Kosola Cover-Up?

TNR’s Jason Zengerle has what he purports to be an email from Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos to several big name liberal bloggers asking them to starve the story about his and Jerome Armstrong’s alleged blog-for-pay scheme of oxygen by simply ignoring it. The close:

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.

So far, it seems to be working in that the left side of the blogosphere has virtually ignored the controversy.

Stirling Newberry says he’s on this email list calls this charge “libel, in the clearest and most legally exacting use of the word.” He “can state for a fact that there has been no coordinated conspiracy to defend Markos. It is true that people who are Markos close supporters have, publicly, urged that the blogsphere strike back at what is clearly a smear. That’s called loyalty and it is an important quantity in politics.” Frankly, I find the juxtaposition of these things confusing. The email is certainly a coordinated effort to silence discussion and the charge is that there has been little effort to defend Markos on the left from some rather serious charges.

Greg Wythe generally thinks the Kos-ola story “a smear” but is angry that Kos is sending out emails telling people to shut up while simultaneously getting angry at being called a “gatekeeper.”

Ann Althouse believes “the underlying story — the one in need of oxygen starvation — is even more disturbing than the notion that seemingly independent bloggers are ‘sheep.'”

Sean-Paul Kelley thinks TNR is “purposefully trying to destroy an icon of progressive politics, especially when he is legally precluded from commenting on the issue.” Which is nonsense. Armstrong is precluded from talking about his SEC plea bargain, not these blogola charges. And Kos has no restrictions whatsoever.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Or is it just the same influence that prevents conservative blogs from covering Ron Suskind’s new book?

  2. James Joyner says:

    There’s been tons of conservative coverage of Suskind’s book, including here. Which is pretty good considering the book isn’t out yet.

  3. Ugh says:

    I’m guessing that Armstrong asked Kos to not talk about it and ask others to do the same and Kos agreed as a favor to a friend. Also, Armstrong would look pretty lame denying the blogola charge and then having to say he can’t talk about the other one.

    FYI – You mis-typed SEC.

  4. So if Nixon had sent out a memo asking people to ignore the Watergate story, that wouldn’t be signs of a cover up.

    From what I read the implications of the original story is pretty minimal. The implications that the left side of the blogosphere are sheep is staggering. I have heard conservatives talk about Kos being a Rovian plot given his record of loses, his record of funneling money into losing campaigns and his record of pushing the democrats away from the political center. But if they can willingly forgo thought and discussion on as basic a question as credibility, maybe there is something to the idea. It certainly doesn’t look like principles is their motivation.

  5. i can’t believe SPK is still posting after his little “fib” that he got caught about. regardless of that, he isn’t usually right about anything.

  6. Blue says:

    Kos has spent most of the last three years attacking TNR and the reasonable wing of the Democratic party. He shouldn’t be surprised that, when the worm turns, it bites.

    But then, he really is ignorant about the basic facts of political life.

  7. Toog says:

    A deep analysis of the Leftist Mind will reveal an ‘ends justify the means’ belief. Anything can be done to support the cause. Hypocrisy, morals, and even personal safety do not matter.

    And regarding Kos bloggers, hell, they even mourn Zarqawi in some cases.

  8. Jim Treacher says:

    Now, did Sean-Paul Kelley actually write that himself?

  9. Ernst Blofeld says:

    Remember Kos’ pending declaration of war on the DLC, saying than in two weeks they’d make the DLC radioactive? That was posted on August 22, 2005. It seems that Armstrong was hired by the DLC-ite Warner in August, 2005. I wonder what the exact hire date was.

  10. What Jim said… I’m not sure I’d use Sean-Paul as my authority on blogger ethics. Your mileage may (of course) vary.

  11. Brett says:

    I don’t think Stirling Newberry has the slightest idea what the clearest and most legally-exacting definition of libel is, else he probably wouldn’t be busy making a complete ass of himself by claiming Zengerle’s article is defamatory.

  12. Mark says:

    Now, did Sean-Paul Kelley actually write that himself?

    Funniest damn thing I have read in a while. And to think I nearly forgot about that sorry episode!

  13. McGehee says:

    And to think I nearly forgot about that sorry episode!

    I’ll bet Sean-Paul has been Biden his time hoping that would happen.

  14. TownHouseGate.

  15. Anderson says:

    Thereâ??s been tons of conservative coverage of Suskindâ??s book, including here. Which is pretty good considering the book isnâ??t out yet.

    I stand partially corrected–Time naturally didn’t lead with the portions embarrassing to the White House.

    But the book came out yesterday. I’m 30 pages into it. Same pluses and minuses as Woodward’s books–stenography, not journalism. Suskind’s not writing a history, alas. But if his sources are accurate, which will take some cross-checking, then it’s quite a book.

    In related news, the PBS website for that Dark Side feature on Cheney is just teeming with interesting interviews on the CIA, al Qaeda, etc. Guaranteed to absorb an hour of your time, you who care about such things. Site says the show itself will be viewable online come Thursday night.

  16. RW says:

    Ernst brings up a good point about the then-promised war with the DLC, which the diminutive kos backed off of (hadn’t thought of the Armstrong hiring afterwards angle, though).
    I’d be willing to bet that the chances that he goes through with a single libel lawsuit are similar to the actual “war” he was going to wage against the DLC. Some people, based on my experience, get a sudden rush of bravado and testosterone when they’re sitting at their PC.

  17. McGehee says:

    Or is it just the same influence that prevents conservative blogs from covering Ron Suskind�s new book?

    You mean the one in which he made this bonehead mistake?

    In a new book, author Ron Suskind claims British Intelligence knew the U.S. was monitoring Mohammed Siddique Khan for his ties to a Virginia jihadist � and that he’d been banned from the country in 2003 for planning to attack U.S. synagogues.

    Trouble is, the London Telegraph reports that the British Khan with Virginia connections who was placed on the U.S. no-fly list was not Mohammed Siddique Khan, who was teaching at a Yorkshire elementary school, but Mohammed Ajmal Khan, who’s now serving 9 years in a British prison.