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.
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.