(See my earlier post, Democratic National Convention state blog selection dustup.)
I've laid off commenting about the dustup regarding the announcement of the 55 blogs selected for the DemConvention State Blogger Corps over the last few days in the hope of receiving more information regarding the program and handling of the fallout. There were actually two points of contention about the selection process that have been covered unevenly in the blogosphere.
1) Lack of racial diversity in the state pools selected (given the overall composition of the Dem party), and the fact that there is a different level of access to the state delegation given to these blogs on the floor at the Dem National Convention versus the general blogger pool, which will be announced this week;
2) The charge that there were political factors that went into the decision-making process for state blogs that resulted in highly qualified state blogs not making the final cut. This was the suggestion that state parties were consulted and were able to give thumbs up or down to specific blogs that may have been hard on the state parties.
Item number two has already been heavily covered in the progressive blogosphere, while outside of black blogs, the first item has been largely and curiously ignored by the top-tier blogs. As is the norm on such things, my position seems to straddle that group of progressive blogs. On the one hand, I think the problem is due to 1) an inability of state blogs to include more minority contributors; 2) some may not have thought about a lack of minority perspective on state and local issues as important; 3) those state blogs have truly tried by haven't seen interest from POC who are well-versed in state and local issues who are able to/want to contribute to a state blog.
On the other hand, some of the black/brown bloggers have seen the selection results and have tossed "Jim Crow" charges out there -- meaning overt, purposeful exclusion. I don't see purposeful exclusion, what I see is a DNCC that wanted blogs represented at the convention in an unprecedented way, but was unable to see or fully address the minority representation problem (and we're not only talking about racial minorities) it was going to create with its selection system.
The bottom line is that the lack of minority participation at the state blogger level is real, and it is a problem for the Democratic Party as well as the blogosphere.
However, both reactions aren't particularly helpful in terms of improving dialogue long term -- the defense shields go up, and nothing positive usually comes of this. It's been frustrating to see it all unfold.
I was contacted by Aaron Myers, the director of online communications for the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee, and spoke with him a couple of days ago to ask him about the credentialing process, the details in level of access, and some logistics, in an effort to get some information on the record. My notes are below the fold.
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