CommunityPam's House Blend

Why I won't be on the panel in Philly

I was scheduled to appear next Wednesday at the National Media Panel on Blogs during Equality Forum. I’m still going to Philly, but I won’t be on the panel. John Aravosis of AmericaBlog has declined to participate as well.

What happened?

When I received the email from panel moderator about the final agenda of the panel discussion last week, I was surprised to see that the Gannongate dustup was not going to be the centerpiece of the agenda, in fact it wasn’t mentioned at all. Quite frankly, a discussion of journalism, ethics, and the intersection of sexuality, politics and impact of blogging puts the Gannon story front and center — it should be the focus of the panel, not a sideline.

John’s blogging on the White House Press Whore/Talon “News” cub reporter Gannon/Guckert is a landmark in LGBT and mainstream political blogging. No matter what anyone along the political spectrum may think of John’s views on some issues, this is the elephant in the room that people are coming to see a discussion about.

In my response, I made it clear that most regular readers of my blog have zero respect for Gannon as a representative or voice of the LGBT community in the blogosphere, regardless of politics. He’s a homophobe and a serial plagiarist. He has little to add to the discussion about LGBT media and blogging, since his blog has no impact or influence in the community in terms of blogger journalism; he’s a joke.

There have been many rounds of correspondence over this, up until last night, when I finally tired of trying to get clarity and resolution on this — the issue is principle. This panel is planning to give Gannon legitimacy as a blogger/journalist while refusing to focus on his scandal, the only thing he’s legitimately able to speak about on this front. It’s unfortunate – and a repeat of what happened at the National Press Club when Gannon was given a forum. John elaborates more here.

If the goal was meant to politically balance the panel in a discussion of the responsibilities of bloggers writing about LGBT issues, there are certainly right-leaning gay bloggers of influence who could have been invited. Gannon can’t even represent this; he rarely writes about LGBT matters at all.

So, unless these organizers have a come-to-Jeebus moment at the 11th hour, I’ve deep-sixed my first panel appearance. It was something I had looked forward to; since we already bought the plane tickets we’ll still be there to attend events, meet up with Philly bloggers, see the city and celebrate Kate’s birthday.

Many thanks to those at Equality Forum for extending the gracious invitation to appear.

Myriad reasons why Gannon is the story:
* Condi, ‘ho boots, and rent-boy Gannon: sex and power in Washington
* Make your own Jeffy Lube pro-war rally poster
* ePluribus Media: The Spectacular Rise of the Miraculous Mr. Gannon
* Gannongate – the Players
* AmericaBlog: A man called Jeff
* Crooks and Liars: Jeff Gannon retrospective in video

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding