Some of you may’ve followed a controversy of a few weeks ago in which Markos Moulitsas asked members of a private discussion group not to discuss a pending SEC investigation against his friend and sometime business partner, Jerome Armstrong. The New Republic seized on Moulitsas’ missive as if was marching orders from the Don himself. From there, David Brooks and Chris Suellentrop (both of the NY Times) picked up the story and ridiculed Kos for what they viewed as his George Patton-like performance. None of this struck me as particularly important or interesting.
But Suellentrop at The Opinionator did broach what I thought was an important issue. He pointed out that Kos at one time (working for Sherrod Brown), and Armstrong even now (Mark Warner) do political consulting while running/writing political websites. So the obvious question, at least to me, is how does a political blogger who endorses candidates at his site create a transparent environment when he may also be consulting for–or have some other undisclosed relationship with–some of these same candidates? Peter Daou has gotten himself into the same potential pickle (at least in my opinion) by announcing he would join HIllary Clinton’s campaign while still maintaining his Daou Report at Salon. All this strikes me as a conflict of interest waiting to happen. Perhaps not the most heinous or troubling conflict of interest. But given the level of hackery and puffery in politics (including online politics), I feel it’s important that bloggers fully disclose such relationships.
I wrote a post about this and republished it as a diary at Daily Kos. To be clear, I explicitly said that I wasn’t raising this issue in order to attack or criticize Kos. Rather, I was raising it in an attempt to keep the entire playing field as level as possible. I also, in this post, specifically criticized John Thune‘s behavior in hiring political bloggers to create sites which savaged Tom Daschle without revealing their affiliation with Thune. I added that I found this Republican behavior even more troubling than that of Armstrong or Kos.
In short, I expected some might not like what I wrote. But I simply wasn’t prepared for the onslaught. There were of course the gratuitous insults, deliberate distortions and other doo-doo humor in the comments thread. There’s this from Boadicea:
You’re missing a tag “Things blown out of my butt about which I am completely, utterly clueless”.
And there was this delightful one from Opendna of the (I kid you not) Socal Cossacks Network, which only proved the validity of my code of ethics concept:
You’re a prostitute, eh?
Are you suggesting that I must be willing to compromise my ethics for a couple thousand dollars in consulting fees?
Are you suggesting that I’m such a cheap intellectual whore that I’ll endorse someone because they take out advertising on my blog?
Them’s fighting words, bitch. Say’em to my face and I’ll put you on your back.
That you’d even ask these questions suggests you have no respect for your own integrity – it’s for sell cheap, eh? Would you lie to America $10K? Evidently, you would.
Some of us put a higher value on their integrity. slutSome of us make our living on our integrity. Just because you’re a $1000 ho, doesn’t mean the rest of us are. So, yeah, maybe we get a little agitated when someone challenges it with nothing to back them up.
In short: You ain’t shit. Try again.
To hear an ass like this talk of “integrity” and “ethics” makes a mockery of the very terms. He may “make a living” but certainly not on his integrity.
And there was oh so much more. First, in the Kos diaries anyone may add tags to a diary entry. So some of the ‘really mature’ site members take it upon themselves to police diaries they don’t like by adding malicious tags. That’s what a delightful schmuck named Boadicea did. [UPDATE: Boadicea below claims she did not engage in this behavior. Apparently, when she suggested to me (in the comment quoted above) that I add a tag that would’ve been malicious in nature, this gave another Kos coward the brilliant idea to do so. But the ‘credit’ for the above quoted comment is still all hers.] So I edited my diary entry to remove the malicious tags. Then, I contacted the site admin to report the tagging behavior and ask that the tagger not repeat this behavior.
Since the overall tone of the comments were so distressing and uniformly insulting I let the diary slide for a week or so and only yesterday visited it again. I found new malicious tags (“Concern Troll, Blah, blah, blah, schmuckery”) to replace the earlier ones. The effect of wiping out real tags and replacing them with insulting ones is that your diary is no longer available for searching since the real keywords which a reader might search have disappeared. The bad apples have essentially “disappeared” your diary (at least from the search process). I’ve replaced them yet again with legitimate tags. But of course the diary is now so old that it won’t matter.
In the diary’s comment thread I wrote a comment just after posting the diary replying to some misunderstandings/distortions raised by other commenters. Since commenters were claiming I was ignorant of Kos’ record on this issue, I asked readers to post links to any statements he might’ve made so that I could educate myself. Wonder of wonders, that comment too has disappeared.
Yesterday, I wrote another post to the site admin asking for an explanation of this behavior. So far, neither of my two e mails has received a reply.
And the final oddity of this whole episode is that several commenters told me in no uncertain terms to delete my diary (“This diary should be deleted”). I simply couldn’t believe it. Given what I thought was the nuance I tried to add to my post, why would Kos’ protectors and defenders get so indignant that they’d insist that I delete the post. What was my crime? What was so damaging about the diary?
I want to make clear that I am a progressive Democrat (which is why I’ve posted diaries at Daily Kos for quite some time) and I have no love for David Brooks or the New Republic. But I have to say that behavior like what I’ve described above–not just behavior by members, but apparently behavior aided and abetted by the site administrator/s–allows me to understand some of the criticism of Kos and his site flung at him by his critics. My treatment made me feel more like I was participating in a cult in which I’d insulted the chief leader and was receiving the deep six treatment in response.
We Democrats critical of precisely this type of rigid, censorious, know-it-all behavior on the part of conservatives? What is wrong with questioning our standards and behavior once in a while? Must one be labelled a “concern troll” and political enemy for suggesting that political bloggers observe a code of ethics? What are the people at Daily Kos afraid of?
Maryscott O'Connor says
As I commented far too late to have made a difference:”
I am simply amazed at the reception diaries like this get.
And yet, not so very amazed, at all.
For the record, I am a longtime member of this site, I considerMarkos a warm acquaintance — but I see absolutely nothing wrong with this diary. It asks questions and posits theories — but the ludicrous extent of the defensive reflexive responses is absolutely embarrassing to me.
I wish I could apologise to you on behalf ofthe entire membership of DKos — but I fear most of them would be repelled by such temerity.
I can’t quite reconcile my vision of this community with this blind spot, this INABILITY to even accept the PRESENCE of questions about their putative leaderl. It freaks me the fuck out.
What were your thoughts of Judy Miller and the Neocons and the NYT all in bed with each other bankrupting our country, in their treasonous attempt at using the power and might of the US to support Israel in its lunacy – that of dominating the M.E. brick by brick. Destroy Iraq, take over the Garden of Eden, destroy Iran, destroy Saudi Arabia, …
The Israeli cult has our country by its throat so strong and so bad you can spot a conflict of interest as long and thick as the Great Wall of China with NYT and WaPo and its embedded cronies, and you’re worried about the little gnat Dkos.
Michael Hampton says
You were participating in a cult and got deep-sixed. Be glad you’re out. 🙂
As for being progressive, I doubt it. At least not the “progressives'” idea of progressive. Unlike them, you are still capable of rational thought. 🙂
MSOC brought this to our attention, and for that she is applauded, rightly so.
I do think we blue people are better people than red people, and we should conduct ourselves accordingly. As such, we eschew ad hominem appeals to character; we place rules, logic, morality, and laws above people. MSOC herself knows how corrosive the cults can be; they distort the message – go watch Fox News for the official source of this.
The thought that comments can get ‘disappeared’ is quite chilling, and enough for me to consider a GBCW of my own! That would be the very height of hypocrisy, and a debasement of everything I think kos and his band of merry FPers say they stand for.
Of course, if I left Dkos, the site would tank, so I consider such a move with caution (and snark), but if someone were to present me with evidence of comment deleting (without reasonable cause, such as obscenity, libel, or childishness), I feel I would have no choice. Pity.
