Unfair Treatment

A much as it pains me to say this, I think that Kos and company are not being treated fairly regarding this Dean payment nonsense, and that the Instapundit (*** Upodate *** I misinterpreted Glennn- his point was that Kos is being treated more favorably than kos et. al would treat conservative bloggers if they were in his position, something I tend to agree with) and others are not getting it right.

Let me first state that I would be the first to bash Kos if I thought he had done something unseemly, but in this case, he is simply getting a bad rap. Let’s review:

– Armstrong Williams is secretly paid $240,000 to be an advocate for administration policies, informing no one of the payment.

– The DasvhlevThune blog is secretly paid by the Thune campaign, all the while representing itself as mere partisan supporters.

– Kos and his associate are paid to do political work for the Dean campaign, disclose their relationship repeatedly, and make sure that people know that they are working for Dean and support Dean.

How anyone can confuse this issue and think it is the same thing is simply beyond me. While the Armstrong Williams and DaschlevThune cases are clear conflicts of interest, with no disclosure, there is no such ethical issue or appearance of impropriety from the MArkos and the folks at the Daily Kos.

And, btw, I have a great deal of personal experience with Kos from the time period in question, and I remember his repeated disclosures that he was working for the Dean campaign. All through 2002, I was a regular visitor to the Daily Kos, and for the entire year, Tacitus and I were the only right wing commenters in most threads. When Kos started the Political State Report in late 2002, early 2003, I was the WV contributer. Up until about midway through 2003, when Kos’s strident anti-war rhetoric and militant leftist beliefs became apparent and unpalatable for me, Kos and I had numerous interactions, email exchanges, and healthy discussions in his comments section.

It is also during this period that Kos was laying the groundwork for the netroots revolution that he foresaw as a way to propel a Democratic candidate into the White House in 2004. Kos was an early supporter for Dean, disclosed early and often that he was traveling to coordinate with Dean and other Democrat forces, and he was completely open about his relationship. In fact, the only thing Kos did not disclose was the amount that he was paid for his services, and, quite frankly, IMHO, that is none of our damned business anyway.

Kos has done nothing wrong here, has nothing to apologize for, and shouldn’t have to put up with these false accusations, as he was open, honest, and operating under no false pretenses. You may, as I do, find his political positions abhorrent, as well as some of his anti-war anti-administration rhetoric, but to question his integrity on this account is nothing more than theatre of the absurd. Kos may be a lot of things, but he is not a paid shill who would sell himself to the highest bidder. You can question his sanity, as I often do, but I would never question his passion for his ideas.

That Zephyr Treachout and some cynical operators within the Dean campaign may believe they ‘bought’ Kos says a lot about them and their utter lack of integrity, but as far as I am concerned Kos was acting in good faith, providing services for a cause he believed in and being paid fairly for those services. If you have a problem with that, then your problem is not with ethics or conflicts of interest, but with people earning a living. Kos has done nothing wrong, and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn’t understand what he/she is talking about.

More here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

*** Update ***

Moree sheer idiocy on the subject, this time from Slate’s Chris Suellentrop:

Moulitsas is a different case. He’s never pretended to be a journalistthis past October, he told National Journal, “I am part of the media. But a journalist? No. If I had put a label on it, I would say I am an activist.”but in the year since he stopped cashing Dean’s checks, he’s gained a reputation as “the liberal Instapundit” and the most popular left-wing blogger. And while it’s true that his role as a Dean consultant was disclosed and reported in the press on multiple occasions, it came as a surprise this week to a whole lot of people, including a lot of prominent bloggers. Perhaps more important, the people who were aware of Moulitsas’ consulting work aren’t 100 percent comfortable with it. “Markos is infamous for these kinds of issues. That may be too strong a word. But it’s come up with Markos before,” Nicco Mele, the Dean campaign’s Webmaster and director of Internet operations, told me. “I can find you threads on Markos’s own site about it.”

So lemme get this right- Kos does everything right, completely disclosing his involvement with the Dean campaign. But- some unamed ‘prominent’ blogger don’t know this, and are ‘surprised’ when they find out 18 months later. Worse still- not everyone was ‘100% comfortable’ with his behavior.

You have to be fucking kidding me. What kind of idiotic standards are these? Dick Cheney and the Cabinet are bound by less stringent standards. You can get a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court without the Senate being ‘100% comfortable.’ This is absurd.

Kos did nothing wrong.






58 replies
  1. 1
    M. Scott Eiland says:

    I’ve got little use for Suellentrop, but isn’t the point he’s making in the last part of the article that Kos had a lot of other undisclosed clients other than Dean (regarding who, as you point out, Kos seems to have behaved in an ethical manner), and that the fact that he’s willing to take such clients raises a lot of the same ethical issues that having Dean as a secret client while pimping him to high heaven on Daily Kos would have had? Suellentrop may just be trumping up charges to get rid of a proven loser (let’s face it–0 for 15 is *way* below the Mendoza line whether we’re talking baseball or politics), but that is the point he seems to trying to make.

  2. 2
    Kimmitt says:

    How anyone can confuse this issue and think it is the same thing is simply beyond me.

    This sort of thing is, for the record, precisely why I do not consider the WSJ a credible source when it comes to left-of-center politics.

  3. 3
    Charlie T. says:

    You’ve certainly been much more fair-minded than most of the conservatives who have commented on this, most of whom seem to be taking the bizarre position of “I’m only hearing about this now; therefore Kos had to have been hiding something.” As you’ve said, anyone who visited the site during the time Kos was working for Dean (and very few conservatives did) knew all about this; the readers and posters could take that under consideration accordingly.

  4. 4

    John, I’m not quite sure where we differ, here.

  5. 5

    John, you’re right on target.

    This dustup isn’t about politics or integrity, it’s a matter of fairness. As you say so emphatically, Kos put his dealings out for everyone to see and make whatever they cared to of them.

    Kos wasn’t and isn’t a journalist per se, developing original stories by working directly with sources, doing background and investigative work, library research, etc., then publishing. He doesn’t claim to be, either.

    He’s a blogger. He’s pro-Democratic and if I’m not mistaken was very openly kindly disposed toward Dean prior to the business arrangement.

    Too many people seem to feel they’re owed a back to ride on.

  6. 6
    Josh says:

    Well ok he (finally) disclosed that he took money to bash the country and military.

    This is clearly a good thing.

  7. 7
    Pat Curley says:

    I started out on the same page as you, but changed my mind when I got new information from the Suellentrop piece. The key here is NOT the Dean money, which was, as you say, disclosed. The problem is that Kos had other clients which he declined to identify (possibly because they didn’t want to be identified with him). That puts him in the same category as Lauck & Van Beek, whom I blasted at the time for not disclosing their financial ties to the Thune Campaign.

  8. 8
    Jay Aldrich says:

    I posted this on MY’s site but I came up with a followup that I think is more appropriate for here.

    The problem, it seems to me, is not that Kos looks unethical for this but because he looks like a dupe.

    Teachout said that one of the concerns with Kos is that they wanted him to say nice things. So they hired him and told him “We don’t want you to change a thing! Keep doing what you’re doing, we won’t edit or censor or anything! We just want you to do this little technical stuff over here.”

    And Kos then went on to behave as if he were a paid shill… Even though he wasn’t.

    This makes Kos look like a dupe.

    Which, in my opinion, is far more damaging in the long term than any ethical oversight would be.

    But I can see why a hardcore Kos-supporter wouldn’t want to focus on the “he was duped!” aspect of the story. It’s better to focus on the “Kos wasn’t unethical, the people who hired him were even *MORE* unethical and the people who hired *THEM* were duped!”

    Because it’s one thing to be evil. You can overcome evil.

    Stupidity… well, that lasts forever.

  9. 9
    Aaron says:

    Good on you, John.

  10. 10
    jukeboxgrad says:

    A couple of people here are parroting Hewitt and Suellentrop and making a pointless point about Kos’s ostensible “other undisclosed clients.” This specious argument is dispensed with here, and also in my comments here.

    Jay, your “dupe” assertion is a bit too convoluted to make any sense to me. It sort of reminds me of when people were getting tied up in knots overanalyzing OBL’s behavior to psyche out who he was supposedly trying to endorse.

    “And Kos then went on to behave as if he were a paid shill… Even though he wasn’t.”

    That statement in particular makes no sense to me. Kos promoted Dean before, during and after his (clearly disclosed) Dean contract. Much ado about nothing.

  11. 11
    russ says:

    What people are dancing around are these two facts:

    Dean was and is still clueless (hence his asinine rhetoric) and continously shows that his tenuous grip on reality which makes Dean the perfect person to head the party of the Seditious & Sleazy

    The Daily Kos has shown repeatedly that B.S. Pusher over there has a Dan Rather like ability to come to grips with reality also and displays the same sort of honesty too…

  12. 12
    Jay Aldrich says:

    jukeboxgrad, the point is that Kos didn’t do anything wrong in the first place and getting paid to do something that you were going to be doing anyway is like getting free money. Who *WOULDN’T* take a paycheck to sleep at night?

    But Teachout’s comment was: “On Deans campaign, we paid Markos and Jerome Armstrong as consultants, largely in order to ensure that they said positive things about Dean. We paid them over twice as much as we paid two staffers of similar backgrounds, and they had several other clients.

    While they ended up also providing useful advice, the initial reason for our outreach was explicitly to buy their airtime. To be very clear, they never committed to supporting Dean for the payment — but it was very clearly, internally, our goal.”

    Kos didn’t do anything wrong. But that comment made Kos look like he was duped into doing something… (even though he was only getting paid for doing stuff he’d have done anyway).

    It’s a perception issue. Those two paragraphs made Kos look like a dupe.

    Whether or not he *IS* one, he sure as hell looks like one.

  13. 13

    So far as “full disclosure” goes, all I’ve heard of specifically was a note that KOS was engaged in “technical consulting” for the Dean campaign. Was he really? Paid shilling (no great offense in itself) is the same thing as “technical consulting”? I don’t know, I’m not a witness – I never read KOS, as the first time I tried I got the annoying feeling that I should go for rabies shots.

    I agree that whole affair seems to say more about Dean that it does about KOS.

    I still don’t see the problem with Armstrong Williams. He’s a PR guy, isn’t he? And he was paid for a PR campaign.

  14. 14
    jukeboxgrad says:

    “Those two paragraphs made Kos look like a dupe.”

    Obviously you’re entitled to your opinion, but you’ve simply repeated yourself without helping me understand what you mean. Don’t bother, maybe I’m just thick.

    I’m more inclined to think Teachout looks like an idiot.

    “I still don’t see the problem with Armstrong Williams. He’s a PR guy, isn’t he?”

    Some people think the Geneva Conventions are quaint. I guess you think the idea of having a distinction between “advertising” and “journalism” is quaint. If the press is going to be a paid subsidiary of the government we might as well just call it “Pravda.”

    Oops, so much rampant misinformation it’s hard to keep track of it all. Here’s something I missed before.

    Josh said “Well OK he (finally) disclosed.” No, he didn’t “finally” disclose. He disclosed a long time ago, at the same time he took the money. There’s nothing “finally” about that.

    All that’s happening now is a few miserable hacks are trying to invent a story out of nothing, apparently in a lame effort to sweep aside the Williams scandal.

    How ironic that in a discussion about credibility folks like Hewitt and O’Reilly are doing so much to undermine their own. Likewise with regard to highly questionable coverage from righty bloggers like Powerline and Captain’s Quarters.

  15. 15
    Jay Aldrich says:

    Let me try to explain.

    According to Teachout, the camp saw Kos as someone that they would want on their side (or, at least, as someone that they would not want on someone else’s side). Now, they knew that they couldn’t go up to Markos and say “Here’s a wheelbarrel full of money say nice things about us!” because that would not work. Kos, for all his faults, says what he thinks and is not going to sell himself out.

    But, if Teachout is to be believed, they did something much more subtle. They offered him money to do some technical consulting and told him “we don’t want to edit or censor you, just keep being yourself! We need help with this dohickey over here.”

    Given Kos’s subsequent behavior, a non-biased observer could look at Kos’s actions and say “Kos felt flattered and felt that the Dean campaign was at least smart enough to get someone as good as him onboard and this raised his opinion of the Dean campaign and this shows in his reporting.”

    Now, of course, you and I both *KNOW* that Kos didn’t have anything like this going on. The money didn’t change a thing.

    But that statement by Teachout says “We wanted X, but we couldn’t get X by saying “WE WANT X”, so we asked for Y and hoped to get X as part of a package deal.”

    And, it seems to me, that given that Kos gave Teachout what Teachout really wanted, it looks like Kos gave it *BECAUSE* Teachout was smart enough to manipulate Kos into giving it.

    But we both know, of course, that Kos would have acted the exact same way without the money so Kos wasn’t manipulated in the slightest.

    But to someone less in the know than you or I, it certainly might look like Kos was duped.

  16. 16
    Vitriolics says:

    Kos said he was a “technical” consultant but he was being paid not so much to become a Dean shill as to remain a Dean backer–his disclosure was thus inadequate or the product of self-delusion on his part (they were paying him excessively if it were just for “technical” expertise). That’s a minor miscue and absolutely far less insidious than what Williams did. But Kos is such a malicious, unforgiving, and unfair S.O.B. that he deserves absolutely no latitude on anything. Screw’im.

  17. 17
    Vitriolics says:

    Kos said he was a “technical” consultant but he was being paid not so much to become a Dean shill as to remain a Dean backer–his disclosure was thus inadequate or the product of self-delusion on his part (they were paying him excessively if it were just for “technical” expertise). That’s a minor miscue and absolutely far less insidious than what Williams did. But Kos is such a malicious, unforgiving, and unfair S.O.B. that he deserves absolutely no latitude on anything. Screw’im.

  18. 18
    Ari Tai says:

    I wasn’t paying attention when I scanned the article about Mr. Williams. My first thought was “aha, people are finally taking a hard look at Mr. J. Jackson, but what’s this about only a quarter million? Mr. Jackson is right up there w/ the world’s recently deceased beloved leaders and peace prize winners” (until I went back and read the first paragraph).

    I do wonder how much went into Mr. Williams pocket (v. his company), what the contract looked like (government contracts are notorious for requiring detail on what will be spent where). In time, I’m sure the truth will come out (like it is for Mr. Jackson). Mr. Kos. will struggle because he is even less transparent (and perhaps he has to be) than Mr. Williams (given a discoverable government contract), to say nothing of corporate america and even political parties :-) .

    Seems to me to be a tempest in a teapot. Words and actions can stand by themselves, irrespective of who, if anyone, has paid for them, or the original reasons why they were written (meaning we’re just being lazy if we don’t dispassionately evaluate words and actions irrespective of who or why (right, intentions don’t count, just results), color of skin or faith, etc. Trust is something you reserve for those closest to you, and those that earn it (in their results, not good intentions).

  19. 19
    Boris says:

    A counter claim I have read is that Armstrong did on occasion disclose the payment. I think the ‘throw him overboard’ attitude is, well, a little overboard. He clearly didn’t realize that his PR firm and his commentary positions required a bright and clear line never to be crossed.

  20. 20
    mikem says:

    Kos said he was paid for doing technical work only. The Dean campaign said that they paid Kos to ensure his continued political support. This is not conjecture from right wing pundits. It is a left wing activist disclosing a relationship that she felt uncomfortable with and ultimately decided to not repeat in the future. Giving Kos’ ridiculous broadbrush attack on the integrity of ALL conservative pundits after the Williams disclosure, I am not in a hurry to look the other way when his “paid for” punditry is exposed by his own side of the aisle.
    Markos is a caricature of the “by any means” leftist and his attempt to sugarcoat his own sins, while flinging mud at all conservative pundits is shameful.

  21. 21
    Joe says:

    And his sins are…?

    Oh, that’s right.

    He didn’t do shit wrong.

  22. 22
    mikem says:

    The Dean campaign people obviously felt otherwise, or are they also part of the RWC?

  23. 23
    praktike says:

    Having personally experienced the WSJ “throw a bunch of BS against the wall” effect, I can’t say I’m surprised. The people running that paper are the ones with no ethical standards, though most of their reporters are actually pretty decent.

  24. 24
    John cole says:

    Actually- numerous others within the Dean campaign have refuted Teachout’s assertion that the intent was to ‘buy them.’

  25. 25
    jukeboxgrad says:

    “But to someone less in the know than you or I, it certainly might look like Kos was duped.”

    Jay, thanks for going to the trouble of elaborating all that. I think the bottom line, as I said, is that Kos backed Dean before, during and after his contract. That’s clear to anyone who’s paying attention. As far as people who aren’t paying attention, I don’t think Kos gives a damn what they think, and neither do I. There’s a sucker born every minute.

    “Kos said he was a ‘technical’ consultant but he was being paid not so much to become a Dean shill as to remain a Dean backer”

    Truthout has made a number of confusing statements, including this one: “We were paying him in part because WE hoped that he, and Kos, would blog positive things about Dean, but that was never explicit or implicit in the contract. This has to do with OUR motives, not some contract, and no compromise on their part.”

    On the other hand (as our host mentioned), two senior people from the Dean campaign have stated emphatically “there was never any internal expectation that either Markos or Jerome would provide anything other than technical or advertising advice or services, and those were the only services they did provide.”

    I imagine you’ll choose to believe whatever you find most congruent with your political beliefs.

    “they were paying him excessively if it were just for ‘technical’ expertise”

    I realize you think 350 bucks a week is a lot of money.

    “A counter claim I have read is that Armstrong did on occasion disclose the payment.”

    He’s made a number of conflicting statements on this point.

    “He clearly didn’t realize that his PR firm and his commentary positions required a bright and clear line never to be crossed.”

    He’s a journalist. He took a large bribe from the government (your tax dollars at work) in return for an explicit agreement to illegally promote government propaganda. Welcome to Soviet Russia. Remind me again, did we win the Cold War, or did they? Maybe you should consider a career as Bush’s Minister of Propaganda.

    “Giving Kos’ ridiculous broadbrush attack on the integrity of ALL conservative pundits after the Williams disclosure”

    Williams said “this happens all the time.” It seems Kos is simply taking this remark at face value. I don’t think that’s a terribly unreasonable thing to do. The White House can clear this up easily enough, but I’m not holding my breath. For now, they’re stonewalling. That doesn’t inspire confidence. I have a feeling more shoes will be dropping.

    “his attempt to sugarcoat his own sins”

    Quite a while ago he took a modest amount of money, over a relatively short interval. He disclosed it promptly. The record shows the money didn’t change his position. Where is the “sin” in that? It’s one thing for you to disagree with his politics. It’s something else for you to put yourself in the position of judging that the way he chooses to make a living is sinful.

    “while flinging mud at all conservative pundits is shameful”

    The shameful mud-flinging is folks like Hewitt and O’Reilly spreading blatant misinformation in an attempt to draw a false comparison between Kos and Williams. Kos merely expressed an opinion. Hewitt and O’Reilly (and others) are telling lies. Big difference. It’s the difference between honest advocacy and partisan hackery.

  26. 26
    Boris says:

    It’s the difference between honest advocacy and partisan hackery

    Like you’d know the difference.

    He’s a journalist

    He does commentary. Know the difference? Guess not.

    an explicit agreement to illegally promote government propaganda

    Ever seen a PSA? What are they … like free or something? The surgeon general has determinied that you are clueless.

  27. 27
    Tollhouse says:

    Silly Mr. Armstrong, had he merely posted a disclosure that he was providing unspecified “Technical consultant” services for the DOE, everything would have been ok.

  28. 28
    Tollhouse says:

    Really though, this whole brouhaha, appears to this outside observer as infighting between the existing Democratic consultants that people like Markos decry, and the older established consultant group.

    And as a interested observer, the Shrums vs Markos’, it’s win-win for the rest of us.

  29. 29
    jukeboxgrad says:

    Oops, above I said “Truthout.” Obviously I meant “Teachout.”

    Boris says what’s the fuss, Williams is a commentator, not a journalist.

    Nice to see that you’ve memorized one of Williams’ talking points. Very funny, though. Kind of reminds me of someone saying it’s not really sex, it’s only a blowjob. I guess Williams isn’t really a journalist, he only plays one on television.

    I guess you don’t think Williams made a mistake. Too bad Bush disagrees with you.

    Incidentally, if you think it’s OK for the government to use taxpayer dollars to secretly bribe a “commentator” (whatever that is) to spread government propaganda, why not also say it’s OK to bribe journalists? Maybe you can let us know where you got the idea that there is actually some kind of neat, clear boundary between the two.

    Incidentally, maybe you’d like to take a look at William’s biography, where he says he’s especially interested in “the restoration of morality,” and he claims that he “brings an independent view.” Independent except when he’s being paid off, I guess.

    “Ever seen a PSA? What are they … like free or something?”

    It’s not that they’re free. It’s that the normal practice is to let the audience know who put up the money. Maybe you never noticed. Maybe you also never noticed that a PSA and an op-ed column are not the same thing.

    “Silly Mr. Armstrong, had he merely posted a disclosure that he was providing unspecified ‘Technical consultant’ services for the DOE, everything would have been ok.”

    I doubt it. If he had disclosed that he had pocketed almost a quarter-million dollars of federal money, for any reason, it’s not likely he would have been welcome as a regular guest on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and NPR, and it’s not likely a dozen newspapers would have carried his column. There’s a difference between an op-ed column and a paid ad; these institutions know that, even if you don’t.

  30. 30
    lightly says:

    I’m a full-tilt lefty but it is always important to ferret out people of integrity of whatever persuasion. Given the choice of reading someone untrustworthy who shares my views and someone honest who doesn’t – honesty trumps affinity.

    I read Kos for honesty and affinity. As of today, I am bookmarking this website too. It actually feels good to have a window into ideas I may not share from someone who can be trusted.

  31. 31

    Smart and fair post, John, though it’s just one of many others; kudos to you.

  32. 32
    DANEgerus says:

    Really…

    Well…

    “Screw’Em”

  33. 33
    kevin lyda says:

    i too am very liberal and i read 0 conservative blogs. i live overseas and i get enough conservative american news from fox news.

    but i’m bookmarking your site. this post was fair, decent and thoughtful. basing my opinions of conservatives on fox news isn’t fair, and a person who writes an honest and fair post like this deserves to be read more.

    i doubt i’ll agree with you, but i think i’ll believe you came to your positions honestly and with reason – an annoyingly rare quality from conservatives these days.

  34. 34
    some guy says:

    bless you, sir. bless you.

    we need a thousand more like you.

  35. 35
    Neo says:

    It appears the Kos was a mercinary for Dean, so it’s only too fair to return the favour, “screw em”.

  36. 36
    mikem says:

    “Williams said ‘this happens all the time.’ It seems Kos is simply taking this remark at face value. I don’t think that’s a terribly unreasonable thing to do.”

