Monday, December 22, 2008

Senate Press Galleries Hate Bloggers

No Bloggers. art Darren Hester/Salon. CC License.
No Bloggers. art Darren Hester/Salon. CC License.

Not Fond of Cripples Either

The Villagers (main stream media) are the beloved of the Senate Press Galleries.

The Senate Press Galleries control access to the actual presidential inauguration.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee gives access to everything else -- balls, the parade, lunches, concerts, all the other events.

The PIC is fine with bloggers. Also working hard to take care of people who are disabled.

The Senate Press Galleries HATE Bloggers with a passion.

A former senior Hill aide has been whispering to me. S/he says the Senate Press Galleries are hostile towards anyone not in the traditional media, vicious towards anyone who tries to point out it's a whole new media world, and determined not to credential bloggers. And that anyone who wants to tell them otherwise can shove it.

Every effort to get the Galleries to see reason has been met with pure spite and venom. They are protecting the people they know -- the major newspapers, wire services, the networks. All of the entities whose market shares are rapidly losing ground to the Internet, the newspapers whom are laying off staff like crazy, at least a third of which will likely not have a physical product two years from now, and a number of which have closed their Washington bureau in the last few months.

These Villagers are whom the Senate Press Galleries are protecting.

The Galleries also don't like cripples. One of the four Senate Press Galleries, on their application, asked specifically if the applicant was disabled. This gave them the ability to weed out all disabled applicants... as happened to me.

This is illegal, a violation of the American's with Disability Act.

Asking on an application if someone is crippled is no different than asking if someone is African-American, Jewish, Gay, a woman, or has children. These questions have nothing to do with the job. But they can be, and often have been, used to discriminate.

The only question relevant to my media credentials request to the inaugural is, is Group News Blog a known and respected blog? As we were one of 120 blogs worldwide credentialed for the Democratic National Convention -- 55 state blogs, 65 national blogs (we were one of the 65 national blogs) -- the answer clearly is "yes." That I am a person with disabilities has NOTHING to do with if I'm a competent journalist.

The Senate Press Galleries broke the law by asking about ADA status on applications for media credentials.

My inside source, a former senior House aide, makes clear the Galleries absolutely HATE bloggers and have no intention of credentialing anyone they're not absolutely forced to credential. They believe they are untouchable and can do what they damn well want. As my source points out and I've confirmed myself elsewhere, this has been an ongoing problem. It's a management problem with the Galleries, from the top down.

I'm still going. The actual inauguration is only one (admittedly historic) event. The PIC respects bloggers; I expect to be credentialed to a number of different events throughout inauguration week. Perhaps even an interview with someone nifty.

Too bad though I won't be up close for the actual inauguration in an ADA seat. Given that I was discriminated against illegally in violation of the American's with Disability Act. (Which if the Bush Administration hadn't politicized the DOJ, I'd file a formal complaint.) No seats for crips though. They knew from the mandatory field on the application I was a gimp and were able to weed me out. That way there's no need to go to the trouble of ADA seating. Besides... I'm a blogger, so I wasn't getting in anyway. Probably not more than a few token bloggers at best.

Because we're not Villagers. Their pals, buddies, and chums.

The Galleries hate us because we bloggers are taking viewers and readers away from their buds. Just as buggy-whip and horse-shoe makers hated people making those new-fangled Model-Ts.

When it's time for cars to come into existence, all the hating in the world can't keep buggy-whip makers in business. New Media is the future of news. I don't know precisely how what we bloggers do will look twenty years from now, just as I'm sure the Model-T people didn't know either.

I do know the Senate Press Galleries are short-sighted fools. They hate the future of news, in a futile attempt to protect the past from passing.