I just found this post via the comments on MSOC’s current diary. For my part, I apologize for the treatment you received at dkos. I too have tangled with some of the self-appointed vigilantes who pick fights and troll-rate (which causes a comment and dependent comments to disappear) comments with which they disagree.
Please do understand that it’s a small group of idiots that haven’t quite matured yet though their physical ages may mislead on that point. There are many, many more who do appreciate thoughtful diaries such as the one you posted.
Please do not allow your voice to be silenced by them.
Joel Oats says
This is why the far-Left will never win.The majority of America,Dems or Repubs,just don’t believe in what their view of America should be.
I read this comment and subsequent diary by MaryScottO and all I can say is Kos’ underlying social network is arcane and mysterious, what with the secret ratings by longtimers et al, and many have developed quite a chip on their shoulder regarding “their” webspace. I enjoy posting there but sense an underlying outsiderness to my treatment that is difficult to put into words.
All I can say is, Markos doen’t endorse this behavior , and might be troubled by his moderator’s actions, but bottom line is, it’s his lemonade stand, and you either relate to things or not. I’m not sure that a cal for transparency is what is needed there, as the fakeyness of such a stand is glaring, I suspect it would end up a LOT like Fox News’ claim of being “Fair and Balanced”. You can say “transparent” but it’s still “online”, and my feeling is no one should ever be trusted completely there. This process is temp[ered by previous participations at other spots where a less than transparent nature existed. KOs does a good thing, but to expect it to become a shining beacon on a hill is really a bit much.
Same thing happened to me, A diary on ethics, read the comments. I think you’ll find some interesting comments there…people on your diary as well.
BTW never, never question Howard Dean, you won’t live to tell the tale
Molon Labe says
It doesn’t matter how righteous your goals or how true you are to ideals. On the Left, integrity will always be shouted down and denounced by those who want power and control. Mouthing the party line, suppressing dissent, and denouncing free thinkers are the keys to success in your world, and those keys are available to both the unscrupulous and the honest.
But Treachery always trumps.
Do you think Stalin was a true communist?
vome minnesota says
I wasn’t even aware of this diary, and hadn’t really understood the entire “controversy.” I commented in your diary, and I’m not sure I should go through what I wrote all over. Suffice it to say I think that you’ve been measured in tone, and I think you raise relevant questions about ethics and transparency. I ultimately believ e that we should compare ourselves to our ideals and not to what the R’s are doing. It’s just that things are so bitter in the greater political environment, and there is a lot of despair on the left regarding the erosion of civil rights, that, perhaps, ceding any ground to demands previously made by outside opponents (like Brooks and TNR) feels like the beltway dem again apologizing for something an R never would, thus making “us” look weak.
I wish I had better answers, but all I can say is I’m sorry you were treated that way on what’s supposed to be a community. I think your questions are valid, and they way they are presented is calm and nonaccusatory. Maybe some of us need a little dkos holiday…
these are the comments I made, if you are at all interested, richards1052
vome minnesota says
forgot to add the url: http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2006/6/27/2334/04115/54#c54
Richard Silverstein says
Maryscott O’Connor: I can’t tell you how much yr comment means to me. I felt truly alone & horrified by the tenor of the comments left at my diary. I too have been a member at Dkos for some time but prob. not as active as you. I knew when I posted that diary that some might not like it (which is why I tried to couch it carefully) but I had no idea the level of vitriol I would find.
I have another 10 moderated comments to plow through that must’ve come fr. someone who posted at DK about this yesterday or today. If they’re all as bad as what was posted at my original diary then yours will more than make up for it.
Thank you for getting it, not just my original diary, but the critique of the protective,defensive attitude found at the site which I published in this post at my blog.
I didn’t know of yr site before this but I’ll certainly be visiting.