    OK, I’ll bite. So, we can assume that all blacks do it, or all black pundits, or all conservative pundits, or all pundits. Why do you think that Kos specifically zeroed in on all conservative pundits, when Williams did not do so himself? And you call that reasonable?
    Kos has stated that he has not and will not disclose all his political/financial connections. But you are willing to assume that he has nothing to disclose. Common sense says otherwise. Kos picked the wrong time, as he has a habit of doing, to sling mud at others. The Dean campaign (not conservatives) outed him. Now under pressure of hate mail and demands to withdraw their disclosure, they are backtracking. Yeah, no story here! Business as usual between progressives.
    I wonder if there were any tech support or other type agreements between Kos and the many (losing) candidates that he encouraged his readers to support. A statement from Kos would be nice, but we know it’s none of our business.

  37. 37
    S says:

    Just to recap,

    1) This appears to be about DNC chair politics where Zephyr supports one person, and Kos supports someone else. Zephyr smears someone who is prone to being smeared (Kos), and mud sticks…simple as that. Various journalists and commentators like Suellentrop (the general public can’t tell the difference between the two anymore) then do minimal research (He never checked if Kos got paid by anyone else… are you a reporter or are you going to check FEC filings?) to smear bloggers. Keep in mind that this kind of reporting affects all bloggers when it’s inaccurate.
    So who’s wrong? WSJ for running a piece that uses a headline that deceptively equates Kos/Jerome and Williams. In the details, it notes the difference, but what are they doing together in an article anyway?

    Who got it the worst? Jerome Armstrong.

  38. 38
    wordcruncher says:

    Wow, what a great post. I too am a leftie and frequent Kos and MyDD reader. The unfairness, to a Kos reader, of all this is surprising. The entire time Kos worked for the Dean campaign, he had a banner disclosing as much at the top of his site — it’s the first thing I’d see each time I visited.

    A few folks posting comments imply that Kos was a wink-wink technical consultant. He and Jerome have occasionally posted on the nature of the work they do, and it’s a legitimate expertise any campaign would or should require: Building and maintaining a web fundraising infrastructure.

    Speaking for myself, I am one who reads Kos and Jerome BECAUSE they are involved as political consultants. Presumably, they have a great deal of sources they can use to provide info to the readers. Not sources like Clinton, Gore, et. al.; rather, the no-profile sources who work behind the scenes and hear everything going on around them. Kinda like myself.

    The most ridiculous thing coming from all of this is the notion that bloggers must be journalists. It merely reflects the medias obsession with their own obsolescence as THE sources for news information dissemination.

  39. 39
    ape says:

    Well said JC.. perhaps someone should tell those nutters at LGF.

    When ‘the media’, or individuals within it, are accused of ‘liberal’ or left-wing bias, is this ever done by anyone who even pretends to be unbiased?

  40. 40
    HH says:

    Kos’ disclosure was woefully inadequate, and any fool who saw Armstrong Williams’ program knew he was getting SOME money from the Dept. of Education, we just didn’t know the extent. Same with Kos – we didn’t know the extent. He claimed his payments were no big deal and it was just “technical.” Now we know he was a bought and paid for voice and he can deny that up and down til the cows come home, but that changes nothing. He would never call what happened “payola” but that’s what happened and acted as though any readers who might have a problem with it weren’t his problem. All of this might only be a minor quibble if he hadn’t taken it upon himself to attack YOU, John, and every other blogger who voiced any support for this administration as guilty til proven innocent. Kos got what he deserves for that crap. I respect you John very much but we have to agree to disagree, and you should at least call Kos on his nonsense last week.

  41. 41
    wordcruncher says:

    “Kos’ disclosure was woefully inadequate…”

    As I said, when he was working for Dean, the disclosure certainly wasn’t inadequately displayed. I don’t suppose we’d agree that the amount Kos received is none of our business, as John said. This wasn’t taxpayer money.

    Second, it is quite clear from the public record that only Treachout was silently hoping Kos would support Dean. That is quite clearly different from being a paid shill.

    Based on the rest of your comments, you seem to simply dislike Kos because you don’t like what he says. This is a difference between conservatives and liberals. The ACLU defended Rush’s right to privacy no matter whether they agreed with him or not. Likewise, I don’t have a problem with the Thune bloggers, though it seems they should have disclosed out of their own interests (that’s just my opinion, not a judgment).

  42. 42
    HH says:

    Inadequately “displayed” of course, is up for debate, and brushes aside whether his description of his role was inadequate. The record of course, is merely the word of those who hired him. If even one person hired him for that reason, the entire deal is suspect and deserves further investigation, not a pass, which, if Kos were a conservative, he wouldn’t receive from, say, Kos himself. Which is basically the point here.

  43. 43
    HH says:

    “Based on the rest of your comments, you seem to simply dislike Kos because you don’t like what he says. This is a difference between conservatives and liberals.”

    Heh… the ACLU is the exception proving the rule of course. How many times has Michelle Malkin alone gone after her own side. You’ll find far more on “the right” eating their own. Eric Alterman was nearly crucified by his own side at one time for defending John Fund from a scurrilous smear.

  44. 44
    HH says:

    And of course left-libertarian is not the same as partisan Democrat. Even Armstrong Williams attacked Trent Lott and many in his own party when that controversy happened.

  45. 45
    HH says:

    Take on the other hand, those who might as well be paid shills: the likes of Paul Krugman and Atrios (who blogged for weeks linking approvingly to Media Matters before finally disclosing his identity, because the fact that he’d be at a large public event like the DNC basically made it impossible to continue otherwise).

  46. 46
    Jon H says:

    So what’s Teachout’s motive, anyway?

    Looks to me like she’s trying to discredit her potential competition for lucrative internet organizing work in future campaigns.

    Is it possible that she’s embellishing her story in such a way as to put Kos and Jerome in a negative light?

  47. 47
    HH says:

    Of course going with Occam’s razor, we can easily guess the motivations of those saying she’s wrong about why they were hired.

  48. 48
    jukeboxgrad says:

    I apologize for taking my time.

    “So, we can assume that all blacks do it, or all black pundits, or all conservative pundits, or all pundits. Why do you think that Kos specifically zeroed in on all conservative pundits, when Williams did not do so himself?”

    When Williams said “this happens all the time,” I think a fair interpretation is “the government buys press.” Obviously this has nothing to do with race. Also, I think it’s a fair bet that Al Franken is not on the Bush payroll. Hence the interpretation that Williams is talking about “conservative pundits.”

    “Kos has stated that he has not and will not disclose all his political/financial connections.”

    That’s from a statement he made almost two years ago. Recently people close to him have said he stopped political consulting last summer.

    “I wonder if there were any ‘tech support’ or other type agreements between Kos and the many (losing) candidates that he encouraged his readers to support. A statement from Kos would be nice, but we know it’s none of our business.”

    A statement was also made that with the exception of the short-duration Dean contract, he took no money from the other candidates he endorsed. At the moment I’m too lazy to dig up the URLs for this, but I’ll do so on request.

    Anyway, it is “your business,” to the extent that it would have to be disclosed in FEC filings. So you don’t have to “wonder.”

    “any fool who saw Armstrong Williams’ program knew he was getting SOME money from the Dept. of Education”

    Please provide a reference to what Williams said that ostensibly made this clear.

    “we know he [Kos] was a bought and paid for voice”

    Kos was already saying nice things about Dean long before Dean hired him, for a modest amount and for a short interval. This is in contrast to Williams, who is on record criticizing NCLB prior to the time he starting taking bribes. That criticism disappeared once the money started.

    “If even one person hired him for that reason, the entire deal is suspect and deserves further investigation”

    It’s obviously your opinion that no blogger should never take money from a political candidate, regardless of the amount or the reason, even though reasonable disclosure is made. In the future we’ll be counting on you to scream bloody murder when the day comes (I think it’s inevitable) that the shoe is on the other foot.

  49. 49
    mikem says:

    Juke: Thanks for replying.
    Since you didn’t bother to look up the Kos “disclosure”, I did. Here it is:

    “But for the record, I will not discuss my role within the Dean campaign, other than to say it’s technical, not message or strategy. I will also not discuss any of my other clients, including their identities (I have non-disclose agreements to which I must adhere).
    Some of you may be upset, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I have to make my living, and if I can do so helping Democrats win elections…”

    I have nothing more to add on that. I recognize the middle finger even from this distance.

    Also, don’t you think you are being a bit narrow minded to assume that Williams refers only to the Bush administration and not to the thousands of lobbying and special interest groups as well as political candidates? Haven’t you ever been a child and said “Everyone does it!”? Please. Quit trying to paint only one side of the canvas.

    Kos’ opinions were paid for, as the Dean campaign admitted. Kos may think he does not have to answer to anyone for his ‘earning a living’, but the Dean campaign was ashamed enough to admit what they did was wrong and clearly stated they would not do so again.
    If Kos does have a political career in mind, he better start living by the same principles he expects from conservatives. The internet never forgets.

  50. 50
    jukeboxgrad says:

    “Since you didn’t bother to look up the Kos ‘disclosure'”

    Why would you say something so idiotic? My very first post in this thread (1/16 11:37 am) referred to my post here, which clearly referenced Kos’s disclosure statement of 6/9/03.

    “I have nothing more to add on that. I recognize the middle finger even from this distance.”

    You’re babbling incorently. Also as I also said in this thread, recently people close to Kos have said he stopped political consulting last summer. Also, any such “hidden” consulting that is so upsetting to you would be subject to FEC disclosure, so actually it’s not hidden. You’re making a big fuss about the fact that almost two years ago Kos made a vague statement about other clients. Much ado about nothing.

    “Also, don’t you think you are being a bit narrow minded to assume that Williams refers only to the Bush administration and not to the thousands of lobbying and special interest groups as well as political candidates?”

