Recently, an article at Harvard’s Neiman Journalism Lab on the viability of gay news sites has prompted the LGBT news media industry to do some self-examination. Award-winning veteran journalist Karen Ocamb explores the rise of the LGBT media in the 80s and examines its mainstreaming — and how its future affects us all.
Iâ€™m not an advertising exec so I canâ€™t speak to the â€œunique set of problemsâ€ that might exist for LGBT sales people and the companies, corporations and non-profits with which they must negotiate for revenue.
That said, I think the Neiman article,Â â€œHow niche is too niche? The case of gay news blogs,”Â raises an important on-going issue: as the LGBT movement for civil rights matures, how â€œqueerâ€ do most LGBTs want to be? This is the old argument between sexual outlaws and assimilationists, between the identifiable â€œthird sexâ€ minority Harry Hay described in the 1950s and the more mainstream â€œweâ€™re just like you, only gayâ€ crowd.
Ironically, from my perspective, the LGBT community first caught the attention of marketers during the AIDS crisis. Gay magazines such as “Frontiers,” where I am now the news editor, flourished because of the sex ads in the back that allowed terrified gay people to â€œmeetâ€ each other over the phone. Alternative publications such as the LA Weekly at first decried these ads â€“ and then mimicked them once they recognized the revenue the ads produced.
These were the precursors to the online â€œpersonalsâ€ that helped sites such as Gay.com become popular and appear to be extraordinary moneymakers.
Meanwhile, in 1991, presidential candidate Bill Clinton specifically reached out to gays and gays promised â€“ and did raise early money for his campaign. Politicos took notice. AIDS Project Los Angeles had been bringing in huge stars like Elizabeth Taylor to their events when gay Hollywood decided to turn to civil rights, with entertainment attorney Alan Hergott and manger Barry Krost hosting an historic fundraiser for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. Thanks to efforts by in-house attorney Elizabeth Birch, Apple Computers started offering domestic partnership benefits â€“ starting a domino effect of in-house personnel policy changes among other Fortune 500 companies.
This prompted those companies to want to target the gay community as a niche and gay marketers used the trope of gays as loyal customers with disposable incomes to reach out to other companies like Volvo and Capital One with gay celebrity spokespeople like tennis pro Martina Navratilova. Even the publishing world â€“ especially St. Martinâ€™s Press – created a gay niche. It was all the rage.
But America changed in 2000, becoming more conservative with George W. Bush and the niche became unsustainable. There was great excitement when the online â€œstarâ€ PlanetOut became the first LGBT IPO on Wall StreetÂ only to crash and burn and became absorbed with great debt into the Here Networks.
Now we worry about the financial fate of anything LGBT specific. Frontiers magazine, founded in 1982, merged with IN LA magazine a while ago and is holding its own in Southern California. As with most publications, we have an online siteÂ that also has a blog where I post news stories, as do the other editors and writers. But I am exhausted working on major news features for the magazine and blogging for both Frontiers and my own personal blog, LGBT POV.
I would not be able to pay the rent if I only blogged at LGBT POV. I have Google AdSense â€“ but frankly, the ads are whatever Google sends down the pike â€“ including ads for Rand Paulâ€™s tax plan. I have two friends who volunteer to help me and weâ€™ve blocked some of the more atrocious ads. But for the most part, the ads only bring in â€œpennies.â€ Like other bloggers, I have seriously considered crashing LGBT POV because I am so frustrated at not having the time to do the kinds of pieces I want to do â€“ which is why I started the blog – while also covering news and writing for my main job and blogging there, as well. Â Letâ€™s just say I carry a packet of Low Dose Aspirin wherever I go.
