Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Media Bloggers Association & the PBS Debate

The following is a response to commenter Denise, regarding the credentialing of Bloggers for the PBS debate. Here is the list of Black bloggers invited or "allowed" in by MBA and PBS.

It looks like you had to be an award recipient in order to gain approval from the Media Bloggers Association. I had a pretty bad experience with this group (the "MBA") a couple of years ago. I attempted to join their little organization shortly after I entered the world of blogging, as a way to help me get started... but I was told at the time (in so many words) that I was not elite enough. I basically told them that they could go straight to Hell.

The MBA is an elitist white-run group... which is reflected in how they choose people to "credential". Their aim is to gain favor with the big media (which is what they are doing here). That is a horrible group to have as a filter for these events. It's an especially bad filter for an event involving black bloggers... Black bloggers are excluded & marginalized enough as is.

Who in the hell are they to even know or decide who the good Black bloggers are? That organization knows little about Black bloggers... and I doubt if they even read "Black blogs"... (from the full spectrum of what is offered). Side note: "Black blog" is usually a term that I don't care for because it paints too small of a box. The term tends to suggest that a blog is limited to certain content, mostly centered on race. I never wanted my blog to be pigeonholed or placed in any one category, because I cover all kinds of issues; issues that transcend race, religion, national boundaries, cultures, and so forth....but for the sake of this commentary I am going with the term.

Is the MBA even familiar with the wide cross section of Black bloggers? Reading LaShawn Barber and Booker Rising does not make anyone an informed reader of Black blogs.
This is why I have called for a professional organization that could represent Black Bloggers, and work in their interests. I have a vision for a Black Bloggers Association...that would be supported by existing minority media groups, or at least an Independent or Progressive Bloggers Association that could do the same function and provide the support that we need. It does not necessarily have to be a race defined or race based group. But I don't have the money or the other resources needed to turn that vision into a reality. But if we could ever get that idea off the ground... we'd be able to tell the MBA to go to Hell. Why is a predominantly White group...that has little to do with the event, deciding which Black Bloggers are allowed in????

Unfortunately, due to the divisions among Black bloggers, I am not too confident that a Black Bloggers group (a professional bloggers organization) would be successful. Based on what I have seen in the Black Blogosphere, I have plenty of reason to doubt that it would be a workable proposition. But I will keep this vision in the back of my mind.

In the meantime, I have to take advantage of the tools I have just as an ordinary blogger. This David and Goliath nature of the media is why blogs are so important. Blogs help to level the playing least to some degree. I have the same opportunity to comment on the event as those who are "credentialed" and "allowed" to attend.


g-e-m2001 said...

I got that e-mail from smiley's people wanting me to promote this debate. i didn't post it because while I am a political junky, my blog isn't about politics.

here is the problem with trying to organize Black bloggers. We focuss on trying to get people to come under a big tent of a single set of ideas. That is not what should bind most of us together. What should draw us together is sharing technology and information from a technical sense and an economies of scale sense.

i think many of the initial efforts at organizing has focussed on ideas. What people should have focussed on was infrastructure. How do I help you build a better blog and reach a larger audience because I think your views as a Black blogger should be part of the public square.

g-e-m2001 said...

I think you should atleast be on the Advisory committee for blogging while brown,.

african american political pundit said...

Angry Independent,

Surprise, surprise. I will be attending the event this evening. Not as a credentialed blogger, but as a African American Blogger represnting me as, African American Political Pundit :-)

Candidly, I don't know much about The Media Bloggers Association. They appeared to have made made "safe" choices regarding the blacks invited by there group.

But hey, we shuld not throw rocks from the outside. The AfroSphere should put on it's own Presidential Candidates Forum. I posted this on the AfroSphere Forum:

Can the AfroSphere consider a Presidential Candidates Forum in which AfroSphere Black Political bloggers (and others) can interview the candidates for president?

Maybe AfroSphere Political Bloggers (and others) can establish 20 "secret" questions that we would ask each presidential candidate. Each Afrosphere Political blogger could have exclusive reports with the candidates for their blogs as well. We would have to schedule in advance, have it at and HBCU like Howard University or at the Press Club in Washington, DC.

It would provide an opportnity for the candidates to reach out to black bloggers, black voters, and provide an opporunity for name recognition for the AfroSphere. Thoughts?

I agree with both you and Gem. But let's not talk only about what the Media Bloggers Association should be doing, lets move our own AfroSphere group towards progressive action. If we want to have input in the presidential conversation, time is of the essence.

The Angry Independent said...


I was wondering if you would be going because you are from that neck of the woods.

Well.. Please be a good representative for all of us then.

And give your take on the event.

I will be commenting on it as well...probably by the weekend, once I have had time to review everything.

Regarding the "Afrosphere"... and the interviews.. well, it's an interesting concept. But the issue would be access. I don't think most of us would be granted access to these folks...because we don't work for Joe Blows Major Newspaper, radio or TV station...and most of us are not rich, so that is an idea that I have never given serious thought to.

Denise said...

Sarcasm was honestly not my intent when I shared that link :-) That said, however, I'm glad my post prompted the backstory of MBA's elitism.

The beauty of the blogosphere is that honest, enightening and well-written CONTENT drive a site's relevance and readership, not self-serving, elitist/social networks. FUCK the MBA.

Rest assured that after the debate, I'll be hitting up this spot, the Skeptical Brotha, the HNIC Report, and several others to guide my analysis of tonight's "Safe Negro/Pimpocrat" hustle.

Thanks for all of your efforts. Keep up the good work!

The Angry Independent said...


I agree with you... I have been trying to explain that for months regarding the group that AAPP mentioned.

What you have just described is more along the lines of what I had in mind with a Black Bloggers Association... a group set up as a professional organization with a few broad common goals in mind...coming together on issues that are important when the need arises. The idea would be to combine resources. Not just based on an ideological thing...where everyone must agree to this that and the other...

Unfortunately... Black folks don't get along enough for any serious agreement on a list of objectives. It is difficult to create any kind of synergy.

I will take a look at the Blogging While Brown page... I have not had time to read through the posts yet, But I will get to it.

The Angry Independent said...

Thanks Denise!!!!

I wasn't sure if your comment was sarcasm or not...and I was not thinking along those lines. I was just reminded about my experience with that group and I got the itch to write about it... The list of "official bloggers" gave me a headache...

But yes... your comment definitely inspired this post. That's the best kind of inspiration too... from the readers. I had a whole list of other topics to blog on... but couldn't get to them last night. But this topic came up at random this morning (the best kind).

Please keep commenting... your inspiration is greatly appreciated :)

Symphony said...

"Unfortunately... Black folks don't get along enough for any serious agreement on a list of objectives. It is difficult to create any kind of synergy."

Is it a generalization? Probably, but I've always had this frustration that black folks dont want to share info. We want to hoard it and use it to for our personal advantage.

Having an atmosphere or any other type "sphere" where we all think the same thing doesn't help. Combining resources, not cloning ideas should be the idea. Thats the environment I want to be part of.

The Angry Independent said...

A generalization? I guess you could say that... and based on some of what I have seen.

But we need something eventually...some sort of professional organization.

I just think it's crazy that a white blogging organization was placed in a position of deciding if Bloggers of color would be allowed into a Black hosted event....and not only that... but also deciding WHO would be allowed in. INSANE!!! That should never happen.
That would be like having a group of Black Bloggers deciding which bloggers are allowed access to YearlyKos...or deciding who gets into the next mainstream Prime Time Presidential Debate. That is never going to happen!

We should have our own professional blogging organizations for that.

terrance said...