    The Williams story is getting attention specifically because it’s an instance not just of a journalist accepting a bribe, but a journalist accepting a bribe from the government. That’s a big deal (and if you don’t understand why, that’s your problem). When Williams says everyone does it, it’s reasonable to interpret his remark in that context.

    Anyway, as I’ve said, it would be simple enough for the White House to clear this up and say “this is an isolated incident.” Instead, they’ve stonewalled. Very interesting.

    “Kos’ opinions were paid for, as the Dean campaign admitted.”

    This is getting boring. I’ve already addressed this. Kos’s statements about Dean did not change before, during, or after the Dean contract, and this is in contrast with Williams’ behavior. Also, you’re free to claim that Teachout is synonymous with “Dean campaign,” but two major figures in the Dean campaign have expressed a contrary view. This is aside from Teachout “clarifying” her own statement. Instead of dealing with these various factual challenges, you’re just repeating yourself. Yawn.

  51. 51
    mikem says:

    Sorry, Juke. How could I have missed your clear reference to a reference, where you referenced the disclosure. What an idiot I are to miss that!
    So Kos can ‘fairly’ assume that
    all conservative pundits are into payola, but I am babbling to assume that Kos’ refusal to disclose his financial arrangements with his favored politicians doesn’t mean he actually has any? Please. Your loyalty to Kos is noted.
    You should allow the possibility that reasonable people can assume that Teachout, who was in charge of Internet aspects of the Dean campaign, backtracked after the hatemail and entreaties to withdraw the remarks. But your faith is touching.
    PS: “Much ado about nothing.”
    Of course, he is a leftist and must be protected, just as Teachout’s critics demanded.

  52. 52

    This blog is Payola-free

    John Cole at Balloon Juice makes a strong argument that Kos did nothing wrong and that people who are saying so are …

  53. 53

    Aim Those Stones Properly

    I have to agree with John Cole.  There may be other reasons to dislike Kos.  There may be reasons to disagree or even be revolted by what he believes or supports.  However, he practiced as full disclosure as anyone ought to feel they …

  54. 54

    NICE BALLOONS

    I was going to write about the most recent mugging of Markos Moulitsas, founder of the giant Daily Kos site, but conservatarian John Cole has said most of what needed to be said, as my good friend InstaPundit has approvingly…

  55. 55

    Is DailyKos Getting A Bum Rap?

    John Cole thinks so. I have to say, he presents the case forcefully and compellingly. Having bad politics is not the same as engaging in bad behavior. Kos did nothing wrong in taking money from the Deaniacs. (As contrasted to Armstrong Williams and…

  56. 56
    QandO says:

    Regarding the Kos/MyDD ethics questions

    Regarding the Kos/MyDD ethics questions that have arisen, this Balloon Juice post is required reading. Cole gets it exactly right…

  57. 57

    Righty defends KOS

    Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast tells us that one conservative blogger has come to Markos’s defense. I’m going to ad this guy to my Blogroll.

  58. 58

    Who needs Ethics when we’ve got “Journalism”!

    The Word for the Day is: “The Great Emincipator” Well… damn: System Offline January 20, 2005: This blog/site is no longer in service. I apologize for any bad links which sent you here only to find this message. Thank you to all who played and contrib…

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Who needs Ethics when we’ve got “Journalism”!

    The Word for the Day is: “The Great Emincipator” Well… damn: System Offline January 20, 2005: This blog/site is no longer in service. I apologize for any bad links which sent you here only to find this message. Thank you to all who played and contrib…

  2. Righty defends KOS

    Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast tells us that one conservative blogger has come to Markos’s defense. I’m going to ad this guy to my Blogroll.

  3. QandO says:

    Regarding the Kos/MyDD ethics questions

    Regarding the Kos/MyDD ethics questions that have arisen, this Balloon Juice post is required reading. Cole gets it exactly right…

  4. Is DailyKos Getting A Bum Rap?

    John Cole thinks so. I have to say, he presents the case forcefully and compellingly. Having bad politics is not the same as engaging in bad behavior. Kos did nothing wrong in taking money from the Deaniacs. (As contrasted to Armstrong Williams and…

  5. NICE BALLOONS

    I was going to write about the most recent mugging of Markos Moulitsas, founder of the giant Daily Kos site, but conservatarian John Cole has said most of what needed to be said, as my good friend InstaPundit has approvingly…

  6. Aim Those Stones Properly

    I have to agree with John Cole.  There may be other reasons to dislike Kos.  There may be reasons to disagree or even be revolted by what he believes or supports.  However, he practiced as full disclosure as anyone ought to feel they …

  7. This blog is Payola-free

    John Cole at Balloon Juice makes a strong argument that Kos did nothing wrong and that people who are saying so are …

Comments are closed.