Guest hosting on The Michelangelo Signorile Show this week is the incredible hmmm…jane-of-all-trades, stand-up comedian, writer and co-creator of The Daily Show; the late Air America’s co-founder, program director and one of its on-air personalities, Lizz Winstead. Whew, that was only a small sampling.

She’s a big fan of the Blend and we finally met at this year’s BlogHer (photo at right).

I will be on with her at 3:30; you can listen in on Sirius XM’s OutQ: Sirius 109, XM 98 and on the Sirius XM iPhone app. Get a free seven-day pass or, if you have an iPhone, go to the app store and download Sirius XM for free, for a 7-day trial, and listen on your phone.

She wants to talk about my post from the other day, “Daily Kos diary: ‘Who Are The LGBT Community?’ I ask: how do we address leadership?” I sort of went off on a tangent after pointing people to the DKos diary to discuss the lack of clear leadership, how institutionalized leadership can fail of its own weight, and whether we need to define a unified “LGBT community” in terms of representation. After all, the media thinks of us as our Beltway orgs. The faces, economic circumstances and culture are quite homogeneous when the tired producer pulls out a rolodex card to call for a quote and go on air.


UPDATE: The interview is over, of course, so the bulk of the post is below the fold now.

I just nabbed this pic below from producer Sean Bertollo. It’s Lizz while on the air with me (gee, what did I say – maybe she mentioned Sarah Palin):

Blender Orion45 raised some good points in the comments about leaders that I blanked on while on-air with Lizz. It spurred me to do a Q of the Day:

What people in the LGBT community should be seen as a leaders and quoted by the MSM, or on-air as talking heads who are currently not?

We have discussed the need more women, voices of color, regional diversity and certainly have some economic diversity. For instance, poverty is a LGBT issue, and civil rights affect those with less more profoundly.

Available, low-cost or free media training to create a pool of leadership is sorely lacking. Mike Rogers has had training Joel Silberman do some with attendees at conferences, but we don’t have a speaker’s bureau, or any organization to help the lazy producer’s out. And that’s why Joe is always on the air.

A TV/radio producer doesn’t want to think – they want to know if:

1) You’re available;

2) You have access to an affiliate or studio, or Skype as a last resort;

3) You’re well-versed in the subject at hand;

4) You are actually good on camera/radio and know how to generate a sound bite or get your point across as briefly as possible;

5) You have some kind of bio information for them to gauge your credibility if you’re not affiliated with an organization. The one thing that almost guarantees a call is if you’ve published a book. Seriously. It’s still the marker of gravitas.

That last one is just one reason you won’t see me on the air, since merely being a blogger (unless you have those hallowed connections) is not usually sufficient enough to be a go-to person from the POV of the MSM if they have access to org people. I don’t have time to write a book and blog and work a full time job at the same time. I absolutely cannot fit another project of that magnitude on my plate. And so it goes, right?

But back to MSM access – print journalists have it easier, btw. Most just need to know who to call/email, so it’s a matter of being quotable and again, to work quickly as they will be on to the next story or interviewee in short order.


Also, I wanted to pimp tomorrow’s program because Mike’s broadcasting on a significant topic from the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association conf. (I wish I could be there, but it was one of those hard choices I had to make — not enough in the Blend piggy bank to afford to go to the extremely expensive San Francisco).

Michelangelo Signorile Hosts 20 Years Later: Outing and the Ethics of Reporting on the Sexual Orientation of Public Figures

Tomorrow 2:00 pm ET

Tune in to hear Michelangelo Signorile host and moderate the panel discussion 20 Years Later: Outing and the Ethics of Reporting on the Sexual Orientation of Public Figures live on his daily OutQ show from the 20th Annual National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association media summit and national convention in San Fransisco.

Hear the discussion live with panelists LZ Granderson, columnist for’s Page 2, host of web-based ESPN360 talk show Game Night, and Michael R. Triplett, contributor,, part of the NLGJA Board of Directors and member of the NLGJA Rapid Response Task Force.  (2 hrs)

Rebroadcast: Tomorrow 4:00 pm ET

It happens to almost every “change agent” organization at some point; good leadership seeks challenges to convention to keep adept and nimble in its mission. Poor leaders attempt to stifle or ignore change because of fear of loss of power or access. The strange thing about the latter is that in this mode, the weakness in leadership is quite obvious to the very people an organization is attempting to influence, or change policy or raise money from. That leads to isolation, a defensive posture, and ultimately one is discredited or a leader is toppled.

Of course that doesn’t solve the problem of an organization in distress — that leader is usually replaced by someone breathing the same stale air and nothing fundamentally changes.

That’s what spurs renegade organizations to form because they see the system is broken and too incestuous to change.

I addressed this from a different angle later with “What is ‘holding this President accountable’ – and who determines what that means?”

Obama told us to hold him accountable (do you think he regrets saying that aloud now?), but we’re all apparently struggling with what that means. Obviously, there are plenty of flat-out angry and profane critics, more nuanced ones, and those who fall somewhere in between.

Who is to judge what to take seriously — or dismiss — in terms of criticism of this President?

A good number of self-appointed arbiters of what is appropriate criticism and what is productive or not productive populate the comments and show up on Facebook/Twitter to “set the record straight” all the time. But these people are no more qualified to hold an opinion than anyone else. It’s just that — an opinion. Take it or leave it. Certainly the White House does, even if they have thin skin over there.

The real issue is influence, real and perceived. The fact is there are so many blogs/columns out there — by professional politicos, armchair activists and citizen journalists — and no real way to know who’s reading and being affected by the arguments presented.

That generates fear and paranoia. We’ve seen a lot of that now, haven’t we? Perhaps this is generated by the notion that there are now people of some undetermined influence who really aren’t qualified to be influential, either because they:

1) Don’t have Beltway experience in a professional capacity with a campaign, org or think tank;

2) Lack sufficient gravitas (not a published author/academic, member of the MSM, etc.);

3) Just aren’t part of the DC “A-list” — a known quantity that is well-connected; or

4) Don’t have deep pockets, which gets you into almost any door in DC, regardless of your gravitas rating.

So join us; hopefullly it will be interesting!
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