President Obama stopped by a “black online summit” at the White House Monday as part of an outreach to African American journalists and bloggers before the midterm elections, an effort that includes the Democratic National Committee spending what it calls an unprecedented $3 million to reach the most loyal part of Obama’s base, African American voters.
“I thought the meeting was great in that it showed that President Obama and his administration are taking black new media and our growing influence seriously,” David A. Wilson, managing editor of theGrio.com, told Journal-isms via e-mail.
“They outlined how the administration’s policies have had a positive effect on the African-American community and they invited us to make suggestions on how they could work better with us and provide us with more access to the White House.
“I also thought the summit provided a great opportunity for all of us leading the charge in [the] black new media movement to get together in a way that I haven’t seen since we started theGrio last year.”
However, Leutisha Stills, who blogs at Jack & Jill Politics, cautioned, “The summit was a good one and very comprehensive, but we made it known that if we really have ‘influence,’ we are going to test drive it and see how many more invites we get from the White House.”
The Columbus Day session lasted from 9:15 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett present along with specialists from various parts of the administration, including the first lady’s office. Among the 20 African Americans working on the Web were representatives of theRoot.com, Black Entertainment Television, Essence, Jack & Jill Politics, City Limits, Concrete Loop, AOL Black Voices, Black America Web and even the gossipy MediaTakeOut.
Monday’s session is to be followed Friday by a presidential meeting with 10 members of the Trotter Group of African American columnists. Moreover, six or seven African American bloggers were credentialed for Obama’s rally in Philadelphia last Sunday, although invitations were extended to about 20.
“As Obama has steadily increased his outreach to African American voters over the past month, with interviews and campaign stops targeted at the black community — ‘our community,‘ as the president likes to say — he has sent a clear signal that this election is about him and his record,” Carol E. Lee and Abby Phillip wrote for Politico.