Friday, May 18, 2012

Party Time: Blade Sells 
Journalistic Soul to NGLTF

(NGLTF's Winter Party in Miami will soon enjoy free p.r. from the Blade.)

In the future, I won't waste my time pitching story ideas critical of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to the Washington Blade. The paper's site today heralded their co-opting by the task force, in an announcement indicative of future Blade treatment of the group. Not a single person is quoted from a journalistic watchdog organization or the community weighing in on the myriad ethical challenges of this questionable partnership.

Let's unpack the gushing release:

The Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT newspaper, today announced it has become a National Corporate Partner of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The Blade becomes the sixth National Corporate Partner of NGLTF and joins Grey Goose Vodka, Showtime, Southwest Airlines, Chili’s Restaurants and Wells Fargo as National Corporate Partners. 

That acclaim the paper once enjoyed from some quarters of the community just went down the toilet, along with its independence from a political group it should not be in bed with. Nice of the Blade to give good p.r. to the other corporate sponsors of the task force, for no good reason other than to show how cozy they now are with NGLTF.

“We’re pleased to join in this partnership with the Washington Blade,” said Russell Roybal, deputy executive director of external relations of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “We both have long histories in the LGBT rights movement and are excited about this opportunity to work together.” 

Of course Roybal is happy as a clam, now that his group can count on nothing but glowing reportage on their activities. They may be excited about their collaboration, but readers should not share in their joy.

“As a longtime supporter of the Task Force, I am excited to work with this important organization as a National Corporate Partner,” said Blade publisher Lynne Brown. “The Blade looks forward to furthering our mission of informing the LGBT community while supporting the Task Force’s work for full LGBT equality.” 

Oh, a longtime supporter of a political organization? Makes me question previous reporting by the Blade of their new partner. Another aspect of this deal that stinks.

The Blade will also sponsor the annual Pink & Purple Weekend in Washington, D.C., the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in Atlanta, and the Winter Party Festival in Miami. The Task Force events will be publicized through all of the Blade’s media outlets.

How lovely. The Blade will be promoting the task force's three annual parties. Yes, Making Money, er, Creating Change is one big schmooze-and-cruise event disguised as movement building. It's like the Winter Party, only not held annually in Florida.

The respect and integrity once a hallmark of the Blade is now official over. Finally, can anyone point to a genuine accomplishment or two of deep benefit to the gay community from NGLTF in the past year, five years or decade? Crickets are chirping.

No comments: