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06.21.06

THE BLOGOSPHERE'S SMOKE-FILLED BACKROOM:

Are Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas (of the famous Daily Kos) engaged in a pay-for-play scheme in which politicians who hire Armstrong as a consultant get the support of Kos? That's the question that's been bouncing around the blogosphere ever since The New York Times's Chris Suellentrop broke the news last Friday about a 2000 run-in Armstrong had with the Securities and Exchange Commission over alleged stock touting. But Armstrong, Kos, and other big-time liberal bloggers have almost entirely ignored the issue, which is a bit surprising considering their tendency to rapidly respond to even the smallest criticism.

Why the strange silence in the face of such damning allegations? Well, I think we now know the answer. It's a deliberate strategy orchestrated by Kos. TNR obtained a missive Kos sent earlier this week to "Townhouse," a private email list comprising elite liberal bloggers, including Jane Hamsher, Matt Stoller, and Christy Hardin Smith. And what was Kos's message to this group that secretly plots strategy in the digital equivalent of a smoke-filled backroom? Stay mum! He wrote (emphasis added below):

The YearlyKos media people have already forced corrections at Slate and NY Times (Suellentrop's blog). There has been some serious overreach by the few outlets that picked up this story (which as I mentioned before has been shopped around). It was interesting how this one piddly-ass story was used to try and smear Jerome, me, AND YearlyKos.

So the only paper to run this as a news story is the disgraceful NY Post. Others who picked up on it have had to backtrack from their original sensationalistic claims.

I am exploring legal options against some of the wingnut bloggers who are claiming I'm syphoning netroots money into consultants and my own pockets. Note how Glenn Reynolds is fueling it with his typical passive aggressive, "I don't think it's a big deal, but let me provide links to everyone who thinks this is THE BIGGEST STORY EVER!"

And Jerome's case, if it could be aired out, is a non-story (he was a poor grad student at the time so he settled because he had no money). Jerome can't talk about it now since the case is not fully closed. But once it is, he'll go on the offensive. That should be a couple of months off.

This story will percolate in wingnut circles until then, but I haven't gotten a single serious media call about it yet. Not one. So far, this story isn't making the jump to the traditional media, and we shouldn't do anything to help make that happen.

My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story. Then, once Jerome can speak and defend himself, then I'll go on the offensive (which is when I would file any lawsuits) and anyone can pile on. If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let's starve it of oxygen. And without the "he said, she said" element to the story, you know political journalists are paralyzed into inaction.

Thanks, markos

So far, Kos's friends in the fiercely independent liberal blogosphere seem to have displayed a sheep-like obedience to his dictat. And while it's true that Kos himself hinted at the controversy in this blog post yesterday, he didn't come anywhere close to addressing the questions that really matter. You might even call Kos and company's behavior in this whole affair just another case of politics as usual. So much for crashing the gates.

P.S. Was Armstrong really, as Kos claims, a "poor grad student" when he settled with the SEC? Armstrong agreed to the settlement in December 2003. That was eleven months after he and Kos started their political consulting business and six months after the two were hired by the Dean campaign at a rate of $3,000 a month.

--Jason Zengerle

posted 12:33 p.m.
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posted by renshaw on 2006-06-22 18:38:05 [respond] 

Those of you moronic enough to accuse Jason of not discussing this with those involved, I'd point out that EVERY ARTICLE HAS MENTIONED THAT THEY REFUSE TO TALK ABOUT IT. Try using your goddam brains instead of instantly spraying bile at anyone who bad-mouths your pop-idiot iconoclast.

classy
posted by matthew-newman on 2006-06-22 23:42:52 [respond] 

Nice time to take a cheap shot at Hamsher, just as her mother is dying.

Classy, but no less than I'd expect from Stephen Glass' fact-checker.


posted by nancyirving on 2006-06-28 23:49:48 [respond] 

$3000/mo, for the two of us? Where do I sign up for this gravy-train?


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