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    March 14, 2008

    The DNC's gay press contempt

    Posted by: Chris

    Howarddean Just when you think the Democratic National Committee couldn't possibly mishandle gay relations any worse, they somehow manage. The latest attempt to intimidate gay critics into silence would be shocking if it were not so depressingly true to form.

    Kevin Naff, my former colleague and successor at the Washington Blade, writes in an editorial today:

    What happens when a gay person dares to criticize a Democrat for failing to keep promises and honor commitments? I got a taste of the Democratic wrath last month, after criticizing DNC Chair Howard Dean and his chief of staff, Leah Daughtry in an editorial. … 

    In response, Daughtry sent two lawyers to the Blade’s offices to berate me and our publisher, Lynne Brown. The meeting was beyond contentious and featured lots of red-faced cursing and threatening of lawsuits.

    They claimed to represent Daughtry and not the DNC. But DNC officials have gloated behind the scenes that since the confrontation in the Blade’s offices, the paper has stopped writing about a gay man’s lawsuit against the party, his former employer. Donald Hitchcock accuses the DNC of firing him after his partner, Paul Yandura, publicly urged gay donors to think twice before giving money to the Democratic Party.

    Of course, to suggest that the Blade would abandon a story because a couple of angry lawyers made a scene in the lobby constitutes wishful thinking. One thing every journalist learns early on is that when people start yelling and making threats, that means you’re onto something.

    The real outrage here isn't the attempt to influence press coverage; that happens every hour of every day in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. It's the sneering contempt that Dem officials show for "uppity" gays who dare to criticize the party that sees itself as beyond reproach on any and all gay-related issues, simply because the Republicans are so much worse.

    20070419_leah1low Daughtry, an ordained Pentecostal pastor, should have been dismissed months ago for pitting blacks and gays against each other within the party, but this latest stunt is beyond the pale. And yet she remains Howard Dean's chief of staff and will run the Democratic National Convention.

    Can you imagine the DNC treating the niche press of any other interest group -- labor, African Americans, Latinos, women and so on -- in such a manner? Of course not. But this is par for the DNC course under Dean, enabled by influential gays inside the party apparatus whose partisanship causes them to turn a blind eye to the legitimate watchdog role of the gay press and gay activists.

    Kevin notes in the editorial that in depositions in the Hitchcock suit -- which the DNC stubbornly refuses to settle for unfathomable reasons -- Dean has apparently referred to the Blade "the Fox News of gay journalism." Another top DNC official, Julie Tagen, was recently revealed to have said in an internal email, "the Blade and the other gay papers for the bottom of the bird cage."

    If that sounds familiar, it's probably because during my tenure as editor, Dean called the Blade "the New York Post of the gay and lesbian press corps."

    Howarddean700 "They’re not credible and they have somebody there who has an agenda which is clearly not favorable to the Democratic Party," Dean said in the fall of 2006, "so we simply don’t give them any credence." This from the same man who was happy to give an interview to Pat Robertson's "700 Club" -- since they're so "credible" and there's no one there "with an agenda" against the Democrats.

    The Democratic Party has enjoyed a major resurgence the last several years, attributable almost entirely to the utter disaster of the Bush presidency and the inspirational (until recently) presidential primary. Dean will no doubt ride that wave as long as he can, but it is long past time for gays and gay groups to speak out against the contempt and disrespect with which Democratic Party officials treat the gay press.

    Where is the National Gay & Lesbian Journalists Association when the gay press needs it?



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    1. Tim on Mar 14, 2008 11:39:37 AM:

      Honestly was it different before Dean? I seem to remember the 90's... oh and the disaster of gay marriage legislation. Of course they can always point to the schizophrenic response to EDNA as to why they don't take us serious.

      Honestly sometimes it's enough to give up on politics

    1. Tim on Mar 14, 2008 11:44:16 AM:

      Whoops have to start using more than one word...

      Honestly what was i thinking

    1. Double T on Mar 14, 2008 1:00:08 PM:

      Help me out. Perhaps I do not understand something.

      Let’s say we have Mr. and Mrs. Smith, God-fearing loyal members of the GOP. In fact, Mr. Smith is employed by the GOP, he does fundraising and outreach to the ultra-conservative members of the GOP.

      Mrs. Smith is a stay-at-home-mom, who on the side is a freelance writer. Now, let’s say she begins writing a series of articles asking ultra-conservative republicans not to donate money to the GOP because they have failed to end abortion and meet other conservative goals.

      Mr. Smith’s employment is terminated.

      Has Mr. Smith been discriminated against for being a Christian?

      Chris, for being a political junkie, you seem to miss the point that politics is often the art of making friends out of people you don't like. Not the art of making more enemies.

    1. GregL on Mar 14, 2008 2:06:46 PM:

      This is why I am voting for McCain. The liberal elite of the gay community have always bought into the lies of the Democrat Party. Amazingly they still buy the mirage even after Slick Willie spearheaded anti-gay legislation such as DADT and DOMA. The Republican Party has always been a better choice for gay Americans who honestly want equal rights and not special rights. Yes, one can be gay and proud yet still believe that our lifestyle is unhealthy for children and not appropriate as a subject in schools. Let's not buy the lies of the homosexual effete leaders any more.

