Saturday, November 05, 2005

Iowa left-leaning political bloggers are all white men?

The Jefferson-Jackson Democratic fundraising event is getting underway, and I just checked in to see what the live bloggers are posting. I noticed this piquant observation from Drew.

With me are Chris Woods of the Political Forecast, two guys from South Dakota Progressive, and Chad from Clean Cut Kid, who is actually not all that clean cut. Surprised though you may be, it is in fact a group of all white men.

Are you suggesting, that of the 340,500 Iowa women registered as Democrats not one produces a blog that is worthy of an invitation to live blog the premier Democratic fundraising event of the year? What are the gals too busy volunteering for the table decorations and party favor committees?

(Just checked ya before posting, and I see you've added "blogging assistant" Sarah to the team. Good, it is better to have at least one gal in the mix.)

I think the other important thing to keep in mind is that the communication director who invited us is a woman, as is the chair of the IDP, and so were a majority (my guestimation) of the people there. Just because out of three Iowa blogs there wasn't a woman doesn't mean a correlation should be made.
Chris, I certainly appreciate the information on the "femaleness" of the Democratic Party. However, writing a political blog is different from being inside the Democratic Party operations or attending a fundraising dinner. I bet the GOP pulls the same sort of women numbers at their events and I believe their communications director is a woman. Whatever.

Blogs are supposed to be independent; they're not structured, party sanctioned fonts of information. Although, the JJ live blogging did read a bit like a love-in for all things Democratic and that's understandable, when you're a partisan the Party language resonates.

In the future, it would be nice if y'all can find an acceptable gal to blog along with the rest of the white males.
Blog for Iowa is a lefty blog run by Linda Thieman. Bob Again has a lefty slant, and is also run by a female. I have no idea if either were invited to JJ.

Chris, Gordon, and I run the only three blogs in Iowa that I think are distinctly partisan, rather than ideological. That's probably why we were the main invites.
Also, Gordon Fischer has regularly had female guest bloggers.
Also, Drew Miller, Chris Woods and Gordon Fischer all post using real names with no anonymity's a little easier for the IDP to invite a real person than send an invite to a "Mr. Snow," or "Ms. Ennui."
Let me define the difference between "partisan blog" and "ideological blog", "employable hack" and "unemployable hack", respectively. But that's all okay because I predict there will be a "partisan" female blogger at the table during the June convention.

And on being anonymous, I do want to work somewhere, anywhere, at some point and google is a scary thing. I'm comfortable talking about this habit, but I don't need to be unexpectedly blind-sided by it. Besides, I don’t think I’m on either parties’ short list for the convention blogger table.

I hope the Democrats try using this medium at other events, it’s interesting and, even through the rah-rah, informative. I would suggest the same to Republicans, but they usually have to wait until one of their esteemed geriatric types brings up the idea. Then they know their voters might actually read the live blog updates.

Oh yeah, Gordon does have female guest bloggers -- former state party executive directors, current state party chairs, State Representatives ... yeah, certainly the "grassroots" in partisan female bloggers.
For a first time using this type of tactic, I think the IDP scored a big success. You can't blame them for not having a woman there. I commend the IDP for taking steps to encourage a new media form at such a prestigious event like this.

But, honestly and frankly, a discussion over whether or not they should've tried really hard to have a female blogger come and blog with the three Iowa guys who were there is about a worthy discussion as to have the three of us who were there bicker over the fact that the max speed of the wireless connection was only about 24 mbps.

Should they aim for having some kind of female representation in the future? Absolutely. But you can't blame them for the lack of big, known, female, and Democratic bloggers out there. Like Drew said, there are only a few that I know. But by having at least a blogosphere representation there is enough to encourage more folks into embarking on this amazing habit and engagement in discourse.

And just one more quick comment on something you said: "Blogs are supposed to be independent". Huh? Says who? Honestly, one of the things I love most about blogs is the fact that they don't have to be independent, that they can articulate and say whatever they feel--from an ideological position or not. Disclosures for political and campaign purposes are definitely needed, but who says I have to uphold some idea of independence or objectivity? Can't I just be the unabashed Democrat I am, spew the party line if I want to, and then attack them three paragraphs later?

Until we have a conference on blogger ethics or something ridiculous like that, I'll stick with what I'm doing.
Here's something to ponder: almost all the female bloggers I know, tend to not stick to pure politics.
Random being our prime candidate, blogs law, politics, dating, etc.
Mommy Geek blogs deer crossings, baby Geek, family, some politics, and cute hubby stories.
I blog politics, rants, mommy stuff, chick stuff, work stuff, etc..
These guys pretty much blog politics and that's it. Well, sometiems Drew talks a bit of parties and beer, but other than that...

And although I'm sure I could have made a phone call (maybe 2) and been on blogger row, I didn't want to. I think they would have been open and receptive to a female blogger.

Basically I think we are seeing an example of how women and men differ. Yes, there are differences.

It may seem a small issue not to have included a female blogger at the table, and it probably is just a simple lack of foresight to think that diversity at the blogger table matters. I would suggest to you, however, that men and women do bring slightly different points of view to politics. Women look different, we have different issues, and most women in politics can recall at least one conversation that took place where the visual handout wasn't what was being "studied".


I disagree with your opinion on women and blogs. I think you can find many examples of political blogs written by women. It's just most of the gals writing are on the right or in the middle, and I am not sure what to make of that observation.
Ennui - do you have any stats to back up that claim? DailyKos has a female frontpage blogger, which I think in itself beats every other conservative blogger combined.

I don't really see many conservative iowa women blogging either, but then since most of all y'all are anonymous it is harder to tell.

The fact of the matter is that the blogosphere is currently male dominated. This isn't a liberal or conservative thing. I'd rather not speculate on what it is, since I've seen the venom that those discussions bring. :-)
And I think that ideological bloggers aren't hacks. I certainly am, but I'd like to think that I'm at least a semi-independent Democratic hack. :-)
And Gordon Fischer had Megan Heneke, who isn't a big muckety muck (though she has worked for IDP). Why is it bad that he's bringing in important female Democrats, anyway?
Where are the important female RPI guest bloggers? I'm sort of skeptical that there are even that many important females to begin with in that party.
I'm not sure how you can disagree with my opinion. I am of the opinion that most Iowa female bloggers (that most of us are familiar with)blog about more than just politics. I provided examples. I expressed my opinion. You can express an alternate opinion, but surely you aren't saying that what I've said is incorrect.?!?
Name me an iowa female blogger who only does pol and I'll name you five that don't.
As long as I can keep up on that ratio, I'm not wrong.
And I know more than 5 female Iowa bloggers.
This is an interesting string of posts sprung because Drew made an ironic observation at JJ dinner and I picked up on it for a little fun. However, it's a challenge, and I'm doing a little research on this gender issue and political blogging and will post tomorrow sometime.

I was side tracked by Royce from Iowa Libertarian. Scary stuff.
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