Steve G.

LP refuses LFV press credentials for convention

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Protest on May 17, 2008 at 12:40 am

Yesterday, I contacted the Libertarian Party in order to get press credentials for one of our contributors. That contributor will be attending the convention, at no cost to the LP, and reporting on it for Last Free Voice. Today, when I had not yet received a response, I called the LP. I explained why I was calling, and was told that they would look for the email and respond.

I received an email response from Andrew Davis, asking me for the contributor’s name, email address, and telephone number, which I immediately provided. Shortly thereafter, I received a second response from Andrew, which stated

I’m very sorry, but after review, we cannot approve your request.

How very strange that one minute all he needs is the contributor’s information, and the next minute, credentials are being denied.

I responded by email, asking Andrew why the request had been denied and pointing out that at least one other blog had already received press credentials. He (not surprisingly) did not respond.

Eventually I called the LP again, at which time I was told by Andrew that, in his opinion, LFV does not get sufficient traffic to be granted press credentials. However, he admitted that they have granted credentials to other blogs (which is something I already knew). In fact, he was kind of rude about it, which only confirmed in my mind that there is far more to that decision than he would have me believe.

Coincidentally, LFV happens to be one of the very few blogs which regularly does real journalism on libertarian issues. Of course, part of that real journalism included exposing Bob Barr’s support of many pro-war, pro-torture Republican candidates while sitting on the LNC; as well as the fact that his PAC spends almost all its money on “expenses”, with only a very small percentage being donated to candidates.

Did the LP deny credentials because we don’t get enough traffic, as Andrew claimed; or did they deny credentials in an attempt to control and/or punish us after we exposed Bob Barr?

I know what I believe. You can come to your own conclusions.

UPDATE:  I have done my own research, and in only minutes discovered that Last Free Voice is hands-down the most popular site on the internet for covering the Libertarian Convention, appearing multiple times in the top ten Google search results for “Libertarian Convention”, as well as being featured repeatedly on WordPress for covering both the Libertarian Convention, as well as the Libertarian Party.  That being the case, our potential audience is in the millions on any given day.

You’ll have to come up with a better excuse, Andrew, since the one you gave does not even begin to hold water.

  1. Very interesting that only upon receiving the name, address, and phone number — MINE — were the credentials declined.

    ENM, if you want LFV to get any respect, you’ll have to become a neocon and use the site to participate in virtual gang rapes. Oh, and working to nominate a baby-butchering, homophobic, drug warring neocon wouldn’t hurt either.

    Also, take lots of suggestive pictures of yourself with cigars.

    Freud would have a field day with S.G.

  2. Posted directly on TPW about this issue

    Later tonight I will post on my own blog.

    I usually disagree with what GE writes, but I’ll be damned if I will let him be muzzled without protest.

  3. What, should the LP allow every dip-shit with a blogger account into the convention for free?

  4. Why not?

    And if there are specific requirements to be “big” enough, why not post them for everybody to see?

  5. Nobody can predict how much interest from the press there will be in advance. Turns out there’s a lot this time around.

    What do you expect:
    Qualifications: do you have a blogger account? (Which is free)
    Answer: Yes
    Okay, you get in free!

    Nut up and by a convention package if you care so much about sharing your wisdom with the internet world.

  6. Did anyone say we asked to get in for free, Wes? No, I specifically said

    “The contributor will be attending the convention, at no cost to the LP, and reporting on it for Last Free Voice”.

    Our contributor is paying his own way. We asked for nothing to be free, and expected nothing to be free. What part of that do you not understand?

  7. G.E. understands supply and demand.

  8. Come to the Texas Convention for free if you’d like. I’m writing the letter I’m about to send out right now. Here’s an excerpt:

    “It’s free to attend the main business sessions if space allows. However, the Reception, Lunch and Dinner Banquets as well as the Workshops require purchase of an appropriate package.

    It’s the hotel room purchases and meal purchases that cover the cost of the convention space. Without enough meal and room purchases, our party will have to pay a supplemental fee for the convention space.”

    http://lptexas.org/convention2008.shtml

  9. Wes – I do understand supply and demand, and I do understand that not everyone with a “blogger account” (nor in this case, Word Press) should be able to “get in free.”

    I wasn’t asking to “get in free.” I have a convention package.

    The real issue here is that LFV’s press credentials were declined only after it was revealed that I was the one to be utilizing them. I wouldn’t think the neocons at the LNC would know who I am, but the refusal was prompt as soon as my name was dropped.

    Meanwhile, ThirdPartyWatch gets credentials. Is the gulf between the two blogs THAT large, especially when considering LFV is a libertarian-only blog?

