GOP convention bars UpTake citizen journalists

The state GOP convention starts tonight

The state GOP convention starts tonight

Citizen video journalism site TheUptake says it can't get press credentials for the state Republican convention getting under way tonight in Minneapolis, after the Republicans tagged them as a DFL front group.

"GOP Communications Director Mark Drake has even refused press credentials to The UpTake calling the non-partisan nonprofit that has streamed debates, thousands of hours of the legislature and every moment of the Norm Coleman/Al Franken Election Contest trial a "partisan DFL organization," it said on its website today.

That's exactly right, state GOP deputy chair Michael Brodkorb said this morning. And nothing's changed.

TheUptake's request was denied because the party doesn't recognize it as a legitimate news organization.

"Their intent is to disrupt, harass and interfere," Brodkorb said. "They're guilty of journalism malpractice. They need to come clean. They don't disclose who they are."

(Click here to see "who they are.")

The UpTake was also recently barred -- temporarily, it now turns out -- from the state Capitol press room at the request of mainstream media organizations that questioned the organization's journalism bona fides.

The UpTake fought back today against the Republicans by re-posting a video clip of Brodkorb from 2008 in which he says party conventions should be open to all, including partisan bloggers.

"I do believe, and I've said this before on my blog that I do believe that conventions should be open to the opposition and political parties," he says in the clip. "I think Republicans should let Democrat bloggers in and vice versa. From an openness standpoint that's important to do."

Today, Brodkorb pointed out that he was making those comments as a blogger. He also emphasized that in the 2008 interview he said convention organizers were well within their rights to deny press access. (Transcript here.)

The same holds true for the state convention today, he said.

"Are we going to have Democrats there? Of course we are," he said. They'll come into the hall as guests of delegates and be registered. But the party is under no obligation to credential TheUptake as a news organization, anymore than it would credential someone from the left-wing blog DailyKos.

Here's that Brodkorb clip from 2008: