Well, well. Imagine my excitement to find out I’m quoted in Salon.com today, only to see the implication is that I don’t care about minority support of the Dean campaign.
In fairness, I did in fact say what Farhad says I said. And I didn’t qualify my statements, didn’t offer up any other suggestion that I was concerned about the lack of minority representation in the campaign. So… my bad for not going into a bit more detail on the blog.
But there’s an interesting rub: Farhad never contacted me for the story. I wasn’t given a chance to respond to the quote, not given a chance to provide any context. So my statement hangs out there, mainly because it serves the overall hook for the story. I’m not sure whether I think this is a mistake on Farhad’s or Salon.com’s part… just a bit frustrated with the convenience of using the quote and ultimately representing me as the voice of those who believe that this is just an overblown media issue. (For the record: Farhad did contact me when he wrote Blogland’s man of the people back in July.)
Two responses to the piece: overall, I’m glad to see so much interest expressed at all levels (both official campaign representatives as well as volunteer supporters) at the needs to expand Dean’s message and reach out to those who might not be “wired.” And had Farhad called me to discuss this article ahead of time, I could have pointed out that I am in fact one of those people: as I mentioned last week, I went and spoke to a Seniors Center a couple weeks ago to discuss Howard Dean; not one person in the room had ever used e-mail. And this weekend, I’ll be fliering at the Mexican Heritage Festival in West Chicago, IL, as well as marching in the parade to help spread Dean’s message (with bi-lingual fliers, by the way) to groups that haven’t had strong representation at our local MeetUps and candidate events.
This is an important issue. Do I think the press is blowing it out of proportion? Absolutely. (Where are the articles about Graham’s lack of minority interest? Edwards? Lieberman’s? Answer: there aren’t any, because they’re not attracting anywhere near the crowds Dean is.) But do I think the campaign needs to aggressively go after these constituencies early? Without question.
The ultimate message of Farhad’s article is that the campaign is responding to this challenge just like it does many others: by relying on the decentralized legions of supporters who are already providing the momentum to this campaign. And I’m confident that in the next few months those legions will be quite a bit more colorfol. And that will be a good thing.