurd for the DNC not to credential Andy Towle. Sure, it would be nice for Bilerico's bloggers to have been credentialed, too, but the traffic isn't there, as you admit, Bil. Also, is Andy bringing anyone but himself? If not, then there's no argument at all, since PHB is arriving with FOUR super-progressive bloggers, not including Terrence, who is credentialed through his day job. I guess the DNC could have credentialed everyone and their mother, but that would have been rather chaotic. They made judgments, it seems, based on geography and diversity and traffic, and by looking at the list, the only over-represented group is the partisan hackjob community.

Ted,
Plain and simple. The DNC placated Towleroad for the money. If there is any political writings on that blog, I'm sure the amount wouldn't hold a candle to the amount seen here or Pam's. Just because one person wrote the word "politics" a few times in a year doesn't constitute the whole blog being politically active. It's almost like saying a go-kart is the same as a Lexus. Hey, they both have 4 wheels, an engine, a seat and a steering wheel. So . . . .?

I read Pam's House blend, Towleroad and a few others and never once have I come across this site. I just like to say that I see the point being made of a need for more diversity in who is accepted by the DNC and 100% agree with it, however my issue with your comments is first you are making an assumption that only "wealthy white gay men" read that site, awfully narrow minded (I do not fit that and I read the site). Second even wealthy, white, GAY men should have representation THEY are part of the LGBT community or are we as a community no longer including white gay men as part of our diversity? Thirdly, even though your argument is supposedly focused on DNC's lack of inclusion, it still comes across as if you are attacking Andy and the people who read his site. The point isn't that they chose his site and not yours, the point is they only credentialed TWO. Regardless of what two they picked, come on it is TWO, that number is just not good enough.

This really is a bummer, Bil. Marti and I had some high-class hijinx planned for the convention. Let's hope there's an appeals process, because I think you would have enjoyed the prank we were planning to pull on you!

So?

Monica, by using the word "if" (as in "If there is...) you make it clear that you don't know much, if anything, about Towleroad. Go to the site's homepage right now. 12 out 19 stories and blurbs are political -- that's a higher ratio than on the "recently filed" list here.

Does anyone ever pause do any research before commenting? Or is it just too easy to say that the root of all evil is the upper middle class white gay man?

And really, "placate"? Does the DNC really need Towleroad to placate gay men in order to get their money? Are you that naive? Or that paranoid? If anyone needs placating, it's the screeching blog commenters who will do anything to create a "tempest in a T-1" about non-issues like this one.

I really wish they'd be placated -- maybe some free bumper stickers?

Brandon: I agree with you completely. I wrote my post in frustration last night as soon as I got the e-mail from the DNC. When others have asked about the story, I've tried to explain to each of them that I'm not trying to attack Andy's work. I think he does a helluva job; I'm a daily reader of his site. He gets quite a bit of traffic simply because of the quality of his product. Andy's traffic might be bigger, but ours isn't trifling either. Andy also kicks Pam's ass; his traffic tops just about anyone else. That doesn't mean Pam (or Bilerico) isn't a good site to visit - just that Towleroad gets quite a bit. (Which might explain why he got picked.)

My point is that only two blogs were picked for the LGBT community. Only one of those is truly reflective of our community. By picking us, they could have increased that diversity quite nicely. I don't want to take away Andy's credentials. I want ours. We were considered the sure-in for most in the LGBT community.

We feature over 60 contributors from around the LGBT stratosphere - best selling authors, LGBT organizational staff and leaders, known activists, educators and theorists, etc. We've won several awards. We've had guest posts this election cycle from Barack Obama (twice), Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson (twice). Senators and Congresspersons guest post here. We were the site Barney Frank chose to defend his decision to split ENDA.

But now that you HAVE heard of us, come on in! Take your shoes off and stay a while. We're a friendly bunch - especially to those who comment. *grins*

Welcome.

I submitted a comment to the bloggers' list. They're moderating all postings. Lessee if my comment (it was clean, but posited the question of why not Bilerico?) gets posted. Bet it isn't.

I'm certain there's an effort to keep the T community out of signt/out of mind right now, among the greater Democratic party. The Reich has discovered the bathroom question, and it's the only winner they have in their portfolio of excuses right now.

Well, Ted, scrolling through all the posts in my RSS reader since May 28, I tally 14 posts on politics, 15 entertainment/sports, 5 mixed (i.e. bulletted list of links, youtube videos), and 3 that might be loosely considered politics if you're being really generous (i.e. Larry Craig bobblefoot, Bush chest bump). Of the 14 bonafide politics posts, 7 have less than 50 words of orginal content and rely almost entirely on quotes pulled from other sources or youtube clips (and the other 7 aren't doing much better).