    People can draw their own conclusions. The facts are that TPW is owned by a Barr lackey. Barr lackeys control the LNC. LFV has been critical of Barr, and I have been as well. The fact is that LFV was being given consideration for press credentials and was asked to provide my name and information. As soon as ENM did this, her request was promptly refused.

    Those are the facts. Maybe there’s nothing to it. Maybe there was nothing to the anti-Ruwart press release. Maybe there was nothing to the smears started and propagated by Stephen Gordon’s TPW. Maybe it’s all just coincidental. Or maybe not.

  10. Why would anyone want to attend a state convention being held after the national convention?

  11. For starters, can someone get Tom Knapp to respond here? He’s usually better at conveying what I think I’m trying to say than I am at saying it myself, even if he puts a dig or two against me in the process.

    In the absence of someone putting words into my mouth that I can’t find for myself, I’ll do my best.

    I think there’s a concern that some people try to free-ride into the convention without paying their way. I support credentialed delegates getting in without a fee, but when it comes to non-delegates and press people, some standards must apply unless we’re to let anyone in for free.

    At this point, I must admit I don’t know what benefits a “press credential” grants to someone who purchases a convention package and isn’t or is a delegate.

    I am aware of one person from Texas who wanted to get into the convention based on a weak claim that he’d be writing something for a newsletter.

  12. ElfninosMom asks:

    Why would anyone want to attend a state convention being held after the national convention?

    Wes responds:

    I’ll bet you $200 the Libertarian Party of Texas Convention has more attendees than any other LP state convention. Before I tell you why, how about you suggest some reasons or disagree?

    Separately, I agree with many of the comments from I read from you and G.E. More familiar with G.E.’s than yours.

  13. “How very strange that one minute all he needs is the contributor’s information, and the next minute, credentials are being denied.

    I responded by email, asking Andrew why the request had been denied and pointing out that at least one other blog had already received press credentials. He (not surprisingly) did not respond.

    Eventually I called the LP again, at which time I was told by Andrew that, in his opinion, LFV does not get sufficient traffic to be granted press credentials. However, he admitted that they have granted credentials to other blogs (which is something I already knew). In fact, he was kind of rude about it, which only confirmed in my mind that there is far more to that decision than he would have me believe.”

    This is a bunch of crap. There is no damn reason they couldn’t have issued you a press pass.

  14. As far as the Mary Ruwart smear, I was against that and Shane Cory is gone probably partly because of that.

    As far an alleged Neo-con takeover, if that’s happening, blame the anti-Neo-cons who fail to show up:

    http://wesbenedictforlnc.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html

  15. I posted another comment, but it didn’t appear. That almost never happens to me at TPW, which, for the record, I think long ago became the Libertarian Jerry Springer blog.

  16. That’s very strange, Wes. I just checked, and it did not get caught in moderation queue. Either way, I apologize for the inconvenience.

    I have a regular problem with my comments not appearing on TPW. I’m not sure exactly what happens to them when that occurs, but they are mysteriously never seen again.

    I’m not going to say anything negative about TPW, but I will note that I chuckled at your characterization. 😉

  17. Wes,

    GE is a delegate. I don’t know what level of convention “package” he bought, but he did buy one.

    Press credentials get those who hold them into more events than the lowest levels of delegate packages, on the presumption that they’re there to cover stuff. They also get those who hold them access to the “media room,” a set-aside area where journalists can store their computers with reasonable assurance that the computers won’t walk away, etc. and where candidates, the party, etc. will post notice of events the press may want to cover.

    So far as I know, I’m going to the convention on TPW press credentials. If I’m wrong and they’ve been denied, I may buy a package or I may not (I’m usually more for grabbing a burger than I am for attending banquets and such, and frankly I expect most of my reportage to be from the floor or from non-“official events.”

    Look … I’m 110% on GE’s and LFV’s side here, unless I see real evidence that the media room is already overbooked with press that had already requested credentials, etc.

    I don’t think that GE is seeking press credentials so that he can raid the open bar at one of the banquets or maybe doggy bag some prime rib (and if that was the case, I’d side with LPHQ in yanking those press credentials as soon as it became apparent).

    I think he’s asking for them because he blogs at a genuine libertarian/LP-oriented site that may have a small readership but also has some stature and reaches a very targeted audience with an intense interest in what happens in Denver. Maybe LPHQ thinks LFV is unfriendly, but if so this is just a way to make them MORE unfriendly.

    Dark conspiracies? Vetting for Barr-friendliness? Hey, I don’t think anyone regards me as especially Barr-friendly the last few weeks, but Gordon applied for the credentials for me and so far as I know the application was accepted. So I discount that explanation, without writing it off entirely.

