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Blackballed From The Republican National Convention

Written By : John Hawkins
September 1, 2008

This week, the Republican National Convention is kicking off and there are going to be almost 200 bloggers attending. However, I’m not going to be one of them. That’s not because I didn’t put in an application, it’s because they didn’t want me there. My application for media credentials was not approved.

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That’s despite the fact that…

* Right Wing News is one of the 15 biggest conservative blogs.
* I was actually invited to attend in 2004.
* I founded Rightroots in 2006 and, along with the help of a crew of other bloggers AND the RNC, I helped raise almost $300k for Republican candidates in 2006.
* Right Wing News is one of the websites permalinked on the Republican National Committee’s Blog.

So, how did this come to pass? There’s no way to know for sure, but here’s how it played out: a while back, after a number of my friends had their applications accepted and I still hadn’t heard anything, I talked to one of my sources at the RNC and asked him/her to find out what was going on. I’m not allowed to give you too many details, but the long and short of it was that, “yes,” they did have my application, and, “no,” it was not approved.

I never got a real explanation beyond that and they didn’t give me the courtesy of sending me an official rejection notice (My guess is that they were hoping to avoid a post like this one) — but I can assure you that it isn’t happenstance that I didn’t get in.

Not only were there liberal blogs approved, I know someone with a blog that draws 200 readers a day that got the nod. Another person I know, with a blog a fraction of the size of RWN, actually had a friend at the RNC offer to get him into the convention a few weeks ago, despite the fact that he hadn’t even put in an application. So, pretty clearly, if I haven’t been approved, someone at the RNC or the McCain campaign doesn’t want me at the convention.

My best guess as to why I’m not being allowed to go to the RNC is a post I wrote back in March called, “Why I Will No Longer Support John McCain For President.” The piece savagely denounced McCain for his breathtakingly dishonest flip-flop over illegal immigration, was widely linked, and a source of mine inside the campaign told me they were very aware of it.

Of course, it also wouldn’t surprise me if there were some hard feelings over at the Republican National Committee because of some of the things I’ve written; so it’s possible someone over there put the kibosh on me.

There was the time I did a short interview with RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, thought his answers to 4 out of the 5 questions I asked him weren’t very good, and only ran the answer to one question. I’ve also criticized them for supporting RINOs in the primaries, for refusing to try to even the playing field for conservatives in the presidential primaries, and for generally moving backwards since Ken Mehlman left.

Whatever the case may be, it’s probably a blessing in disguise that I wasn’t allowed to attend. It would have been a long holiday week-end flight to Minnesota from the East Coast, it’s expensive to attend (Hotel and airfare aren’t cheap) and the convention is now being interrupted by Gustav. That’s a lot of hassle to go through just to do some smoozing and to write up a few stories that dozens of other bloggers and old media types will probably also be covering.

So, whether the McCain campaign or some staff weenie at the Republican National Convention decided I wasn’t enough of a team player to be allowed at the convention, they probably did me a favor.

PS: Even though I’m not allowed to attend the convention, the show must go on, so I talked my buddy Skye from Midnight Blue into posting her coverage on RWN.

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