Richard Silverstein says
Dwahzon: Thanks for yr comment & also for clearing up the mystery of my deleted Dkos comment. I had no idea that my comment could be “disappeared” by a negative troll rating. That seems outrageous for the site admin to structure the site that way. I also find the fact that the site doesn’t discourage malicious tagging to be distressing.
I left a comment on your diary today, and I’ll reprint most of it here (the first part had to do with a cheap shot someone took at Armando, so therefore it’s unnecessary to include it here):
I’m not suggesting you delete the diary, because I think the idea is useful to debate. Markos has been clear in the past about his consulting work ,and has been clear in denying he is engaging in anything of the sort currently or recently. I wrote in MSOC’s diary that Markos shouldn’t have to face a microscope like others because he is not in a position of power. I will call anyone on what I think is wrong. I lost TU status after a two-week hiatus from dKos, so I can’t currently troll-rate anyone, and I wouldn’t have troll-rated you, btw, but when I’ve issued troll-ratings, it’s after I think it over for a couple of minutes. Too many people have been too quick with them, I agree, but they were upset over a diary they (and I) saw as harmful. Armando went overboard in suggesting a deletion, but it’s his right to say it, your right to defend the diary, and mine to call it as I see it. On a basic level, Markos, Jerome, Duncan, whomever should be held to a standard of listing their consultancies. They shouldn’t have to open up every little bit of their lives because some friend works for this guy who works for that guy. Furthermore, eating our own on this distracts us from taking back power from those who seek to destroy us and our great nation.
Alright, I’m getting off the soapbox for tonight.
Richard Silverstein says
Thad: I did just read yr comment at my DKos diary & I think much of what you write is fair & I thank you for it even though we don’t see eye to eye (or despite the fact that we don’t).
But I think people are missing the point by only focussing on consulting as an issue. There are many ways in which political bloggers might relate to candidates. They, or members of their immediately families might work for one. They might accept paid advertising in their blogs. They might write a speech for one. They might do research for one. My point is meant to be more comprehensive than my critics are making it out to be. In other words, I think political bloggers (not just Kos btw) need to disclose these matters. And not just in a single post. Perhaps there should be a special part of every political blogger’s site called something like “political disclosure statement.” There one could list all these issues so that it would be linked in yr blogroll & easy to find.
Again, I’m not taking potshots at Kos just for the helluvit. I’m trying to think ahead to the fierce campaigns down the road when we hope to take back Congress & the White House. Do you want to have DKos or other sites smeared or discredited merely because they didn’t think through sufficiently issues involving conflict of interest or ethics? We’ve got to think a little like our enemies on this to anticipate what they’ll fling at us & counter it before it becomes an issue.
And as for whether or not I got facts wrong in my diary, I don’t claim perfection. But I think Maryscott’s story essentially covers the same ground as my diary. Tell me whether or not she got the facts wrong. I sure doubt it. And in all the disgusting comments Armando left at My Left Wing he never once actually stooped to analyzing the substance of what she wrote. MSOC wrote far more powerfully & persuasively than I, I freely admit. If you don’t buy what I wrote then look at what she wrote.
I have never posted or commented at Kos, but this strikes me as the real problem with your post. And no, I don’t condone the juvenile reaction to “some” of the commenters.
First, if you see a blog ad for a candidate on a blog, that’s you’re disclosure right there. If you don’t make the connection that a financial transaction has taken place over the ad, well I doubt any other notification would get through to you.
As for consulting for a candidate, Kos has always disclosed such activities. You’re complaint seems to be that he doesn’t post this disclosure on a daily basis but I think that’s just as petty as the comments you complain of. If a blogger’s brother’s neighbor’s barber volunteers for a candidate, or even his brother himself, that’s not reflecting on the blogger and really none of your business.
But hey, you managed to get a link from Mickey Kaus who I suspect is more of your type of “progressive” so perhaps this whole affair worked out precisely as you planned?
ann adams says
I think I got here on a circuitous route from Democratic Underground and I’m no one you’ve ever heard of.
