Michael Rogers (blogger)

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Michael Rogers
Michael Rogers DC 2.png
Rogers in March, 2012.
Born (1963-11-12) November 12, 1963 (age 50)
Suffern, New York, U.S.A.
Occupation Journalist, fundraiser, activist, blogger

Michael Rogers (born November 12, 1963[1]) is Vice Chairman of Raw Story Media, Inc. publishers of The Raw Story,[2] Founder and Director of Netroots Connect, an American fundraiser, blogger and gay rights activist in Washington, D.C. He is also known for his work in reporting on closeted gay politicians who are also anti-gay.[3] He is the lead subject of the 2009 film Outrage.

Early years & education[edit]

Rogers was raised in suburban New York City in Rockland County, NY and attended public schools. Rogers was graduated from Ramapo Senior High School in Spring Valley, NY. He attended Adelphi University (1982) and the University of Buffalo (also known as the State, University Center at New York University Center at Buffalo) (1983-1986), where he majored in political science.

Fundraising career[edit]

Prior to his notoriety as a blogger and citizen journalist Rogers was a fundraiser in Buffalo, New York City and Washington, DC. His career as a fundraiser began at the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association, operators of National Public Radio Affiliates WNED-FM, and WNED, and Public Broadcasting System affiliate WNED-TV, where he was involved in raising funds for the construction of a new broadcasting facility. In 1989 Rogers relocated to New York and became Development Coordinator/Program Manager of the Hetrick Martin Institute and Harvey Milk High School, a high-school for LGBT students. Rogers was the organization's first full-time development officer and during his tenure he created the organization's major giving program, created a direct mail program and expanded the annual event program five-fold. Rogers managed the New York City film premiere of Longtime Companion as a fundraiser for the organization. The film is the first motion picture made by a major movie studio (Samuel Goldwyn Company) with AIDS and HIV as the central topic.

Rogers has also served as the Director of Donor Development of the Funding Exchange, a consortium of community foundations and a national grantmaking program. In Washington, DC, Rogers was the Director of Development for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the nation's oldest national LGBT organization still in operation. He has served in senior fundraising positions including Director of Donor Development at the Funding Exchange, Director of Development of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Senior Manager of Major Gifts at the environmental organization Greenpeace.

Activism[edit]

Rogers has been an activist and spokesperson in the LGBT community. In the mid 1980s he was President of the LGBT Student Association (then GLOBE: Gays, Lesbians or Bisexuals for Equality) of the University of Buffalo. In 1985 he became the first board member representing youth clients on the Board of Directors of Gay and Lesbian Youth of Buffalo (Now Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York). From 1986 to 1989, Rogers served on the Board of the Buffalo and Niagara chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

After moving to New York City In 1989, Rogers joined the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP!). He, along with fellow Hetrick-Martin employee Ann Northrop, was arrested for participating in ACT-UP!'s Stop The Church protest at St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1989. Both Rogers and Northrop faced the possibility of losing their jobs because of their participation. Both remained at the agency.[4]

In 1993, Rogers founded a national network of fundraisers at LGBT organizations.

In 2002, Rogers founded Stop The Box, his first internet activism effort. The "Box," refers to a 20 ft. wide, 10 ft. height and 8 ft depth unattended structure that houses an automatic convenience store. The box, a prototype, was owned by Tik Tok Easy Shop. Rogers created a 5-page website and organized residents living near the box. He coordinated protests and education campaigns about the"box." Rogers also made the discovery that the Tik Tok Easy Shop company was a wholly owned subsidiary of the McDonald's Corporation. Rogers discovered that at the time the internet domain registration for tiktokeasyshop.com was McDonald's.[5]

In 2003, Rogers founded FixTheBricks.blogspot.com, a website created to encourage local business to take responsibility for the public spaces around their establishments. In the Adams-Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC, Rogers was successful in obtaining improvements to sidewalks and tree boxes.

Since February 2013, he has been a member of the WikiQueer Global Advisory Board.[6]

McDonald's Corporation[edit]

In 2002, Rogers challenged McDonald's on their installation of an 18 ft (5.5 m) wide vending machine under the moniker, TikTokEasyShop.[7][8]

Rogers, a resident of the neighborhood in which the machine was installed, organized protests against what had become known as "The Box." Rogers discovered and reported that the machine was owned by the McDonald's Corporation, although McDonald's branding appeared nowhere in the marketing or community outreach.[9] Rogers had a letter published in The New York Times relating to the machine.[10]

The machine was removed within months of its installation.

Subway Restaurant Corporation[edit]

Rogers forced the Subway food chain, the world's largest food service corporation,[11] to add both sexual orientation and gender identity to the company's non-discrimination policies.

In 2008, citizens of California approved Proposition 8, a voter initiative to repeal the state's marriage equality law. Under the law before the passage of Proposition 8, same sex couples were allowed to marry in the state. Because the initiative passed, marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in the state was repealed. Following the election, Rogers learned that a Subway Franchisee in Merced, California had donated $2,500 to the Yes on 8 campaign. Under threat of a boycott, Rogers made the following demands of Subway:

  • Repudiate the gift
  • Add sexual orientation and gender identity to the corporation's non-discrimination policy.
  • Give an equal gift to the opposing side.

Subway agreed to the first two[12][13] and Rogers dropped his demand for the equal gift when the original gift was rescinded. Subway's headquarters wrote to all locations (as of January 21, 2013: 38,623)[14] ) explaining how the gift was in violation of franchisee policies. The company also explained that the company's non-discrimination policies will now include sexual orientation and gender identity.[15]

Blogactive.com[edit]

BlogActive.com.
Rogers's blog on August 19, 2004, the date he reported on US. Rep. Edward L. Schrock

Blog[edit]

On July 7, 2004 Rogers launched BlogActive.com, a personal blog.[16] The blog has been a focal point for outing closeted gay politicians who actively oppose gay rights. Rogers's work was the subject of numerous articles. His work has been profile twice by the Washington Post, including a 2007 profile which asked if Rogers was The Most Feared Man On the Hill.[17]

Major Cases[edit]

Edward Schrock[edit]

On August 19, 2004, Rogers first major report was on US Rep. Edward L. Schrock (R-VA).[18] Rogers published a set of recordings of Schrock[19][20] using the MegaMates/Mega Phone Line, a service for men to meet other men for the purposes of meeting for sexual encounters.[21] On August 30, 2004, during the Republican National Convention, Schrock ended his reelection campaign.[22]

Mark Foley[edit]

One year prior to the publishing of emails from US Rep. Mark Foley to a 16-year old seeking sexual encounters,[23] Rogers reported on Foley on March 4, 2005.[24]

Rogers's blog in 2012
Larry Craig[edit]

On October 17, 2006, Rogers reported on sexual liaisons between US Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) and unnamed individuals in Washington, DC's Union Station.[25] Rogers uncovered a news story from 1982 that tied Craig to a sex and drug scandal in the US Congress. Rogers reported on more recent activity in various places throughout the nation. Rogers's report prompted Craig to issue a denial.[26] 9 months later, on June 11, 2007, Craig was arrested in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for lewd conduct.[27]

Outrage[edit]

Rogers is the lead subject of the Magnolia Pictures/HBO film Outrage, a documentary by director Kirby Dick. The film focuses on closeted politicians and senior political staff who work against the LGBT community. Rogers's activities are followed and a number of his cases, including US Rep. Ed Schrock and US Senator Larry Craig are central themes to the film. Rogers also served as a consultant to the filmmakers.

Proud Of Who We Are[edit]

In 2005, Rogers founded Proud of Who We Are, a non partisan organization to encourage elected officials to be honest and open with their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Netroots Connect[edit]

In 2008, Rogers founded the National Blogger and Citizen's Journalist Initiative, an organization that brings together leaders of the online and offline LGBT community. The organization changed it's name in 2012 to Netroots Connect. The organization's goals include leadership development and skill building for online activists. Originally conceived as a meeting of online journalists and bloggers, the organization has grown to serve over 500 participants. Annual gatherings have taken place each year since 2008 and are programmed to coincide with Netroots Nation, a national conference of online progressive activists.

The organization has served as an incubator for programs and organizations. Scouts for Equality was founded at the organization's 2012 gathering. In 2013 the program fostered the international social media campaign, #TestMe. The campaign engaged social media users as an education tool for HIV Testing Day. Over 2.5 million social media impressions were made in a 48-hour period.

Media[edit]

Rogers has become a regular guest on cable television news channels and his appearances include programs on CNN,[28] MSNBC, Fox News Channel, and Current TV.

In 2004 Rogers appeared on the O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly. During his appearance Rogers challenged the talk show host because O'Reilly outed a member of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, while attacking Rogers's work. The exchange was reported in the Chicago Tribune.[29]

Rogers has been profiled by GQ Magazine,[30] named one of Out Magazine's Out 100 and was selected as one of Genre Magazine's Men We Love. He has been profiled twice by the Washington Post, both times by writer Jose Antonio Vargas.[31][32]

In May 2009, Rogers appeared on The View, while promoting "Outrage."[33]

Rogers is a guest-host of the Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius XM Radio,[34] and The Ed Schultz Show on SiriusXM and national terrestrial radio.[35][36]

Influences[edit]

