Sunday, December 12, 2004

Bloggers Shut Out of State Democratic Party Conference

Jerome Armstrong has an account of how he, Matt Stoller, Joe Trippi and other bloggers were banned from some sessions (which were otherwise open to the public) at the state Democratic Party conference in Orlando. A dispassionate account comes from Markos:

While the attendees talked a good game about "netroots" and small dollar donors, they shut out the bloggers from more than one event. Unacceptable, especially since they were specifically exluded from various proceedings. One of the tenets of "reform" is accountability, and you cannot have accountability without transparency.

People may disagree on the party's ability to keep "press" out of certain events. But Democratic bloggers aren't "press". We're not disinterested observers chronicling events. We're engaged and active in the fight to rebuild our party, and as such, deserve, at very least, to stand in the back wall and observe those events that have an impact in our party.

This is something the party will have to resolve, as more and more of America's 56 million Democratic voters become bloggers. Most charitably, they have some sorting out to do re which bloggers count as press and which do not. (They couldn't kick out blogger Jenny Greenleaf, whose report on the meetings is here, because she recently won a spot on the DNC. See here for a discussion in which Jenny and the group at mydd tries to sort this out.) Much more concerning: this is a sign that there are elements of the party that see the netroots as a one-way cashflow, and see any blogging they do as a one-way announcement.

In 2004 the party asked us to trust them with John Kerry. We did, and we gave them hundreds of millions of our dollars in small contributions to get him elected. This will not happen again. Either the Democratic Party will reform, operate transparently, and follow up the best idea of the grass roots -- or all those internet contributions will end up in other hands.


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