    I think it’s more likely that LPHQ is just not … how do I put this nicely? … thinking clearly. Media room overcrowded? When I was in the Marine Corps, the proper answer to the question “how many Marines does a five ton truck hold?” was “one more.” Crowded rooms sort themselves out. Reporters who abuse their press credentials can be stripped of sad credentials. So I think LPHQ would have been smarter to say “yeah, pick up your lanyard and badge at the desk, GE.” He’s going to be there. He’s going to be blogging from there. Does LPHQ want him happy or annoyed? Granted, GE is a reasonably balanced guy and will take it in stride, but c’mon. Ease up.

    But I could be wrong. It’s happened before.

  18. Tom,

    Thanks for sharing your insight. I don’t know if I agree with you or not–that I know for sure.

  19. Betting money is WAR’s area, not mine. That being said, I don’t doubt you have a lot of attendees, simply because there are a lot of libertarians in Texas.

    However, I don’t live in Texas and don’t even have an interest in visiting, so I would have no interest in attending your convention unless there were something important going on which would impact me directly. For example, many of the other states had debates between the presidential candidates; whereas the nominee will be chosen before your debate, so there will be no such debate.

    Now perhaps you can tell me why I should attend.

    Insofar as the reason for having press credentials, normally national conventions during a presidential election year have numerous press conferences, wherein members of the press can ask questions of candidates and party officials. Without press credentials, one cannot attend those conferences.

  20. “I have a regular problem with my comments not appearing on TPW. I’m not sure exactly what happens to them when that occurs, but they are mysteriously never seen again.”

    I’ve had the same problem at Third Party Watch. I wonder if it is censorship.

  21. Organizing a convention is lots of work. Just making it happen without too many problems is a good thing.

    In case you haven’t noticed, the Libertarian Party is a fragile organization. The executive director just quit. During the 2004 election cycle, the National LP was in near chaos with database problems and little or no LP literature to provide.

    Take a look at the Texas LP back then: http://wesbenedictforlnc.blogspot.com/2006/07/texas-two-step-turnaround-2.html

    Our National convention is next week and what I think we need are people who are die-hard supporters of the party willing to let a mishap or two slide, and rather than stand ready to create a fuss, help smooth things over by being a team player.

    I’m not saying support a candidate you don’t support, or a platform or by-laws proposal you don’t support. I’m just saying respect the fact that our party is what it is, and the people organizing the convention are who they are, and cut them some slack in this critical period.

  22. If G.E. has bought a “convention package”, I don’t see what the big deal is about the press credentials. Unless people here believe that G.E. should be given access to areas of the convention that weren’t included in his package, in which case, I’m not interested in subsidizing his trip.

    I paid for a package which fits my needs. Why should anyone else be any different?

  23. I’ve had the same problem at Third Party Watch. I wonder if it is censorship.

    Despite policy differences, anyone who understands the LP knows that Steve Gordon is a man of integrity. You may disagree with him on certain issues, but Steve runs a straight organization and has as much integrity as anyone in the LP.

  24. My thoughts exactly Jeff, you beat me to it. Steve has done more for the LP over the past few years than most people who “bitch” about Steve Gordon has ever done for the party.

    Back to subject of this post…

    The LP is in SHAMBLES right now. Doesn’t Andrew realize this? Denying a POPULAR Libertarian Blog a press credential is simply bad for business. Not real certain how Andrew knows how many hits this blog gets, so thats not the reason. That was just the first thing that popped into his head.

    The Party is turning into a complete joke and very few “in power” seem to care.

  25. The Libertarian Party has been a joke for some time. I stopped being a member after that kook and huckster Badnarik became the presidential candidate in ’04 and it’s only gotten worse from there I’m sorry to say. It’s already hard enough to have a real effect on politics in a 3rd party before running things as poorly as the LP does, and their incompetency makes ALL libertarians look bad and the ideas seem crazy and marginalized.

    Honestly, I wish the party would disband and any candidates under that banner would run as independents. Then people like Bob Barr would have to put their money where their mouth is and SHOW US that they support libertarianism and libertarians.

    I thought to myself that Ron Paul running as the candidate again might be able to save the party, but it’s clear that he realized before I did the hopelessness of THAT matter – how could he align itself with an organization that champions Bob Barr?

  26. Wartman isn’t interested in “subsidizing” me, but subsidizing TPW and other blogs. Way to stick up for the blog for which you write. I don’t want your subsidy. I wanted to cover the convention for LFV. I did not buy a presidential election package because I’m working for a campaign, and I might be needed to do things behind the scenes during some of the “presidential-level” events.

    Fact: ENM asked for press credentials. The LP said “give me the name of your correspondent.” She gave them my name. They said “no.”

    Take your subsidy and shove up your ass.

  27. Jeff: How, exactly, are you “subsidizing” GE since it costs the LP nothing to give him the credentials, and since it costs you nothing to participate on LFV? The LP will have a room set up for laptops and event notifications, which they would still have whether he was there or not. They will have any press conferences, whether he was there or not.