But I feel as if weâ€™re at the beginning of another turning point. Look at the culture â€“ people love Ellen, Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Lynch,Â GleeÂ andÂ Modern Family.Â Itâ€™s as if the screwed up political world is emblematic of the farthest (letâ€™s hope) the Farthest Right can go and people are getting fed up with hate. So whether weâ€™re campy Freedom of Expression sexual outlaws or transgender dancers or the neighbors with a kid next door, weâ€™re becoming more and more part of the culture and that gay â€œnicheâ€ advertising will be as unceremonious as having a woman doing a voice over or an African American in a TV ad. And that may mean that we see more mainstream advertising on LGBT blogs or LGBT blogs being smaller and self-financed or absorbed into something bigger or big ventures adding something LGBT as Huffington Post just did with Gay VoicesÂ which is way more cost-effective than the St. Martins Book experiment.
Either way, nothing will extinguish the LGBT imprint.
Karen Ocamb, who is both the news editor atÂ Frontiers InÂ LA, the largestÂ LGBTÂ publication in Southern California, and editor of her own site,Â LGBTÂ |Â POV,Â is an award-winning journalist with over 37 years of experience spanning print, broadcast and online media. Her work has appeared inÂ theÂ Los Angeles Times,Â Los Angeles Magazine,Â The Advocate,The Hollywood Reporter,Â and other publications. Ocamb has also served as news manager and producer at Gaywired.com; was LA news editor for theÂ San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times; and was a regular columnist forÂ GenreÂ magazine and contributor to theÂ Bay Area Reporter.Â
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‘Apparently You’ll Never Believe Us’: House Republican Melts Down After Reporter Questions His ‘Evidence’ Against Biden
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) became defensive and accusatory after repeatedly being unable to answer a reporter’s questions in a press conference Wednesday, held to announce what House Republicans claim is “evidence” against President Joe Biden.
A shortened version of the video posted by the news organization Heartland Signal went viral, garnering nearly one million views in under three hours on the social media platform X.
“Mr. Chairman, question about the timing of all of this,” began an NBC News reporter identified by Mediaite as Ryan Nobles. “You’re talking about a two-tiered system of justice. If I’m not mistaken, on August 7, 2020 Bill Barr was the attorney general and Donald Trump was the president, so explain to me where the two-tiered system of justice comes into play. And then the WhatsApp message you have, I believe, is dated June 6, 2017. Joe Biden is not vice president or even a candidate for president at that time. So where is the direct connection to some sort of criminal malfeasance within these two pieces of evidence?”
Chairman Smith could not only not answer any part of those questions, he appeared to forget a portion of them.
“Well, I think the facts speak for themselves,” Smith replied. “There’s over 700 pages of examples of, where people should be very concerned, when you’re talking about um, ah, – what was your first question?”
Smith went on to say, “It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House,” after being reminded them President at that time was Donald Trump. “We need to make sure that the Department of Justice works for all people and doesn’t treat those who are politically connected or wealthy much differently. And unfortunately, we have several examples that came forward by the two IRS whistleblowers, that proves that people are treated differently because they’re politically connected.”
“Are you suggesting that Joe Biden being the president now, is unfairly treating Donald Trump in his indictment?” Nobles asked.
Again, Smith did not answer the question.
“What I’m talking about is the 700 pages that we have before us, which is all the information that came from the IRS whistleblowers, and that’s what we’re releasing right now,” Smith replied, again not answering Nobles’ question. “And I’ll tell you, I would encourage everyone in this room to look at those 700 pages. If you think it’s okay, with what’s in it, then we live on two different planets.”
“Can you explain the timing of the August 6 WhatsApp message? Why is that evidence of some wrongdoing?” Nobles continued..
“I’m not an expert on the timeline,” Smith admitted, before pivoting to say, “I would love to have President Biden and his family to tell us about all the timelines, because it’s really, really unfortunate that we see so many meetings and so many phone calls that involved around official activity that the Vice President has been participating in, and then big sums of money follows later –”
“But he’s not the president or the vice president at that time. Where, where’s the wrongdoing? He wasn’t even a candidate for president,” Nobles pointed out.
“He was a candidate – ” Smith claimed.
