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Obama Wants to Build an Alliance with Brown Bloggers; Or Does He?

Sunday night, I climbed into my bed after a wonderfully exhausting weekend in Washington, DC. I ventured to our nation’s capital to attend the 2010 Blogging While Brown (BWB) conference, a national conference for minority bloggers. It was my first time visiting DC and everything was perfect! I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel, eat a number of exquisitely prepared meals, drank good wine, met many of my favorite bloggers, and oh yeah… did I mention that little meeting that I had with White House?

WhiteHouseGroup Yes! I and about 45 of the 200+ BWB conference goers received a special invitation to attend a White House meeting! We were absolutely clueless about the nature of the meeting. Would we meet the President? Get a tour? Have a luncheon? What about Bo?

Well, we found out soon enough that the answer to each of those questions was ‘no’. Once we made it inside the Eisenhower Building, Corey Ealons, the Director of African American Media Relations and Jessie Lee (who was all but responsible for President Obama’s social media campaign) spent about an hour and a half appealing to us on behalf of the President to “help ensure a more active engagement” with the public. Corey Ealons said that the administration not only wants to project out, but to bring in. He said the White House has “embraced bloggers” because we have “great relevancy to their audiences.” Well, I know that, but based on our welcome, I’m not sure the White House does.

The BWB group didn’t get a tour; a sandwich; not even a glass of water. Now, if the White House recognizes the the impact of bloggers, (which is growing even beyond that of traditional journalists), then why weren't we treated just a little better? I’m just asking…

If I recall correctly, VP Joe Biden had a number of traditional journalists and their families out to his mansion  for a pool party. Mind you now, journalists aren’t supposed to be biased. They were taught in J-School to never give their personal opinions; to never show any semblance of favoritism; and to never put themselves in a predicament where their impartiality could be questioned. I know this, because I graduated from USC’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications. But, if that's the case, then why were they there?

It is completely acceptable for bloggers to have an opinion. That’s the beauty of it all; we don’t have to pretend to be unmoved by our emotions and personal feelings. Perhaps that’s why blogging is on the rise and journalism isn’t really growing. The thing about blogging is that when we print something, you know it’s our opinion. When Wolf Blitzer and Ed Hardy of CNN (who were in attendance at the pool part) report on something, it is supposed to be based on facts only. Do you really think they can be critical of VP Biden after playing Marco Polo with his grandchildren? Let’s be real... How unbiased can they be after splishing and a splashing with HNIC #2 (Opps, I meant HMIC!)

On The Steps2 I admit that I can be swayed. I’m a blogger; I’m supposed to be. Many of our readers relate to us because we live the same lives they do. Many live vicariously through us; they trust us. Furthermore, bloggers are the closest thing to investigative reporting now… that’s one reason why the respect for us is growing. No longer do bloggers throw an unfounded opinion and hide their hand. We say who we are, how we feel, give reasons why, and encourage others to think like us.

The Republican Party has long recognized the value of bloggers and utilized them to get their message out. As a matter of fact, Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the Republican Party, awarded Ed Morrissey with the Blogger of the Year Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference. But the Director of African-American Media Relations couldn’t even give us a glass of water? Please.

Corey, Jesse (Lee, not Jackson), President Obama: If ya’ll want me to promote your message, you’ve got to win me over. As excited as I was to be at the White House, I really wasn’t very impressed. You need to step up  your game for the next group of bloggers, that is if you are serious about having us on your team.

Corey: I heard you loud and clear when you said that you have all of our blog and email addresses. I guess you were giving me a fair warning that Big Brother is watching. But also, let me remind you that you said while you appreciate the pats on the back, you also want the other conversations. Consider this the ‘other conversation’.

PS. If something happens to me, Corey did it! Edit


Great Post! You should send it to him :) Delete Reply

Dang, I did not know about the Biden pool party!

I guess for me I enjoyed the visit and was honored to be invited. But for headway to have been made with regard to the White House fostering a new relationship with the brown blogger community, I believe everyone invited should have been privy to the topic for the meeting so we could have had a more contructive discourse. It would have been nice to receive a formal email or letter from the new media team confirming our invitation and outlining the agenda.

Additionally, a proper tour of the actual White House and a choreographed photo op would have cemented a positive first impression for me. **bummed iim not showing in the group photo**

All and all a step in the right direction and next time it will be better.

Thx for speaking on it! Delete Reply

Trudy: Don't get me wrong... I'm was honored also! But are we just so happy to be at the table that we will be happy with anything? Yes, this is a step in the right direction, but look at the relationship with the Republican Party and their bloggers versus the Democrats and their political bloggers... There is a lot more that can be done. A glass of water would have helped the relationship tremendously! Delete Reply

Hello Ms. Teowonna,

It's your friend Ed writing here and expressing disappointment with you. No, it's not because you haven't found a treasure trove of information about Atlantic Beach and Punk's Patio (and maybe even a few pictures) for me, or that your blogs have become less scintillating (loved the latest brown bloggers at the White House and even the small slice-of-life commentary on Chick-fil-A).

So, what's the problem? You haven't been all over the Alvin Greene story! Could there be more fertile ground for your plow? Nope. Come on Ms. T. Where's it at?

With very best regards and hopefully a little evident humor,
Ed Shell Delete Reply

Ed... no! Disappointment... That Teowonna does not do disappointment very well! OK. I have been officially dressed down. I will do better! Alvin Green is coming for sure! I also have other wonderful things for you too... just wait!

Thanks so much for your feedback. I look forward to hearing from you! Also, REALLY enjoyed the blog about the father-son trip to MB. That was excellent writing! It made me smile... Delete Reply

Which Corey is this??? not jealous, just want to know of all the other Coreys out there, especially when we spell our names the same!!! Delete Reply

This would have been a cool memorable event that would be a notch above typical tourist treatment, but it certainly sounds like a token gesture to reach out to a group that was not perceived to have much influence. But what the heck--something is better than nothing.

Tossing It Out Delete Reply

Nice blog. Keep sharing more wonderful posts. Delete Reply

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