A week after Robert Gibbs went after the “professional left,” another White House official is allegedly airing his frustration with bloggers and this time it’s the LGBT blogosphere and their constant complaining about the Obama administration that is raising concern.
According to John Aravosis at AmericaBlog, the White House’s point person to the LGBT community, Brian Bond, “expressed frustration at the often intense criticism levied, particularly by bloggers, against an administration that is ’99 percent supportive of your issues.'” Bond allegedly made these comments at a meeting with state-level activists.
Aravosis, who has been a critic of the administration, was having none of it:
It’s great that you’re “supportive.” But it’s the same argument gay Republicans used to describe George Bush. He was secretively supportive of us, they’d say, even if he didn’t help us a whole lot legislatively. I’m not saying you’re George Bush, but the empathy thing is wearing thin. We don’t want your support in words, we want you to keep your promises. And you’re not.
Pam Spaulding, another blogger with deep connections to the progressive netroots, also expressed frustration with the White House’s reaction to bloggers and criticism that the bloggers make. Pointing to the lack of movement on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and a bill that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Spaulding said the White House had little to point to when it came to accomplishments and that they should stop blaming bloggers and activists for complaining.
Spaulding and Aravosis were among a group of bloggers invited to a meeting at the White House had with LGBT media outlets and blogs. That meeting was the first time that a White House has had a sit-down with LGBT journalists and bloggers, but Obama has not done an interview with an LGBT news outlet during his presidency.
Being courted on one-hand while being complained-about on the other causes concern for Spaulding:
We’re not the enemy, the “gay bloggers” have just been treated in a bizarre fashion (and sadly, at times the traditional LGBT media’s apparently placed in the doghouse with us by association), it’s not like we sit around thinking how to screw over the WH. On the other hand, we’re not an extension of the WH PR machine. We just represent many voices, and many outside the Beltway, of course, that haven’t been heard or dealt with before. Does that make it challenging to navigate these relationships? Yes, and that’s on both sides.
The LGBT blogosphere, like progressive bloggers generally, has focused on the Obama administration failures and attempted to rally opposition to the White House. Anyone who sides with the administration– including the Human Rights Campaign and even Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)–is given the same treatment.
The larger question for LGBT bloggers, and the White House, is how much harm is there in complaining about activists. While big-name bloggers are now hosting fundraisers for candidates, its unclear how much they speak for mainstream LGBT voters or how large their constituency really is. While bloggers may have an outsized-role with other activist groups that the White House wants support from, there may be little downside in questioning the role of activists/bloggers and touting the administration’s perceived successes outside of the LGBT blogosphere’s echo chamber-like voice.
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