Concerns Over Press Access at NGLTF’s Creating Change

A little late to the game, but big thanks to the Bay Area Reporter for again pointing out when LGBT organizations block access to the press. In an editorial late last week, BAR blasted the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for allowing Freedom to Marry to hold an “off-the-record” session at the Creating Change conference in Dallas.

In the editorial, BAR noted that Evan Wolfson would not permit the press into his marriage institute session at the annual meeting of LGBT activists. Wolfson later said that the press wasn’t barred from the session, but instead that the session was “off-the-record” and therefore nothing could be reported. As the editorial says, “that is a fine distinction that hardly results in unfettered reporting from that session.”  The editorial said NGLTF never responded to BAR’s concerns.

If the session had been about hate crime victims, or victims of sex abuse, we could see the rationale about keeping discussion off the record. But this is an institute about marriage. Anyone who was following the federal Proposition 8 trial via Twitter or on numerous blogs knows full well what the community is up against regarding opposition to marriage equality. And for goodness’ sake, if progressive activists and others can’t articulate their views in a public forum, how are they ever going to accomplish the hard, on-the-ground work of talking to people – in public and private settings?

Creating Change was attended by a number of LGBT and progressive bloggers. Were they also told not to report on what was happening in Wolfson’s session? Did the bloggers agree to these conditions, or were the conditions only placed on the traditional press? Was tweeting permitted? Did any bloggers who were attending the conference, sponsoring panels, and speaking on activist/blogger relationships raise concerns about NGLTF and Freedom to Marry blocking reporting on these sessions?

With the proliferation of “secret” new efforts to organize LGBT activists, what does that mean about transparency and press access?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

2 Responses

  1. I was in that session and I blog for Bilerico.com. Freedom To Marry asked we not liveblog or livetweet the session–not that it was “secret.” There was, quite frankly, little to report on. Evan Wolfson described the state of Marriage Equality, and proceeded to tell all of us a story we are all, quite frankly, quite familiar with. Representatives from No On One, Garden State Equality, Approve Ref 71, and Freedom to marry rehashed the campaigns and described the road ahead. The big revolutionary secret conclusion? To tell our stories as often as we can, and engage our neighbors one-on-one. The meeting was so unremarkable, I’d all but forgotten they asked us not to innundate the Twitterverse with word vomit until this inflamatory post. If you were worried about access, you merely had to attend the session.

  2. But many people couldn’t attend the session, Phil, which is why reporters and bloggers need to be able to report on what is going on. When they are told the session is ‘off-the-record” and therefore unable to report on the specifics of what sources are talking about, the public who can’t afford a ticket to Dallas is deprived of information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: