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.
*** 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 journalist