January 13, 2008
Time for Tagen to go?
Posted by: Chris
Pressure is growing on Julie Tagen, the Democratic National Committee official who said in an internal email that she uses "the Blade and the other gay papers for the bottom of the bird cage." Now Lee Bolin, a former member of the National Stonewall Democrats executive committee, is calling for Tagen, the deputy finance director, to be canned:
If a DNC staffer disparaged black, Latino, or Jewish media the way Deputy Finance Director Julie Tagen did LGBT media, that person would already be out of a job."
The DNC continues to decline comment, citing the lawsuit filed by Donald Hitchcock, who alleges gay and gender bias in his dismissal as the DNC's gay outreach director. Hitchcock was let go after his domestic partner, political consultant Paul Yandura, penned an open letter blasting DNC Chair Howard Dean for abandoning the fight against statewide constitutional amendments banning gays from marrying.
The Tagen email exchange was released in the Hitchcock lawsuit, but the DNC should stop hiding behind that as an excuse to avoid the subject. Donald is tangential to the subject of the emails, which do not touch on the issues at stake in the suit. But once public, the DNC's contemptuous attitude toward gay activists and the gay press must be addressed.
Perhaps most depressingly, Tagen (pictured) is openly gay herself -- but like too many in politics (and even the gay rights movement) she appears to be a partisan first and a lesbian second. As a lesbian, Tagen is certainly entitled to her views about the Blade and the gay press generally. As the editor of the Washington Blade during the time period leading up to the email exchange, I would like to know exactly what factual errors were made by the Blade and "the other gay papers" that would justify such a broadside.
More likely, Tagen is merely complaining that the Blade and the gay press generally had "an agenda" -- an accusation familiar to gay activists, but not usually from our own. In fact, every story the Blade did about the DNC was the result of a gay Democrat coming to us with the information. Do Tagen and Dean believe we should have ignored these prominent gay Dems because their party is so better than the Republicans on gay issues?
Every story published confirmed facts, aired the DNC's critics and gave the DNC every opportunity to respond. I would hope that Tagen and other gays with influence at the DNC would defend the role of our media, not join in shooting the messenger.
It may not be time (yet) for Tagen to go, but she's got some 'splaining to do.
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