The other day I wrote about the message at Netroots Nation that should have been highlighted. Its the one that came from Van Jones. But as we all know by now, the "President is just not that into you" panel featuring Dan Choi berating a local activist took center stage. Not far behind was the insulting hit job on White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.
Perhaps because I was at the conference, I feel like I've got some "skin in the game" and so I'm following some of the stories in the back alleys that have surfaced about how that happened. Hamsher is actually the one who gave me some clues on that in a column she wrote about the incident with Choi. She says this:
I hadn’t planned on going to Netroots Nation until a few weeks ago. Dan Choi, Bill McKibben and I had participated in a panel called “What to do when the President’s just not that into you” at the Powershift conference in April, which was oriented towards environmental activism.
In May, Dan decided it would be great to reprise it for Netroots Nation. Not being a fan of summer travel (okay, well, travel period), I said “yes,” thinking it would never happen. The submission and selection process for Netroots Nation panels had long been completed, and I really didn’t think there was a chance to get on the schedule.
Well, never count Dan Choi out. Netroots had a last-minute panel cancellation and suddenly we were on...
I don't for a minute buy the crap about her disaffection with travel. But it is interesting that she uses the excuse that she didn't intend to grace us with her presence here initially. Perhaps there's something to the idea that they were dismissive of following the schedule for submitting a proposal for a panel. Since, as I said in a previous post, a little birdie at the conference told me that she has stacked the panel selection committee with her minions, it comes as no surprise that they found a spot for her.
The folks that I hung out with at the conference were pretty upset about 2 panels that were rejected by the committee. One was going to be about the invisibility of Native Americans in our political discourse that would have featured Native elders from around the country along with Navajo and Meteor Blades from Daily Kos. The other was meant to bring in local activists from the Twin Cities area to highlight their real work on the ground to address issues. Of course the people in charge of the conference were sooooo sorry they couldn't include these panels because there were so many wonderful alternatives and so little time. But somehow they found a way to plug in Hamsher and Choi with their hatefest at the last minute...interesting.
Here's how Hamsher summarized the conference:
If you had told me a year ago that a panel entitled “What to do when the President’s just not that into you” would be a love fest, and White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer would be greeted by booing and hissing, I would have said it was time to put down the crack pipe. But that is pretty much what happened.
Blind, tribalist loyalty to the President was in short supply.
Hmmmm Jane, did you maybe have something to do with that?
The next piece of the puzzle comes from a post by Angry Black Lady (ABL) In it, she tells the story of Matt Osborne who, a year and a half ago, wrote a piece calling Hamsher a ratfucker in the Nixonian tradition. ABL cites Osborne's twitter feed during the conference in which he points out that Hamsher managed to get her partner in crime Arianna to feature a story about her panel prominently at Huffington Post. Of course, that was followed up almost immediately by a story in Politico. And we're off to the races with a theme in the MSM about the conference.
But even more disturbing in Osbornes' twitter feed is him saying that, during the conference, he was offered a paid writing gig in "the movement" (his term), but was told that if he took it, he would have to dial back the criticism of Hamsher. Here are his three posts about that:
Oh, but now that I'm being offered paid work inside the movement I have to "dial back" my criticism of ratfuckers
The reason I must "dial back" is that everyone has something going on w/Jane. But wait, there's more
The word to "dial back" came with FRESH HELL stories of how awful Jane is!
So everyone "has something going on w/ Jane" (I assume that means they're beholden to her for $) and whoever it was that offered a paid gig has "FRESH HELL stories of how awful Jane is!" If Osborne wants to actually start trying to make some money doing this work - he'll have to play it Jane's way and be nice to her.
We've all known for a long time that there's a lot of behind the scenes dealing in the Netroots as folks try to figure out how to make this blogging world financially sustainable. It looks to me like Jane has figured out how to play the game with the power brokers and they're beholden enough to her to feed into her agenda - even though they think she's "awful." She's the ultimate "professional left" the Obama administration was referring to.
With that in mind, I'd suggest that folks who are participating in the netroots need to decide if they want their chains yanked this way by Jane Hamsher. Either find a way to take back the forums or get the hell out and refuse to be a part of the game she's playing.
Oh, and perhaps one other reason why I took all of this so personally. Here's how Hamsher ends her article.
The anonymous trolls who flood social media channels with blind obedience to the White House were almost nowhere to be found at Netroots Nation 2011, while the people who were willing to match their faces to their names don’t seem willing to accept “better than Sarah Palin” as a sufficient response to the problems the country faces right now. It might behoove some enterprising journalists to start asking why these mysterious people who spend all day long cheering the President and attacking his critics on social networking sites apparently don’t want to show their faces.
Yeah, I guess she missed the fact that I was there - and not anonymously. Of course, anyone who doesn't buy into her Obama derangement syndrome is channeling blind obedience. Is it a surprise to anyone that more of us didn't choose to attend because of the hatefest she and her minions dish out on a daily basis? You can find us showing our faces daily doing the work on the ground - be it in our local organizations or with groups like OFA. We even occasionally blog about it...anonymously or otherwise. Careful Jane, those enterprising journalists you want to send to find us just might find a story worth telling.