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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Democracy Space Addressing DNC Convention Blogger Black Out

Hat Tip to Julie Fanselow and the folks at Democracy Space who are asking the same questions folks inside the afrospear have been asking.

When will blogs reflect America?

Democracy Space writes: The Washington Post has a high-profile story today about how the pool of credentialed state bloggers at the Democratic National Convention is apparently nowhere near as diverse as the party itself. Its coverage follows recent stories by the Dallas Morning News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The DNC announced its roster of 55 state blogs earlier this month. The Post's Jose Antonio Vargas writes, "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."

More bloggers will receive credentials to attend the convention, but they will not enjoy some of the perks that the 55 designated state blogs will receive, including better Internet access and seating with their state delegation. Bloggers of color who are questioning the DNC's commitment to diversity include Francis L. Holland, Pam's House Blend, and African American Political Pundit, although some black bloggers note that they did not apply for the state blog credentials since their interests are more national in scope. Moreover, the state blog corps applicants weren't asked for racial identity information, and since relatively few bloggers offer such information on their sites, the DNC probably had little way of knowing which blogs include people of color.

Nonetheless, bloggers are decrying the selection process. At her blog Anderson at Large, Faye Anderson noted the irony that Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Leah Daughtry - the daughter of a noted black clergyman - was quoted in a news release announcing the 55 bloggers saying, "I'm excited about the roles these bloggers will have in engaging an even broader, more diverse base of people from around the country in conversations not only about the Convention, but about the future of our nation." Anderson replied: "Black bloggers do not share Daughtry’s excitement. They are outraged over the lack of diversity."

It's true that the political blogosphere tends to be dominated by white men; among the biggest blogs, the most notable exceptions are Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, a Latino who oversees the popular progressive blog Daily Kos, and conservative Michelle Malkin, who is of Filipino heritage. But growing numbers of bloggers are people of color; a recent National Newspaper Publishers Association story reported that there are now 900 identified black-owned blogs, up from 75 in September 2007. It's not surprising that bloggers of all races are calling out the Democratic Party's claim to represent America's diversity if that commitment isn't adequately demonstrated in its credentialed convention blogs.

AAPP: Visit Democracy Space it's a great blog!


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