I share a tiny political blog with another great-grandmother and I read KOS for the information; not for the comments. I don’t have time and it gets a little ugly on some of the big blogs for me.
That being said, I’m disturbed that you, and others like you, are being attacked or censored. This isn’t a criticism of Markos; I don’t know enough about it to do that,
I do believe we have to be very sure our own houses are in order and that involves transparency open dialogue.
Mike Rogers says
Sure they can “explain” it all away… But how htey defend that Ken Lay like Armstrong for stealing money in the stock market is the one thing that shows these people are absolutely incapable of looking at these matters objectively.
We all know the deal with Armstrong and his band of thugs… They are exactly what Karl Rove was 20 years ago. Shady, in the background, operators who move money, favors, and their blind followers without being held into account.
And, oh… god bless the 501(c)3’s that somehow seem to help pay for all this…. but that’s another matter entirely.
Mark Spittle says
Unfortunately, the lure of career and cash pollutes the left (even though it RULES the right.) Your points are dead-on accurate. Between DKos and MyDD, the conflicts of interest are mounting to levels which cannot be ignored. These characters must be held to change course or be derided. We as progressives must always be above suspicion, beyond reproach, and perfect in every way. The least little slip runs through the conservative echo machine and comes out at deafening levels. We have to TRY to be perfect.
Unfortunately, it’s clear to me that Kos and Armstrong and Stoller and Bowers and some others are trying to build a career in politics — and failing that, “journalism” — using buzzwords like “liberal,” “progressive” and “netroots” as building blocks. I’ve been regularly chastised for pointing out the hypocrisy in supporting Murtha and denouncing Lieberman (Murtha’s voting record is far to the right of Lieberman), and for supporting Republican-Lite candidates like Lamont or Warner or even Clinton. (You listenin’, Daou?) I was recently called a “Bolshevik” because I wouldn’t move to the center and support Warner.
My view is the “netroots” isn’t “people-powered” until is starts developing true Progressive candidates (capital P) and runs them for office, rather than just turning websites like MyDD and Kos into fundraising telethon mutant offspring that do nothing but help guys get into office — guys that we are going to have serious issues with later, like Lieberman.
Develop and run Progressives. That’s where the power in people-powered politics is.
Michael Hampton says
I simply don’t do political consulting. It makes things much easier for me. 🙂
Besides, I’m apparently too honest to be a politician…
I’ve yet to have a single comment of mine stand on Kos. (I gave up tryiing a long time ago. I’m just not a diplomat, I guess.) Every single one has been deleted and I’ve never been profane or insulting or (I don’t think!) childish. I think this happens all the time to people who try to write in and correct factual errors or ask a serious (not snarky) question. So what remains is everybody posting thinks they have an unquestionable narrative going- Wow- nobody has questioned my logic or facts (because the posts disappear) so it must be unquestionably solid!
One of my posts even got cited in another blog a long time ago asking the question “why was this innocuous post deleted?” This type of censorship is dismaying to observe, and very frustrating to the person who’s posts have been banished who is trying to join in the conversation. You wonder how many asses you must kiss and/or whom you have to ingratiate yourself with to be allowed a “voice.” It’s icky. But there are so many times when somebody writes something that is just plain not factual and I don’t have a way to correct it. It’s just not right.
Richard: “They, or members of their immediately families might work for one. They might accept paid advertising in their blogs. They might write a speech for one. They might do research for one. My point is meant to be more comprehensive than my critics are making it out to be.”
I sure wonder whether you’re carrying water for your masters in NYT, AIPAC, THE NeoCons (Richard Perle, Wolfowitz et al), NONE of whom tell the US citiznery when they are privately or publicly pushing US policy one way, while being obedient to their M.E. masters the other way. There is such a terrible opaqueness about the influence of Israel and her agents in EVERY sphere of the media, (press AND TV), Wall Street, K Street, Pentagon-WH-and everyother square inch of DC! Ask every dual Israeli/US citizen to disclose that prior to any public pontificating on what the US should and shouldn’t do before being so virtuous about your fears for Dkos!
