As Michael alluded to on Friday, Show Me Progress was rejected (twice) in our bid for credentials to cover the Democratic National Convention. The credential for Missouri’s slot in the state blog pool went to Fired Up Missouri, and no other Missouri-based blog was credentialed in the general blog pool. You can read up on some of the controversy elsewhere; Matt Stoller, Kos and Pam Spaulding have some good roundups of different angles of controversy in the selection process. But I want to talk specifically about our own disappointment with the results.
When hotflash and I first talked about putting together a progressive Democratic community blog for the state, there was nothing like it in Missouri. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of good political blogs here. But most of the political blogs based in Missouri are narrowly focused on a city or region, or primarily comment on national news, or are nonpartisan newsy blogs. Fired Up Missouri was probably closest to the kind of blog we wanted to be a part of, in that they cover state political news, and one doesn’t have to be a frontpager to contribute something more than a comment. But while they do an excellent job of hammering Republican malfeasance, they don’t really cover Democratic politics in any meaningful way, other than to contrast them with their Republican opponents. On Show Me Progress, we’ve covered a peace rally featuring a famous wounded vet, the new party organizing system, an on-the-ground report on the Bush-McCain Challenge in action, a shakeup in the Democratic primary in the 2nd CD, a profile of a Democratic Party activist in Springfield and her successes, and coverage of the first Democratic Attorney General debate, to name a few. And that’s just in the past week. We also covered the state convention, our ward and congressional caucuses, not to mention myriad interviews with national, state, and local candidates. I haven’t seen any of that with Fired Up Missouri. With all due respect to Fired Up, covering Democratic politics from the bottom up is not something they do.
So that brings up the question of how Fired Up Missouri was chosen over us and why. In my own view, it’s not malign – it’s as simple as the Carnahans’ connections coupled with higher readership stats and a longer history. Judging by some of the other DNCC blogger choices, they wanted to reliably transmit their message to the largest online audience possible. They believe that Fired Up will perform well in that regard, though I’m curious to see how extensive the coverage actually is. (A higher readership doesn’t mean squat for getting out your message if there aren’t many posts.)
What the DNCC seemed to leave out of the consideration is what covering the convention means for us in the state blogosphere. Official recognition is nice, but I don’t really care about the pat on the head so much as the huge networking opportunity represented by all those party officials, electeds, and activists in one giant four day party. It’s also an opportunity for us to talk one-to-one with all of the above about how better serve Missouri through internet outreach, and to swap tips and contacts with our fellow bloggers. And yeah, the higher traffic would be be nice, too. To the extent that the national and Missouri Democratic Party wants an energized activist base, they would be better served by someone like us on the floor with the Missouri delegation.
To some extent, we will still be taking our bite of the pie. Blue Girl and hotflash are going to Denver, and I’m still mulling over whether I can afford it (I wouldn’t hesitate if we actually had credentials – it would be worth it). We may still be able to have access to the Missouri delegation outside the convention hall, and there will be a satellite media center for bloggers, also outside the convention center. And we might even be able to temporarily gain access to the convention center with borrowed or guest credentials. But we won’t be able to come and go as we please, we definitely won’t have floor access to our delegation, and the access we will have will be highly limited. It would be nice if the door were open to us, instead of having our own party throw up a big roadblock.