PoliticsPA Donkey Splat
by Chris Bowers, Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 12:26:07 PM EDT
It truly was a great week--things were really taking off for the Netroots both locally and nationally. Now, unfortunately, I feel sick to my stomach after reading PoliticsPA's latest version of their Up & Down:
(down arrow) Ginny Schrader officially announced this week that she intends to seek the Democratic Party nomination in Bucks County's Eighth Congressional District next year, but nobody seemed to notice. Schrader conducted a conference call Monday night with campaign supporters and was quizzed on several important issues, but she was clearly not as prepared as she needs to be, according numerous sources on the call. Her criticism of Bucks County Democrats on the call probably won't win her too many friends in the organization.(...)
(down arrow) And finally, we at PoliticsPA owe the PA Young Democrats an apology. It seems last February we posted a note in Up & Down commenting that their endorsement of Howard Dean as Democratic National Committee Chair didn't matter because he did not stand a chance of getting elected Chairman. Oops.Ugh. This is what I mean when I talk about the problems that progressives have in local blog scenes. Here is an anonymous "insider" website focusing on local politics that simultaneously accomplishes all of the following:
- Praises a local candidate for hiring a local insider.
- Takes six months to apologize to a local Dem organization for claiming that endorsing Howard Dean for DNC chair didn't matter because he had no chance of winning the race. Of course, as anyone who was actually paying attention knew, Dean actually had the nomination sown up in late January, which makes PoliticsPA's February rebuke of a February endorsement of Dean all the more idiotic.
- Posts wildly inaccurate and even purely fabricated information about a local netroots event that they did not even attend (or at least were not invited to attend).
To whom it may concern:
This is Chris Bowers of MyDD. I live in Philadelphia, and unlike you I actually use my real name and provide accurate contact info when I write about politics online. I am writing in order to express my extreme displeasure concerning your wildly inaccurate discussion of Ginny Schrader in your recent "Up & Down" column on PoliticsPA.
For starters, I was both the organizer and the moderator of the Monday night conference call, not Ginny Schrader, as your post claims. Had anyone at Politics PA actually received my email announcement concerning the call, or actually been on the call, you would have known this. The fact that you claim otherwise makes it obvious that you are either intentionally distorting the truth about the call, or that no one at Politics PA was even on the call. That would also be an outright fabrication, considering your post on the subject clearly implies that you were in fact on the call.
Second, the call was not with supporters of Ginny, but was instead the inaugural call in a series of conference calls to be held with local progressive bloggers and prominent local Democrats. We hope to conduct calls with all major Democratic candidates in the southeast Pennsylvania area over the next few months. The series of calls is geared toward building a better connection between the Southeast PA Netroots and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and is not geared toward the support of any single candidate. Once again, had you actually received my email announcement of the call, or been on the call, you would have known this, since I said it about five or six times.
Third, at no point during the call did Ginny criticize the Bucks County Democratic Party. As the moderator of the call, and considering the purpose of the call, I asked her to provide those on the call with some background info on local Bucks County politics. The only thing that she said that could have even been mildly construed as criticism of the Bucks County Democratic Party was that there were very few Democrats in local office in the county (which is true), and that a few years ago there were a lot of Republicans holding local office in the county who were not even being challenged by Democrats in local elections (which, again, is absolutely true). Of course, since in all likelihood no one from Politics PA was even on the call, I have no idea how anyone would even have known that she said that much.
Fourth, the notion that "no one noticed" Ginny has announced is completely ridiculous. Her announcement was featured on, or linked to, by almost every major local Philadelphia progressive blog, including Atrios, MyDD, BooMan Tribune, Suburban Guerilla, Young Philly Politics, Tattered Coat, Dragonball Yee, Am I Patriotic?, Above Average Jane, Rowhouse Logic and Casadelogo. It was also mentioned on Blog for America, Democracy for America's blog. Further, there were no less than two articles about it in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Allentown Morning Call each, among other local newspapers and radio stations. In short, at least half a million people heard about Ginny's announcement this week, even though PoliticsPA didn't even include it as a front page story on their site, and instead only provided a single link about it in your SEPA and Leigh Valley sidebar.
Fifth, and finally, the notion that "numerous sources" on the call have confirmed to you that "she was clearly not as prepared as she need to be" is an outright fabrication. Considering other parts of the post on Schrader make it clear that you either were not on the call or are intentionally distorting the nature of the call, there is already great reason to believe that you are simply making this all up. Further, since I personally know everyone who was on the call, because I sent out a personal email invitation to everyone who was on the call, I have very good reason to believe that you do not even know who was on the call, and thus would not even know what sources you could possibly confirm the content of the call with.
In short, for distorting information about the call and about local attention given to Schrader's announcement, I feel that you owe her an immediate retraction of your previous post. I do not know what your motivation for making such an outrageously inaccurate post about Ginny was, and I am not going to speculate. Whatever it is, you do so while hiding behind a veil of anonymity for both yourself and your "sources." That sort of backroom rumor and influence peddling is exactly the sort of thing that is so damaging to Pennsylvania Politics, and which only serves in enhance local cynicism and under-participation in our political process. That time is ending, however. While you anonymously praise candidates in some districts, such as PA-04, for hiring local insiders, the grassroots and netroots are making real waves that will finally bring much needed transparency to the Pennsylvania political scene.