Some of us know exactly where some of the pressure to pull down Dkos comes from!
YOU reveal your conflicts first of all!
Yeah, the great Jewish conspiracy to control the world. Wants to pull down Kos…… then how come the vast majority of Jews in the US are Democrats? I guess they didn’t get the memo.
I enjoyed your post. I am all too often branded a troll by the Various ” Left” Websites. I think without knowing it “Anon” in the post above just proved your point. Or I could be Anon and just wrote the above post to prove your point and then post for a second time under “Troll” to futher demostrate your point.??
Background: I read DailyKos for headlines I won’t see on Washington Post and that’s about it. I’ve briefly met Markos, and enjoyed hearing him speak. I think that’s all the full disclosure I need.
First, any online community, be it sports, politics, fashion, video game, or whatever, is going to have a middle school atmosphere. If you don’t believe me, check out ANY Internet message board with open access. Someone will have founded said message board and that person will be afforded a bit of deference. If you think about it, it just kind of makes sense. You questioned the owner of a popular website. That you didn’t expect legions of people to defend said owner seems naive to me. Cults of personality — again, this is not simply relegated to lefty websites; talk radio, churches and any other organization with a membership are all very similar — happen.
However, I don’t understand how you could fill either “ill” or “threatened” by comments placed on a diary on the Internet. Think that part through — you were “threatened” by “comments” placed on a “diary” on the Internet. Doesn’t this seem a tad bit ludicrous to you? I think most of political punditry, on all levels, needs to chill the F out. This isn’t just Mary Scott O’Connor or Ben Domenech or Micky Kaus or David Broder or David Brooks. These people, all of them, live in their respective spheres of isolation talking about the fate of the world. Obviously, there will be disagreements. To act surprised that your disagreement with a major political figure’s ethics elicited controversy seems very naive. Extremely so.
Much of this disagreement, sepcially in online forums, can be easily solved by shutting off the computer and picking up a book. Ignorant and high strung people will say ignorant and high strung things. If you don’t expect that, maybe you should choose a different hobby.
“I do think we blue people are better people than red people,”
That is why you keep losing elections. Do you really think you superior to those who hold different political beliefs from you? Are you so sure your political beliefs that anyone who thinks differently is somehow defective or inferior?
Are someone’s political beliefs the entirety of what make them a bad or good person? That’s a pretty shallow view of life.
That sounds pretty cult-like to me.
“If you don’t think the way we do, if you don’t vote the way we do, if you don’t hate the people we hate you are an inferior person.” Sorry, but that’s a really bigoted attitude. You’ve assumed based on one aspect of a person that you and everyone who agrees with you politically is better than they are.
Doesn’t sound very liberal or progressive to me.
Richard Silverstein says
Davebo your comment is Lame-o:
First, I have a Ned Lamont ad displayed in my sidebar. Did I receive any ad revenue for posting it? No. So there goes yr theory that displaying an ad means you received money fr. a candidate.
Another distortion. I wrote that the disclosure should be made some place that is visible & accessible not that Kos or whoever should make it “on a daily basis.”
I see. So my suggestion that all political bloggers post their disclosures on their blog prominently is “just as petty” as a DKos commenter who tells me to “blow it out my ass?” That’s quite a sense of judgment & balance you have.
Why must you be so goddamn snarky? I don’t even read Mickey Kaus because the few times I have he’s made me ill. You think I should shut up about political blogging & conflicts of interest because someone neither of us likes might link to it & use it for their own purpose? Puh-leeze grow up. Mickey Kaus linked to this because a group of Kos protectors led by Armando decided on trashing me and my diary and Maryscott thought it was a really bad thing to do. If they’d thought better of their idiotic behavior then none of this would’ve happened. There’s a rule of human conduct, treat people like shit & you might live to regret it. Or not. Armando seems to delight in his self-righteousness & I’m sure feels he did nothing wrong in troll rating my comment & leading the charge against me. Sometimes karma works.
