Say it Ain’t So, Joe

As President Obama is set to take the stage at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner here in Washington, the LGBT blogosphere has been abuzz about an email blast sent out of by HRC’s president Joe Solmonese–which he later clarified–suggesting the LGBT community needed to be patient with Obama and not act like it’s the end of Obama’s presidency, not the beginning.

The story demonstrates one of the amazing strengths of the blogosphere and citizen journalism: instantaneous reaction.  While many traditional LGBT media outlets don’t even have daily updating, the blog world is able to give immediate reaction on a story that will likely never make it to the mainstream media.

The letter has been dissected by the gay blogger alpha males Andrew Sullivan, Dan Savage, John Aravosis and Andy Towle.  All have a long history of criticizing HRC and are invested in promoting the National Equality March.  The letter has also been batted around at Good as You, Box Turtle Bulletin, Queerty, and by Pam Spaulding.

Without getting into the merits of the dispute, the commentary is interesting because it underscores the us v. them attitude that fuels the blogosphere.  Tossing around terms like Gay Inc., the bloggers view themselves as a check on the gay establishment.  That’s why HRC and Barney Frank are frequent targets.  It also explains why there was a certain amount of ideological lockstep in not questioning the march.

The disagreements inside the LGBT community have gotten some play in the traditional media. Stories this weekend by the Los Angeles Times, NPR, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Washington Post. There was also an especially nasty interchange between Solmonese and march organizer Cleve Jones on MSNBC’s Hardball.

These disputes are important to cover.  They also show the advantages the LGBT blogosphere has over the traditional LGBT media and the mainstream media. But is there a risk that the homogeneity of opinion will fail to fully tell the story? There’s no doubt that HRC bashing unites the blogosphere and citizen journalists. But is a “LGBT netroots” tied largely to a specific POV good for the conversation? And will alternative voices emerge to challenge the alpha males and dominant voices?

Time will tell.

2 Responses

  1. “Gay blogger alpha males”

    Love it.

  2. HRC are frequent targets because they keep doing things that insult and infuriate the grassroots elements of the LGBT activist community. I’ve been writing about HRC fairly regularly for years and I never run out of good material.

    Barney Frank is harder to peg, but I suspect many grassroots LGBT activists see him as more of a political opportunist than a true villain.

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