P.S.: Kos repeats a boast he made in his "Townhouse" email, that the YearlyKos staffers
got a whole slew of corrections and apologies in response to pieces in the NY Times and Slate
Kos Wants Silence! TNR's Jason Zengerle has discovered one reason why normally fierce Kos defenders have been strangely silent on the Kosola controversy: In a message to "'Townhouse,' a private email list comprising elite liberal bloggers"--the authenticity of which seems to be undisputed--DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas has issued a
request to you guys [that] that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story. Then, once Jerome [Armstrong] can speak and defend himself, then I'll go on the offensive ... and anyone can pile on. If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let's starve it of oxygen.
A shrewd strategy, designed to prevent the Kosola scandalette from "making the jump to the traditional media." I've pursued the identical strategy myself, in analogous circumstances, though with a far less powerful and centralized institutional apparatus. So far, the "sheep-like" Kositburo members have largely complied. ...
The email also contains a cursory defense of Kosbuddy Jerome Armstrong signing a suggestive consent decree with the SEC ("he was a poor grad student at the time so he settled because he had no money"), plus some thuggy blustering about "lawsuits" and "exploring legal options." Kos offers no defense, in Zengerle's account, on the central moral (not legal) corruption at the heart of the Kosola scandal: whether one thing you get when you buy Jerome Armstrong's services is highly effective "access" to his co-author Kos--access that in practice affects Kos' loyalties and the direction he sends his followers. If that's the case, it seems just as corrupt (and just as non-illegal) as when a former Tom Delay aide sells himself to corporate clients in part on the basis of his "access" to the bigshot he used to work for. That's business as usual in Washington--but I thought the Kos reformers were supposed to be different.
If Armstrong did, as the S.E.C. alleged, tout an iffy Internet stock in exchange for "undisclosed compensation," that a) illustrates that some things that are legal in politics are less legal in business; b) suggests that, instead of following the traditional path to Beltway corruption--youthful idealism gradually transformed into mature access-peddling--Armstrong may have had a non-idealistic attitude from the start; and c) raises suspicions that Armstrong's candidate-touting generally has been less sincere than previously suspected (which in turn undermines the credibility of those, like Kos, who've let themselves be influenced by Armstrong).
Is the newly-discovered Kositburo itself a sinister institution? In recent years the right has behaved as if it had some sort of shadowy de facto steering committee. You figured the Left must have something like that--how else to explain why an antiwar site like Huffington Post would suddenly decide to seize the cheap partisan opportunity to posture as patriotic by making a show of opposing the Iraqi governments attempts to end violence through an amnesty program (and mocking the GOP's failure to similarly posture)? Maybe Arianna got a "Townhouse" email! ...
Meanwhile, the vaunted, all-powerful Right Wing Noise Machine turns out to be a guy in Jersey! ..
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