Richard Silverstein says
Anon: Thank you for that lovely anti-Semitic comment. And you’re such an idiot. This blog is one of the harshest blogs written by a Jew that you will read about the neocons and the Israel lobby & its influence on U.S. Mideast policy. You can read can’t you? Why don’t you do a search on any of the above terms in this blog & read what I have to say before you spout yr. stupid comments.
I just love the dual loyalty canard. It makes for such fun anti-Semitic reading. I’d say with defenders like you Kos will expand his credibility exponentially.
Richard Silverstein says
Mike: We don’t see eye to eye on this at all. It’s ridiculous to compare Jerome Armstrong’s behavior to Ken Lay or Karl Rove. To me at least, Armstrong’s stock touting was shady & duplicitous. But it was behavior on a small scale compared to the behemoth of ethical impropriety & illegality engaged in by the 2 Republicans you name.
Let’s keep things in perspective.
Richard Silverstein says
Wow, that’s a bit too devious & conspiratorial for even me to follow. Besides, your IP & Anon’s are different so I don’t think you’re one & the same. At least I hope not.
But you’re absolutely right that Anon’s comment does prove my point about how vicious we progressives can be to ea. other. Can we make a credible claim to deserve to govern when we have such hate lurking in our midst?
To the blog owner:
I’m a conservative, and I have participated on conservative blogs and discussion boards. The kind of behavior you describe sometimes takes place among conservatives too.
I’ve been on conservative sites/blogs where some conservatives are saying very rude or hateful things about a person (usually liberal), and I’ve stepped in and asked them to stop.
Some of my fellow conservatives make fun of the Corrie girl and have nick-named her “St. Pancake,” as she was run over by a bulldozer at some protest a couple of years ago.
I believe that sort of behavior is wrong, and I’ve mentioned it to them. I don’t agree with Corrie’s political views, but to pick on a dead girl is in poor taste.
On the other hand, a liberal woman posting to one site said she was shocked to see other liberals on a liberal blog making fun of Ronald Regan’s Alzheimers disease as well as his death.
Both sides engage in this sort of disgusting behavior, unfortunately.
Anyway, for trying to get fellow conservatives to act in a more polite, upstanding manner, I get flamed by them.
A liberal woman at a conservative board told the moderators (who are conservatives) that one or two conservative posters in another forum there were genuinely scaring her because they were making threats against her.
I followed that thread for awhile to see what the moderators would do.
I was appalled that the moderators there didn’t take this liberal woman seriously. Some posters in that thread even made fun of the woman for being scared and asking for help.
The moderators acted as if they did not care. I was relatively new to the board, but I felt the need to speak up.
The attitude from the mods seemed to be that if it’s a liberal being harassed, ‘so what, who cares?’ I got the distinct impression if the roles were reversed (liberals picking on a conservative) that the moderators would’ve been all over it.
I piped in, noted that I’m a conservative, and I said if her accusations were true, the moderators should step in and put a halt to it.
I politely explained that conservative moderators shouldn’t selectively enforce board rules (which had policies against threats and harassment), i.e., choose to ignore them if it was a liberal being picked on.
I was immediately flamed by some of the conservatives there, one of whom said he wanted to “shove me in front of a bus.”
I would never dream of telling anyone in person, over the web, or where ever else, that I want them to drop dead, be shoved in front of a bus, or be harmed in some other fashion. To do so is just utterly perverse.
But too many hold the attitude, “Well, they’re just words on the web, so who cares.”
Another conservative at that board – one of the mods – voiced incredulity. She was very surprised to see a conservative sticking up for a liberal. She began one of her remarks to me, “If you are for real…”
I sometimes get branded by conservatives as a troll, too.
At one conservative blog, because I do not see eye- to- eye on some topics with the majority in the threads, one or two of the guys said I must be a troll, or a liberal posing as a conservative.