“On August 6 –” Nobles began before Smith interrupted him.
“So apparently apparent – what source are you with?” Chairman Smith asked Noble.
“I’m with NBC,” the reporter replied.
“So apparently, you’ll never believe us,” Smith charged.
“I’m asking you a very direct question,” Nobles explained. “You presented a piece of evidence that you say came on August 6, 2017, that demonstrates that Joe Biden was using political influence to help his son. He wasn’t a political figure at that time. The first WhatsApp message you put up, where yo talk about the brand,” Nobles explained. “I’m completely open minded about this. I’m asking you specifically, how does that demonstrate that there was some sort of political influence being put over him, if at that time, he is not a political – he’s not an elected official?”
“I’m definitely not going to pinpoint one item,” Chairman Smith said defensively.
“You presented it!” Nobles acclaimed. “It was the first thing that you brought up.”
“So apparently, you don’t agree with that. So report that you disagree with it. I’ll take the next question. Yes?” Smith said, refusing to answer any of Nobles’ questions.
Watch below or at this link.
‘Jaw Dropping’: Democratic Senator Slams Tuberville’s ‘Open’ Talk About ‘White Supremacy’
A top Democratic Senator is blasting freshman Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville for his “jaw dropping” and open talk about white supremacy, after the Alabama Republican denigrated President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Senator Tuberville, the Alabama Republican who single-handedly has blocked well over 300 U.S. Military promotions, said the U.S. military is “not an equal opportunity employer,” appearing to imply Biden’s nomination of an accomplished officer was based on the color of his skin, not his impressive achievements and experience.
Air Force General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr., who is Black, will be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after a strong bipartisan 83-11 vote by the U.S. Senate confirming him last week. Sen. Tuberville voted against him, saying Tuesday he had “heard some things that he talked about about race and things that he wanted to mix into the military.”
General Brown is the first African American to head a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. He was one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People of 2020.”
“He is a respected warfighter who will serve America well,” wrote former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson that year, lauding General Brown in his TIME profile. “As the former commander of Pacific Air Forces, he’s highly qualified to deter China and reassure allies in the Indo-Pacific. The suppression of ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria was largely accomplished by local forces on the ground, enabled by air power CQ helped orchestrate.”
“Let me tell you something: Our military is not an equal-opportunity employer,” said Tuberville, falsely, appearing to imply it should not be.
“We’re not looking for different groups, social justice groups,” the Alabama Senator continued, in his Bloomberg News interview (video below), explaining why he voted against Brown’s nomination. “We don’t want to single-handedly destroy our military from within. We all need to be one.”
“I think he’ll do a good job,” Tuberville also said, “but I heard him say a few things that that really didn’t fit with me in terms of making our military better and better. We have things that that we need to do to make sure that that that we can uphold – and we can’t do that without a great, hard strong military.”
“Let me tell you something, our military is not an equal opportunity employer. We’re looking for the best [of] the best, to do whatever. We’re not looking for different groups, social justice groups. We don’t want to single handedly destroy our military from within.”
Asked for specific concerns, Tuberville said General Brown, “came out and said we need we need certain groups, more pilots, certain groups to have an opportunity to be pilots. Listen. I want it to be on merit. I want our military to be the best. I want the best people I don’t care who they are. Men. Women, if that makes any difference, Catholics, Protestants, I want everybody to believe in the one goal that we have in this country for our military is to protect the taxpayers, protect United States of America. Don’t give me this stuff about equal opportunity, because that’s not what this military is.”
“Our military is becoming so political that we’re going to go south when it comes to readiness,” he also warned, despite having been warned repeatedly that his military holds are negatively impacting military readiness, and are expected to do so for years to come.
But as CNBC reported, America’s military “is an equal-opportunity employer, and the Pentagon has an ‘Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.'”
Senator Tuberville has a history of making extremist remarks, so much so that in a rare move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in July delivered a speech on the Senate floor denouncing Tuberville by name, along with his “one-man mission to defend white nationalism.”
