13 Jul 2006

Dissension In the Left’s Ranks Over Kosola Scandal

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Kos made FoxNews.com yesterday, with Noel Shepherd wondering: Is the Daily Kos About to Implode?

It appears that the post-Yearly Kos month from hell is continuing for Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the proprietor of the Internet’s premier liberal blog Daily Kos. After receiving some extremely negative press from major publications such as The New York Times, The New Republic and Newsweek immediately following his seemingly successful bloggers’ convention in Las Vegas, Kos is now faced with an even greater challenge: dissension within his ranks.

Such internal squabbling comes at the same time that many prominent Democrats seem to be privately expressing concern about the direction the “netroots” — the self-described Internet grassroots movement of liberal bloggers and their loyal followers — are taking the Party. This seemingly inconvenient planetary alignment is not only threatening the long-term viability of this crusade, but also is putting Kos in an uncomfortable position just as his notoriety is skyrocketing.

As reported here on June 30, revelations about Kos’s friend and former business partner Jerome Armstrong — from stock fraud allegations to accepting consulting fees from not so liberal candidates — have cast a cloud over the blog and its leader. This pall has also undermined the stellar relationship Kos has had with the traditional media up to this point.

Yet, maybe more important, these revelations — along with the way Markos and his Kossacks reacted to them — have caused some prominent DKos bloggers to question the behavior of Zuniga and his devotees. Such a civil war within the liberal blogosphere certainly has the potential to further discredit it, while likely making the mainstream media as well as the candidates they revere less apt to associate with this developing train wreck.

Some prominent bloggers on the left have even begun to criticize Kos. Last Saturday, KosKid Maryscott O’Connor, in a posting titled Something is Rotten in Blogmark, condemned the customary Partyline mentality which flourishes on Daily Kos:

Sometimes I am embarrassed to call myself a member of DKos.

This is one of those times.

There is a sort of groupthink, Lord of the Flies kind of behaviour at DKos over certain issues that absolutely makes me nauseated…

Increasingly, I have begun to feel intimidated or wary about writing my thoughts and doubts about these issues, lest I be set upon by a pack of Defenders of the Kos. It is this sense of intimidation that spurs me to write this, among other reasons: when I start censoring myself because I’m afraid I’ll be punished with disapproval, anyone’s disapproval, I know I’m allowing others’ opinions to matter too much to me. I shouldn’t be deciding what to say and not to say online based on any anticipated reaction.

And predicted that not even the left blogosphere’s chorus of howler-monkeys can ultimately succeed in shouting down questions about the exchange of the Kos’ influence for cash. The Kosola scandal “WILL NOT GO AWAY simply because some people don’t think Markos should be held to the standards that he WILL, ultimately, BE held to.”

But many on the left, like Steve Gilliard, think lefties should

“Say nothing bad about Commander Kos.”

They’re scurrying to the barricades over on DailyKos today, posting defensively about the media’s “obsession with trying to bring down the progressive netroots.”


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