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OffTheBus On Bittergate: A Roundup of Initial Responses

The Bittergate story has prompted responses from many OffTheBus contributors. They've written on the story and its interpretations but also on the new experience of practicing citizen journalism.
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In the wake of the OffTheBus Mayhill Fowler story that ignited a media storm this weekend over Barack Obama's comments on working-class voters, many of the OffTheBus community contributors-- unpaid volunteers all-- expressed their thoughts on the story and its interpretation across the media landscape. The story prompted some to write directly on the new experience of practicing citizen journalism -- of working, as OffTheBus cofounder Jay Rosen put it, in "the uncharted" territories of contemporary networked news.

Below a list of the work published by the OTB community so far.

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Jay Rosen: "The Uncharted"
As an Obama supporter, I was proud to publish Mayhill Fowler's truthful report, though I recognize that it touched off an ordeal for the campaign, a media storm that isn't over and could hurt Obama's chances.

Marc Cooper: "Inside the... Storm"
Mayhill employs a highly-personalized, reflective narrative style to her unconventional reporting -- an approach that would be, indeed, non-grata, within the official campaign reporting bubble. It violates almost all of the conventions of traditional reporting (though not its ethical code) and that's what makes it all so damn interesting.

Mariangela Anzelone
"I'm a Bitter Middle Class American and Not Afraid to Say It"
As an actual middle-class person from New Jersey, I am bitter. I am bitter about the government's complete lack of regard for my wellbeing. I think Senator Obama was dead on.

Chip Collis
"It's the Con Job, Stupid!"
Two of the three presidential candidates are running a major con job on you right now: It's in their attacks on Obama. He was right about economically disadvantaged and politically sidetracked Pennsylvanians.

Karen Dalton-Beninato
"Memo to the Elite: This Would Be a Good Week to Buy a Television"
My Off the Bus colleague Mayhill Fowler opened a big old can of class debate on Friday with her 6,000 comment-drawing post on Barack Obama.


"A Small Town Response to Obama's Talking 'Off The Bus'"
The media is having a field day over Obama's words. But he lives in Chicago and was talking about sentiments he has heard across the Midwest. I've heard them too. All you have to do is ask.

Christine Escobar
"On citizen journalists and the validity of accounts"
The value in the citizen journalist's account comes partly as a result of its being free. They are beholden to no one. They cover and opine and observe subjects but from their own perspective.

Leonce gaiter
"Obama Jerks the White Man's Burden"
Somewhere amid all these fireworks, we have the classic "uppity negro" archetype-- a black man who doesn't know his place, who dares to pontificate on the pathologies of white men.

Linda Hansen
"Bittergate: It's Not About Mayhill Fowler"
Are we bitter in Povertyland, USA? Hell, yes. That's what the story was about. We've been hung out to dry so long, we feel like ragged, abandoned laundry. All those election year promises? Please.

Scott Shrake
"I Wish There Were More Mayhill Fowlers"
There's no conspiracy behind Bittergate. The truth is even more unlikely: Fowler is that rare Barack Obama admirer who can admit he's not perfect. And, hey, that's the right kind of support.


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