After all the discussion yesterday about the MyDD interview with Brown and their as yet unwillingness to do Meet The Bloggers, I decided to follow up on an email I received from the Brown Campaign Internet Communications Director.
Philip de Vellis had sent me an email just before Thanksgiving letting me know that they were just setting up shop (he had just arrived a day earlier) and one of the first things they were going to do was to reach out to Ohio bloggers and try to resolve some of the tension that had been generated online (he had obviously just seen the Neutralize This! post). Fair enough. Told him hang tight until after the holiday and we’d hook up. I had not heard back up until yesterday when all of this blew up, so I shot him an email.
Philip was kind enough to exchange some emails and finally talk with me on the phone about things…
I had offered Philip a chance to have us record and post a short interview allowing him a chance to give their side of some of the tensions he spoke about in the email, but he declined. We did have a long talk about things and it is clear the goal of the campaign at this point is to not talk about “process issues” and focus on issues that are related to the campaign – stuff that matters to people and not just bloggers.
I am a blogger, though, so it matters to me – and I am not sure how to remove such strategic missteps (blunders in my opinion) from the discussion. How do you send me an email talking about reaching out to Ohio bloggers and then NOT follow that up with the decision to be on Meet The Bloggers? Beats me.
Philip did point out that Cameron from 7 Cent Nickel as well as Chris from Run Brown Run both were invited to join the recent Brown announcement tour, both Ohio blogs.
Then there was the outreach to Bill Callahan and George Nemeth and the MTB crew. I guess things with Bill went better than with George. There are complaints on both sides of rudeness and that is too bad. I told Philip that I think things could easily be cleared up with a scheduled date for an MTB interview. He mentioned time constraints and the fact that Sherrod is also a full-time Congressman. I can appreciate that, but an hour of time spent with prominent bloggers in his own part of the state seems like a no-brainer to me. When asked directly if they were going to do MTB, Philip would not answer. He would not say no. He would not say yes.
What he did say is that it is important to talk with Ohio bloggers, but he didn’t think they needed to talk to everyone and that the conditions had to be right.
I shared with him my concern about the campaign, specific to the strategy as it relates to blogs in Ohio and what I thought needed to be done to rectify it. My feeling is they need to have this MTB thing scheduled. It is a good forum and an important one. You ‘net strategy folks listening?
I will say this, though. I filled out a form on Hackett’s site a while back now and have not heard from anyone in their camp. I’ve invited them to come to Delaware County and talk with likely supporters here. Nada. Another one of my pet peeves. Don’t ask me to fill out a form and then leave me hanging. I’ve not had a press release, email, phone call, blogger only information or event…nothing. So why have a “bloggers” link?
Now I will say that maybe the reason Philip and the Brown campaign is reaching out is to deflect criticism, but at least they are doing it.
I think at this point the MTB thing is going to be put off until things calm down (good luck with that) and that is too bad. The Brown team should have already said yes.
In an attempt to show that Ohio bloggers are not being avoided (at least not ALL of them), I’ll be interviewing Sherrod tomorrow evening. Audio and transcript will be up post haste.
I’ve been told to not ask about blog controversies (just got a note from Philip and he says I can ask whatever I want), but I’m sure I won’t be able to resist either. Still, I’ve got some decent policy only related questions to bring up. The bottom line will be to get over the sniping (I do a TON of it) and get back to issues…but the primary responsibility in that lies with the Brown campaign, not us bloggers and I hope I made that clear to Philip yesterday.