So, there’s going to be a National Equality March on Oct. 10-11 in Washington, D.C., but you wouldn’t know it if you only paid attention to the mainstream press. And if you read the LGBT press and citizen journalists, all you would appear to know is what the organizers are putting out in press releases.
Now, it’s nice that there isn’t the usual circular firing squad that the LGBT community sometimes seems famous for, but where is the dissent? Where is the analysis of funding, projections, and numbers? Where is the journalism about the reasoning behind the event? Where are the hard questions for organizers?
One of the more probing pieces on the March–although he ultimately comes out in support of the event–was Kevin Naff’s editorial at the Washington Blade where he lays out the dueling positions on the event.
On one side: Left Coast advocates like Cleve Jones and Dustin Lance Black who are lending their celebrity to help promote the cause. On the other: East Coast lobbyists worried about diverting precious resources from state marriage fights so we can have a party on the National Mall this fall.
The inside-the-Beltway take on the march goes something like this: Those Hollywood gays don’t know how D.C. works — duh, Congress isn’t even in session. President Obama will be relaxing at Camp David that weekend. No one will be here to witness the march. Do they even have a permit?
You can’t just show up at the Mall and start hootin’ and hollerin’. We should all skip D.C. and go to Maine where the real fight is happening. And they shouldn’t even be calling it a “march,” it’ll bloat expectations in the mainstream media; let’s call it a “gathering” instead.
March supporters, meanwhile, like to portray themselves as modern, progressive, tech-savvy 21st century activists disdainful of the “old ways” of doing things. Indeed, the “old ways” haven’t yielded a single LGBT-related federal law in 40 years of trying. Then again, there’s something to be said for knowing your history.
But if you are looking for people asking tough questions about the march, they are hard to find.
Among the endorsers of the event are two of the top LGBT blogs–BelericoProject and Towleroad–and the blogs have given wall-to-wall glowing coverage of the event and its organizers. Except for a few dissenters over broad strategy unrelated to the march itself and the random grousing on Facebook about Andy Towle getting all the exclusives, there is little criticism being voiced in the LGBT media and by LGBT citizen journalists. Activist journalists like Michelangelo Signorile are uniformly writing in support of the march.
Since the mainstream press isn’t going to pay attention to this event until a week before, it is up to the LGBT media and citizen journalists to cover the story. But it can’t be done just by press release stories and editorials by event organizers. When you look in the comment sections of the top LGBT blogs, there is a lot of disagreement. But would you know that from the reporting? Why aren’t there more journalists asking tough questions? Why have all the biggest names in the LGBT media world jumped on-board? And what will they say after the event?