Rogers cites Sirius-XM Radio host Michelangelo Signorile as an influence in his work. Signorile started the modern outing movement.[37] When asked to identify a personal LGBT hero, Rogers replied that fellow Hetrick-Martin Institute colleague and LGBT/AIDS activist Ann Northrop is "[T]he first fearless woman I met...She takes risks knowing the consequences and takes them anyway."[38] Rogers frequently mentions his experience working with adolescents at the Hetrick-Martin Institute and Harvey Milk High School as a motivating force behind his activism.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rogers, Michael (2009-11-11). "8,400 days of ‘out’". BlogActive. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  2. ^ "Raw Story Masthead". The Raw Story. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Rogers, Michael (2014-06-26). "Why I Outed Gay Republicans". Politico. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Miller, Andrew (24 December 1989). "Politics, Professions and the Pokey". Outweek. p. 16. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Hutchinson, Brian (14 September 2002). "Shopping outside 'the box': new 'monster' vending machine off to a rocky start in Washington". National Post of Canada. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "WikiQueer:Global Advisory Board". WikiQueer. Retrieved March 27, 2013. 
  7. ^ Tierney, John (August 28, 2002). "Shop Till Eggs, Diapers, Toothpaste Drop". New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Schulte, Bret and Oldenberg, Don (August 30, 2002). "Convenience and Controversy in Adams Morgan". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Hutchinson, Brian (September 14, 2002). "Shopping Outside 'TheBox'". National Post. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Rogers, Michael (September 4, 2012). "Vendor Without a Face". New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Bates, Daniel (March 9, 2011). "Move over Ronald: Subway officially overtakes McDonald's to become biggest restaurant chain in the WORLD". UK Mail Online. 
  12. ^ Subway Sandwich Corporation. "Our People, Our Communities: Diversity". 
  13. ^ Flandez, Raymund (November 18, 2008). "Subway Franchisee Forced to Recall Prop. 8 Donation". Wall Street Journal. 
  14. ^ "Explore Our World". Subway. 
  15. ^ "International food chain responds to blogger's demands, franchisee retracts gift, job protections added". PageOneQ. November 18, 2008. 
  16. ^ Rogers, Michael. "You Asked...We Deliver". BlogActive.com. 
  17. ^ Vargas, Jose Antonio (4 September 2007). "The Most Feared Man on the Hill?". Washington Post. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Michael Rogers blog entry dated August 19, 2004". Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "Michael Rogers blog entry dated August 30, 2004". Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "MP3 Recording on Edward Schrock using MegaMates phone service". 
  21. ^ Byrne, John (18 August 2004). "Rep. Schrock resigns after 'gay phone sex call' surfaces on web". The Raw Story. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  22. ^ Shear, Michael, et al. (31 August 20014). "Va. Legislator Ends Bid for 3d term". Washington Post. Retrieved 18 January 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  23. ^ Hudson, Lane. "Emails from Congressman Foley to 16 Year Old Page!!!!". Stop Sex Predators. 
  24. ^ "Michael Rogers blog entry dated March 4, 2005". 
  25. ^ "Michael Rogers blog entry dated October 17, 2006". 
  26. ^ Kuraitis, Jill (October 17, 2006). "Idaho Sen. Larry Craig Denies Allegations of Same-Sex Affairs". NewWest Boise. 
  27. ^ Karsnia, Dave. "Arrest Report: Lewd Conduct by Senator Larry Craig". The Smoking Gun. 
  28. ^ "CNN Newsnight with Aaron Brown". CNN. August 2004. 
  29. ^ Cook, John. "O'Reilly scolds guest who outed gays, then calls judge a lesbian". Chicago Tribune. 
  30. ^ Tapper, Jake (April 2005). "Hot for Gay Republicans". GQ Magazine. 
  31. ^ Vargas, Jose Antonio (September 4, 2007). "The Most Feared Man on the Hill?". The Washington Post. 
  32. ^ Dana, Rebecca and Varga, Jose Antonio (2004-07-14). "Capitol Hill Insiders Irked By Campaign To 'Out' Them". The Washington Post. 
  33. ^ "Michael Rogers and Kirby Dick on The View". 
  34. ^ Rogers, Michael. "Guest hosting on Signorile’s Sirius/XM Show". Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  35. ^ Carpenter, Megan. "Listen live at noon ET: Raw Story Managing Director Mike Rogers hosts ‘The Ed Schultz Show’". Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  36. ^ Steiger, Kay. "Listen: Raw Story co-founder Mike Rogers hosts Ed Schulz show on marriage equality". Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  37. ^ "Michaelangeo Signorile". Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 
  38. ^ Diguglielmo, Joey (30 June 2011). "Queery: Michael Rogers". Washington Blade. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 

External links[edit]