Earlier this year Tuberville insisted that white nationalists are simply “Americans,” and said, “I look at a white nationalist as a, as a Trump Republican. That’s what we’re called all the time.”
As NCRM reported in May, those remarks came immediately after an NBC News reporter told Tuberville, “A white nationalist propagates Nazism, a white nationalist could be someone who doesn’t believe that Black and Brown people are equals…”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, criticized Tuberville late Tuesday night, responding to the Alabama Republican’s interview with Bloomberg.
“The way Sen. Tuberville talks so openly about about white supremacy is just jaw dropping,” Sen. Murphy said. “I refuse to allow this to feel normal.”
Watch Tuberville’s remarks below or at this link.
Why did @SenTuberville vote against the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
“I heard some things he talked about, about race and things that he wanted to mix into the military,” he told @BloombergTV. “Our military is not an equal opportunity employer.” pic.twitter.com/avFStO79Af
— David Gura (@davidgura) September 27, 2023
McCarthy Blocks Bipartisan Bill Approved by 77 Senators to Avoid Shutdown as He Moves to Pin the Blame on Democrats
Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy is saying he will not allow the House to take up a compromise bill supported by a large and bipartisan majority of Senators that would allow the federal government to continue operating past the midnight Saturday deadline.
“I don’t see the support in the House,” for the Senate’s proposed continuing resolution, McCarthy said on Wednesday, according to Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman. He also reports that “this is the most explicit he’s been” in saying “he won’t take it up and pass it as is.”
Chad Pergram, the Senior Congressional Correspondent for Fox News reports, “McCarthy says he won’t allow the House to consider the Senate’s stopgap spending bill to avert a gov’t shutdown for 45 days. 77 bipartisan senators supported the package on a test vote last night.”
Earlier Wednesday, inside the House Republican Conference’s meeting, Sherman reported that Speaker McCarthy “said he told” Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “that he cannot take up a bill that funds Ukraine and doesn’t fix the border.”
“In other words,” Sherman adds, “if it wasn’t clear, the CR [continuing resolution] the Senate is taking up is dead on arrival in the House.”
Meanwhile, House Republicans, and especially Speaker McCarthy, are attempting to blame the likely shutdown on Democrats. House Democrats, Senate Democrats and most Senate Republicans have been working to avert a shutdown but Speaker McCarthy’s most extreme members have been pushing to shut down the federal government. Political observers say he could keep the government running by putting together a majority of House Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans to pass a continuing resolution, but would likely lose his Speakership as a result.
“A shutdown would furlough millions of federal employees, leave the military without pay, disrupt air travel and cut off vital safety net services, and it would be politically punishing to lawmakers whose job it is to fund government,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday. “The Republican McCarthy, pushed by a hard-right flank that rejects the deal he made with Biden and is demanding steep spending cuts, showed no interest in the Senate’s bipartisan effort — or the additional money for Ukraine.”
“’I think their priorities are bad,’ he said about the Senate effort.”
Political pundit and journalist Bill Kristol, a Republican who became a Democrat in 2020, Wednesday afternoon pinned the expected, coming shutdown on Speaker McCarthy.
“One man, Kevin McCarthy, is responsible for the looming government shutdown, because he won’t bring to the House floor a funding bill supported by a majority of senators from both parties, the administration, and a majority of House members. It’s the Speaker’s Shutdown.”
Wednesday morning, The Washington Post reported, “Facing a potential government shutdown in four days triggered by House Republicans’ inability to unite to pass spending bills, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is trying out a new strategy: shifting the blame.”
“McCarthy is starting to point fingers at Democrats in a bid to pin a shutdown on disagreements over border security. It’s an attempt to rewrite the record of the past several weeks, during which House Republicans have been unable to pass a short-term bill to prevent a shutdown — even one that includes the border security policies his conference overwhelmingly supports.”
Image via Shutterstock
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