So my question is, why waste a credential on Andy? Why not give it to a site that has significant editorial commentary? Chances are really good Towleroad will pick it up and pass it along anyway.

Thank you

And not to start a fight on a totally different topic in this Comment stream, but there are undoubtedly several (many?) bisexual/pansexual persons in amongst the accredited Bloggers BUT it's just we were more hoping for the "out & proud" Bi-identified Queer type. Anyway . . .

. . . we've come up with this as a scenario on how the DNC probably picked out who should be the LGBT Bloggers. They used the silliest of the current stereotypes about the Queer Community: the serious, hard-working, PC, activist, person-of-colour lesbian & friends and the wealthy, gossipy, vain, trivial, sex-and-shopping obsessed gay man.

I am sorry that Bilerico Blog has not been credentialed, as of yet. I will make my tiny splash. Bil, your blog consistently and fairly represents our community. Empowering the diversity of Bilerico is a no brainer for us.
In any case whatever happens, rock on!

mmmexperimental | May 30, 2008 5:17 PM

I am a white 48 year old bisexual woman, far left Democratic tree-hugging liberal from red state Nebraska who reads Towleroad, Pam's House Blend, Queerty, AfterElton, and WashingtonBladeOnline. So what demographic do I fit in? The one that also doesn't count?

It didn't do Unfocused on the Family any good throwing that bathroom shade in Colorado. Governor Ritter signed SB200 yesterday.

Let 'em keep throwing it. The more they scream, the faster people will get sick of hearing them lie about it.

I am sorry that Bilerico Blog has not been credentialed, as of yet. I will make my tiny splash. Bil, your blog consistently and fairly represents our community. Empowering the diversity of Bilerico is a no brainer for us.
In any case whatever happens, rock on!

I've driven Towleroad several times a day for the last 2 years, and as much as it get more fluffed as it gets more popular, it's the numero uno place to turn for gay news as it happens... and i've never seen a link to this site ever, never heard of this site till today.
Bilerico has yet to achieve substantial maturity warranting credentials... and this bitched-out post is evidence.
Andy has done a superb job developing Towleroad, and deserves support. I look forward to Bilerico becoming substantial, viable and a must-stop... however Bilerico has some growing pains yet to endure, and sadly this situation is one of them.

um... welcome to Bilerico, A.J.

AJ
If Bilerico is so 'immature' as you put it, then explain why Rep. Frank came here to explain why he split ENDA instead of your vaunted Towleroad?

Explain why the Project barely lost to Joe My God in last year's voting for Best LGBT blog (Pam's House Blend was third) if it's so 'immature'?

If you and the other Towleroad defenders throwing sophomoric insults and shade are examples of GLB 'maturity', it seems to me some of you Towleroadies need to stop lecturing and take your own advice.

That's really a bummer! As a transperson though, perhaps I should say it's a drag.

I don't think anyone's mad that Towleroad or Pam's got in; the anger is for the fact that Bilerico was left out. I realize that not everyone can be chosen, but Bilerico should have been.

Reading The Washington Blade's article on Bilerico's NOT being credentialed, it was referred to as "a rising gay blog headed by Bil Browning."
http://www.washingtonblade.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blog_id=18656

Yet, in Bil's blog on this, he suggests, somewhat in haste as he indicates above, that the DNC thinks LGBT has too many initials, certainly that Bilerico has too many initials.

For a Canadian transsexual woman this sort of 'irony' is more than just interesting.

The routine eliding of trans and bi people in favour of gay men--and the image is usually of what Ted above has described as "upper middle class white gay men"--is too routine for me, at least, to accept without some disquiet.

"Upper middle class white gay men" certainly have a place in the community, but my experience has been that insuring their place usually has negative consequences for those of us who are not "upper middle class white gay men."

As it has in this case.

I suppose affirmative action is no more popular among LGBT people than among others. But, "upper middle class white gay men" will never not be represented--they have been well represented at least since Stonewall.

At the expense of transsexual women of colour.

And every time the rest of us are elided into those we are not, well, gay men of an earlier generation said it far better than I ever could:

YOUR SILENCE, OUR DEATH.

Is there any reason people are arguing over who has the more relevant magazine? Is this new code for avoiding the real issue of inclusion for T and B and not just the G and L?

The L is not incuded in TowleRoad either, Shayne.

Of the two blogs from the community, one represents the more mattachinist gay male crowd, one represents the rest of us.

It is in fact fitting.
I would not be constantly having to agitate over Lesbian health issues if this were not true.

Could have been worse though...

Sorry to say, the Dems won't take my comment. Pressed "submit" (sic) and it wiped my comment and said that no comments had been submitted.