    1. Tim on Mar 14, 2008 2:18:07 PM:

      Wow Double T, do you work for NDT? cause your logic follows the same path. Gays that speak up against discrimination are to blame for the discrimination they face. Conversely gays that do not speak up are to blame for the over the top gay behavior that drives some straights to think that all gays are freaks.
      While your point about political favoritism is timely, I don't believe the article was about that, but rather the horrid way that the DNC views and treats its gay constituents. Not so oddly the parallels between the GOP usage of closet republicans and the DNC use of gays willing to denigrate and disparage their own is strikingly similar.

    1. Double T on Mar 14, 2008 5:40:06 PM:

      Thank you for your kind words. No, I am not employed by NDT.

      I merely asked for someone to review my train of thought and tell me where the logic fails. A true test of any argument is when you can interchange subjects for like subjects and the argument still holds up.

      In my example are the Smiths victims of discrimination? If Mr. Smith was terminated by a Jewish person, say Mr. Jones. And Mr. and Mrs. Smith began running stories that the GOP had been taken over by Christian-Hating Jews.And their chief hatchet-man was Mr. Jones.

      Does Mr. Jones have the right to send a lawyer over to defend his name?

      Perhaps Chris is seeing Mountains where there are only molehills?

      Perhaps the National Gay & Lesbian Journalists Association does not have such a jaundice eye?

    1. David Mariner on Mar 14, 2008 8:54:35 PM:


      Great Post ... I would only add on thing. Sometimes it's not just partisianship that keeps the influential gays inside the party from speaking up. I think more often than not the folks we perceive as the influential insiders avoid speaking out simply because maintaining their position is more important to them personally than speaking out for their GLBT brothers and sisters.

      Whether they want to maintain their fancy title, or place on the DNC payroll, or position as a consultant, or just maintain their insider status (all of which can be pretty darn fragile) these folks are not speaking out for us ... and they do a disservice to us and to Howard Dean.

    1. Andrew Tobias on Mar 15, 2008 5:41:31 PM:

      Wow, GregL. President Clinton "spearheaded" DOMA? I thought it was the Republicans who introduced it as a wedge issue, hoping against hope he'd veto it so they could win the White House in 1996, just as they had swept Congress in 1994. ("Gay marriage" was not popular in 1996, and Clinton had won in 1992 with only 43% of the vote. So losing in 1996 was a real possibility.)

      What made it such a great issue for them is that if he *signed* it (their second favorite choice), at least they'd have succeeded in driving a wedge between the gays and the Democrats. And your post shows that, at least to some extent, it worked and is *still* working.

      (When he did win reelection, he appointed scores of openly LGBT officials to an American administration for the first time ever, advocacated Hate Crimes and ENDA legislation in two globally televised State of the Union messages, and much else.)

      As for "spearheading" don't ask/don't tell, what Clinton actually did was -- naively -- promise to lift the ban as his first act as President (can you think of any other president who ever made one of our issues a top priority?). And then expend much of his first year's political capital on this issue for us . . . letting the entire world, and an upcoming generation, know day after day after day that the President of the United States valued gay and lesbian citizens (we forget what a huge deal that was) . . . but when it was apparent it was undoable, he accepted a compromise (which he has since repudiated as not having worked out as hoped) endorsed by the leading openly gay Congressman.

      Your guy, Bush, tilted the Supreme Court to the right for what may be the rest of our lives and told a generation of kids coming up that the President of the United States favored amending the Constitution to discirminate against gays and lesbians.

      And your new guy, McCain, opposes ENDA, opposes Hate Crimes, opposes lifting the military ban.

      Is the economy going THAT well for you that you would take their side?

      Please give the Democrats another look. We're not perfect, but we consistently lean heavily toward equality -- including DNC Chair Howard Dean who signed the nation's first civil unions bill and then spent months traveling his state, often in a bulletproof vest, helping his fellow Vermonters open their hearts and minds to the justice of our cause.

      The other side, by contrast, leans hevaily *against* our equality.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Mar 18, 2008 2:36:31 PM:

      Ah yes, Andrew Tobias; the same person who rails against FMA supporters as being evil and homophobic people who any gay person should oppose, but has himself been caught giving money, support, and endorsements to them.

      I also notice how you brag about Clinton's appointments to meaningless committees, but completely ignore the fact that Bush, who you claim hates gay people, has appointed them to higher positions. Why don't you notice that, especially since you claim to care about gay issues? Is it because you and your fellow Democrats have paid for those Republicans to be harassed and threatened in an attempt to have them lose their jobs, just as you did with Don Hitchcock?

      In short, you don't care about gay issues; you care only about pleasing your Democrat massas, who have zero problem throwing out gays when they're inconvenient despite the MILLIONS of dollars the gay community has wasted on them. And what makes you particularly reprehensible is that you actively and openly participated in slandering and getting fired a gay person for things his partner wrote because his partner called out this precise behavior pattern and castigated the Democrat Party for doing it.

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