    We are not asking to be subsidized, by you, the LP, or anyone else. We are asking only for the respect which LFV has earned, by doing real libertarian journalism rather than merely posting regurgitated pablum.

  28. GE,

    We are getting the most media coverage of any convention at this point, and I’d much rather see national give out additional passes to reporters that will bring additional coverage to the Party who’d typically not already be covering the event.

    You are already attending the convention and have a delegate pass that will let you blog all of the important business stuff. Do you need more access? What are you missing that I’m overlooking?

  29. I personally wouldn’t be quick to assume that TPW is censoring people. After all, one of Wes’s comments to LFV disappeared last night, and I looked everywhere for it but couldn’t find it. I still have no idea what happened to it.

  30. I did not buy a presidential election package because I’m working for a campaign, and I might be needed to do things behind the scenes during some of the “presidential-level” events.

    Neither did I. I purchased a package to suit my needs. Why don’t you do the same. I’m not seeing where the press credential is such a big thing if you’ve bought a package which suits your needs, unless you are just looking for access to areas of the convention which you did not pay for.

  31. Yes, asshole, I am looking for a package that goes beyond my needs and suits the needs of LFV. That’s what press credentials are for. People who write for neocon, Barr-backing blogs got them. LFV did not.

  32. That message was to Wartman, not Hardy.

    Hardy – I don’t know. I have just the $99 package because I’m working for one of the campaigns. But I thought I might also try to do some reporting for LFV, and since I knew (a) TPW reporter(s) was(/were) getting press credentials to allow them in to COVER events that exceeded their package’s allowances, I thought I might do the same for LFV. I’m not trying to score free food. I was trying to due some reporting for one of the primary independent libertarian political blogs. But the neocon LNC is only granting press packages to neocon blogs, and/or those owned by people who work for the neocon candidate(s) in the race.

    My heart will go on.

    Honestly, I could hardly care less. I don’t know how much I would have been able to do for LFV, given my other commitments. The neocon LNC denied LFV, and it would seem, me in particular. (I’m not egomaniacal enough to think the neocon LNCers should know who I am, but the refusal was prompt when my name was mentioned so…). I was angry at the disrespect shown to LFV and shown to non-neocon independent political blogging in general first, but now I’m mostly angry at the assertion of my “colleague,” the odious Jeff Wartman, that this was somehow a plot for me to scam welfare from him. Now that the air has been cleared, I wish the issue would just go away.

  33. Jeff Wartman: WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DESTROY ME???🙂

  34. I think that this is a bit crazy, whether you love G.E. or dislike him he is paying airfare or driving all the way to Denver on his own and he has purchased a package and has provided for his own lodging. I’m for certain that a true “freeloader” would not have gone to all this trouble for some filet, prime rib or open bar. I know he is a very capable writer and I will look forward to reading whatever he shares from the convention.

  35. GE shows a complete lack of reading comprehension regarding his claim I somehow “support” TPW. Anyone with a simple education can plainly see that anything regarding other blogs is absent from my comments.

    Calling the LNC “neocon” just shows how incredibly naïve and uneducated you are about our movement.

  36. Well Jeff, I’ve been involved with the LP a lot longer than GE and it is my opinion that GE is dead on when he refers to “neocons” in our party. If you’re not seeing it, open your eyes a bit.

    GE is only saying the same things I’ve said for two years now. Our party is slowly becoming “republican light”. Feel free to live in denial but its slowly happening. Started at the local level and has gradually moved its way up.

    Very, very sad.

    There’s a reason I decided to run in a non-partisan race this November. Instead of running libertarians who have served the party with a ton of passion over the years, some locals are begging republicans who couldn’t “cut it” in previous elections and basically handing them ballot places.

  37. Jason Gatties – That’s the direction Wartman the Destroyer wants the party to go in. He’s made it very clear.

  38. I should make it clear that many locals are attempting to get “republicans” to seek the LP ballot line. This is going on everywhere. I wasn’t speaking of my local. We have completely different issues.

    Either way, it still makes me sick.

  39. […] on “LFV denied convention press credentials” Today, only one day after LFV was denied press credentials for the Libertarian Convention, I discovered that Last Free Voice is the “Featured Blog” on WordPress for the […]

  40. Wes, your long-lost post finally showed up in the spam filter. Where it was between then and now, I have no idea. I checked the spam filter when you brought it to my attention, and it wasn’t there then. I checked again yesterday, and it still wasn’t there. Then today, it mysteriously appeared in the spam filter. Very strange.

    Again, I apologize for the inconvenience.

  41. […] me make it clear: This was not LPHQ denying the credentials (as it did, for whatever reason, with Last Free Voice blogger GE Smith), it was the publication which I had […]

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