I couldn't have been more surprised to have gotten an invite, actually. I don't think I'm on anybody's list of elite anything. Plus I've never won an award for blogging. Gotten a couple of nominations here and there, but no awards on this end.

african american political pundit said...

Lets do it! It's time for a national group of Black Political Bloggers.

I'm with you Angry Independent.

Lets get busy, time is of the essence. Lets talk off line about next steps.

african american political pundit said...

Brotha T, i'm glad you will be there. My wife works at Howard that's the only way I'm going to be in attendance. I'm glad you will be there Bro. Hopefully we can meet amongst the crowd.

rikyrah said...

I DEFINITELY think that we should make sure that Black Bloggers, who WE want, will be the ones in attendance in September at Morgan State. No more going through White folks' mess for a BLACK EVENT. THAT is so insulting, I can't even begin.

I honestly think we should be about trying to get tickets to Morgan State.

Who wants to write a letter to Tavis Smiley voicing the displeasure at this?

I'd really like feedback from the Black Bloggers at Howard before we write the letter though.

Symphony said...

Angry Independent, I wasn't saying what you said was a generalization. I was stating what I felt was a generalization. But, I think they are pretty much the same idea nonetheless.

Lester Spence said...

A couple of comments:

1. Whenever I hear "black people don't like each enough to..." or "black people share information..." I throw up a little in my mouth. I don't appreciate whites second guessing the attitudes and behaviors of black people...and I don't appreciate it coming from black people either. You either love black people or you don't.

And if you love black people enough to fight for them, then every time you put pen to pad to say something like "black people don't do X" instead write "I am not doing a good enough job getting black people to do X."

Don't put off your stuff on my people. I try my damndest not to put my stuff on you.

2. I got a credential that I wasn't able to use. Didn't get it from anyone white. Didn't even know white people were involved.

credo said...

I agree with GEM 2001 on building the allaiance among bloggers. I'm glad AAPP is attending. I think AAPP will have to drive the questions and the conference for the Afrosphere. The Afrospear nation has a long list but only a few active members participating.

Leadership is not appointed in the afrospear nation, it is left up to the individual, in hopes of finding likeminded folks or a support system.

Spence says it all..and framed it best when he says this: And if you love black people enough to fight for them, then every time you put pen to pad to say something like "black people don't do X" instead write "I am not doing a good enough job getting black people to do X."

It's a nike thing: just do it!

Symphony said...

And I guess the mother who has her child looking like trash while her nails and weave are tight is because I didn't do enough.

Like I acknowledged, its a generalization but it doesn't mean it doesn't apply to some.

When my young cousin with two kids told me she wanted to go to school and do something in healthcare I took her to the community college with the Nursing program, asked questions for her at admissions about entrance and aid, took her to the bookstore and bought the study guides for her it was because I didn't enough that she still isn't in school.

Sometimes even the things we don't want to admit have some grain of truth to them.

Not loving black people? Please. My mother loves me and she showed it with some tough love. If she didn't I would have sat on my ass having a pity party a hell of a lot longer than I did after I fell on hard times.

Denise said...


For the record, let me say "congrats" to you and the other bloggers selected to attend tonight's forum. It never hurts to get a pat on the back for doing what I assume is a true labor of love.

I look forward to reading your thoughts and analysis of tonight’s forum.

p.s. your son is adorable!

g-e-m2001 said...

We don't blog because we are of one mind. We blog because we have an opinion about SOMETHING that is so strong we felt the need to dedicate the time, talent, and treasure necessary to post everyday. Blogging is is what brings us together.

I agree with Rikyrah. It has become increasingly clear that that we have to develop our own infrastructure irrespective of our opinions and subject matter. Y'all know I don't believe in loyalty oaths!

AI don't worry about the Black folks that won't share. Worry about the ones that will. I've only been blogging a very short time and yes there are the trolls and the flamethrowers and the generally obnoxious, but those folks are dwarfed by the overwhelming number of people who have been positive, helpful and encouraging.

Blogging While Brown