Op/Ed: The Bernie Sanders, Martin O’ Malley Shoutfest at Netroots Nation ’15 Facepalm Moment

Photo Credit – Black Christian News Network One
U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders (R)
tries to claim the shout-down fest at Netroots Nation in Phoenix, AZ July 18,
while conference “Moderator” Jose Vergas sits.

It was Ugly, Brutal and Frankly Uncalled For….

It being what should now until the end of time be labeled as “Scream-down in Phoenix at Netroots Nation 2015”. The Mainstream Media ate this sad moment in time up.

Watch the melee shoutfest in its entirely with video by Vlogger Pamela Powers Hannley below:




Left and Right wing political blogs or journals had a temporary field day boasting Progressive Candidates for the Democratic Presidential Nomination former Maryland Gov. Martin O’ Malley and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) had little if any support of African-American Democrat voters, as a result of what happened in Phoenix.

Photo Credit – US News & World Report
Former Governor of Maryland and Democratic Presidential Candidate
Martin O’ Malley stands in silence after being interrupted by unscheduled
“Moderator” Tia Oso, while then demoted “Co-Moderator” Jose Vergas looks on.

The snapshot of some #BlackLivesMatter supporters in Phoenix during July at a conference center ballroom, screaming at the top of their lungs towards both Sanders and O’Malley, was incredibly morphed into by some as on lines with a Mitt Romney “47% Video” exposure redeux.


Video Credit – The Daily Conversation


However, Nothing can be further from the truth.

Instead, here is the take from some Progressives supporting Senator Sanders or O’ Malley quest to be the next President of the United States from Netroots Nation on Facebook page.





Photo Credit – Facebook/Netroots Nation Page

Despite these and others calls to in some matter or the other “make right” the “shoutout festival” in Phoenix, the organizers of Netroots Nation believe what occurred to two Democratic Progressive candidates for President attending the Progressive conference is right in line with tone of future Netroots events —FYI.

Photo Credit – Arshad Hasan Twitter @ArshadHasan

“My initial reaction was anxiety,”said Arshad Hasan, the new chair of the board of Netroots Nation and Executive Director of Progress Now to Al Jazeera America. 

“I had just gotten elected [chair of Netroots], and I want this wonderful event to go off perfectly, but seeing the reaction, its effect on the political discourse, seeing the anger and how much they wanted to be heard — seeing the people force their reality on our consciousness — they accomplished that, it was inspiring.”

Thus, it appears at least on surface, the “new” Netroots Chair was A-Okay with the shout down as the “anger” as he put its was “inspiring”. Really now?

So, the ten year conference will take a new tone going forward. One of drowning out any candidate or elected official, who happens to be Progressive in nature, if members of the audience so wish to abide.

“…Now we’re on the third wave, which is a grassroots movement hangout, largely localized, based on the event venue, but also more broad, and at this point mostly focused on social justice,” said David Dayen, a contributor to a number of digital news sites, including Salon and The New Republic to Al Jazeera America. Dayen, the site notes has attended every Netroots Nation conference since its inception when it was known as Yearly Kos.

Newly atoned Chair of the Netroots Nation Board Arshad Hasan affirmed Dayen’s confirmation that drown outs are the new course of the day at Netroots conference, despite any suggested criticisms, therefore. #FacepalmMomentsinTime….

“I think that’s right,” said Netroots Chairman Hasan, “and I don’t think that’s a complaint.”

Let’s roundtable back to a little rational perspective on this shall we?

If the Netroots Nation consensus think that by allowing invited Progressive Candidates to be repeatedly interrupted and not have an ample opportunity to have a word edgewise about concrete responses to the #BlackLivesMatter movement is a really “good thing to do”, then that is a crying shame. 

Again, nothing can be further from the truth — now twice over.

If Progressive candidates, and especially one on the level as Bernie Sanders are not given an a chance to speak, then someone must quickly define again what exactly is Netroots Nation about? 

There are plenty of opportunities, if the party desiring such an action wants to take part in, to see candidates get yelled at and otherwise heckled during the campaign cycle. Not much is actually gained for the most part from any of these “Oh Wee Look at Me” moment displays. 

In fact going back in not to far in the past history, the straw that broke the carmel’s back in the Romney/Obama 2012 election was the 47% Video, which was silently filmed and then distributed out to Progressive Media outlets by Jason Carter

It is now a belief of the Netroots organizers or better yet New Board Chairperson Hasan, that Mr. Carter or his cohorts who filmed this video would have been better off after this rightful exposure, to start a screaming match with Mitt Romney?

Of course not.

Regardless, if this is the new tactic of the moment with Netroots Nation, well okay — but count many Progressives like ourselves and other Bernie Sanders supporters out. 

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has taken an active role supporting matters related to civil rights, police brutality and economic injustice for DECADES. Longer than in retrospect many of the “screamers” at Netroots Nation ’15 have been born.


Video Credit – The Thom Hartmann Show


Sanders, at least, should have been allowed the opportunity to speak and members of the audience equality should have been allowed to ask POINTED questions of the candidate –without shouting them– and expect a response back.

O’Malley, whose support of #BlackLivesMatter topics of importance can be rightfully questioned following his “Stop and Frisk” policy while Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland too should have been allowed to state his platform, and then have a tense but controlled by the Moderator Q&A with audience members. 

Screaming someone down should not have been required or worse now promoted proudly, at a Progressive Conference with Progressive Candidates.

One more question before we end this Op/Ed, by the way — where was the “Top-Tier” Democratic Candidate for President who claim to be aligned with Progressive Causes, Hillary Clinton during the shoutfest in Phoenix at Netroots?

According to Time, she was “suspiciously” somewhere, elsewhere:

Photo Credit – The Hill

“….she was in Iowa and heading to Arkansas, even while her rivals for the Democratic nomination—Sanders and Martin O’Malley—were en route to Phoenix and preparing to court the progressives,” wrote Journalist Sam Frizell for Time Magazine July 19.


Speaking of things that make one go umm.

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