It doesn’t occur to some of them that I can disagree with them on one point and still be a conservative.
I believe part of the reason this happens is because I’m a warmer and fuzzier conservative than some of them. (I’m not saying I never lose my temper and chew someone out, though.)
I’m also a Christian, and I think that is another aspect to it.
I know some of the conservatives who ripped on me are not Christians; one or two have said they’re agnostic or are atheists.
These particular types of conservatives tend to misconstrue any shows of fairness and compassion on my part as signs I may be a troll.
I guess in their view, all conservatives are supposed to be very mean to all liberals and not show any sympathy or civility to them at all.
My faith calls on me to be no respector of persons, i.e., don’t play favorites, be fair to everyone, treat all with respect, etc. – (but again, I’m not perfect; I sometimes fall short, but I do honestly try to live up to those standards).
I just get so bent out of shape by fellow conservatives who get rude with me or accuse me of being a troll, simply because I don’t agree with them 100% on some issue, or that I ask them to stop treating some liberal or other like trash.
So you’re not the only one who deals with this!
For the poster who commented,
>>As such, we [liberals] eschew ad hominem appeals to character;>Neocons and the NYT all in bed with each other bankrupting our country, in their treasonous attempt> and you’re worried about the little gnat Dkos.
Pa-the-tic! do not want to understand you or your culture (they already despise it);
> nor do they care if you personally (or if the U.S. government) says you respect theirs, or that you want to understand them and Islam and want to understand why they hate us;
> will continue to be violent whether or not there is an Israel, as their goal is to subject the whole world under Allah;
– they want you dead, period. End of story.
Even if you are an American liberal, they want you dead. No ands, ifs, or butts. These people do not exclude American liberals from their list of enemies; you’re a target too.
Michael Hampton says
Oh, someone said credibility. I have a couple of words to say about that.
(But first, I should say I found this site because you’re running my software. I doubt I would have noticed otherwise.)
I almost never read anything posted on Daily Kos, and whenever I do, I invariably find myself thoroughly critical of what’s being said, because it usually makes no sense. Kos’ post about being a “libertarian Democrat” comes to mind.
I really don’t care who said what about whom or what they’re doing to each other in their back rooms. I do care about the policies they put forth. And in the end, it’s those destructive policies which will kill us all and which must be opposed, no matter which talking head puts them forth.
Richard Silverstein says
DG: I’m a big boy and admittedly writing a blog about Israeli Palestinian peace has brought me my share of abuse that has been far worse than what I experienced at Dkos. But tell me how many times anyone’s told you to “blow it out your ass” or “you ain’t shit, bitch.” Takes you up short doesn’t it? If it doesn’t, then you’ve got a far thicker hide than I.
Call me hopelessly idealistic but I think that political discourse on the left can be more civil and more substantive than that.
My post above got messed up, unfortunately. Some problem with formatting, I guess. Sorry!
Most of what I was saying about where it starts getting messed up – The Anon guy was faulting the blog owner for being worried about the DKos blog.
I pointed out if we’re going to nit pick at someone else for what they’re focused on, I told Mr. Anon he should be more concerned with the fanatical Muslims who want us all dead. I don’t understand why so many liberals do not see the threat posed by fanatical Muslims.
My other points that got garbled and lost –
Contrary to Anon’s conspiracy theory scenario, conservatives do NOT like the New York Times, so no, the conservatives and the NYT are not “in bed with” each other.
Also – some guy on here said the liberals “eschew ad hominem” and behave politely.
My reply: No, they don’t. Many of them do not.
Sometimes conservatives can say rude / hateful things, true, but I usually see rude, hateful attitudes and comments coming from the left, and it tends to be on a consistent basis, too.
What makes it even more laughable to a conservative is that many a liberal likes to portray liberalism as being tolerant, loving, inclusive, sensitive, etc.
-(while it’s maintained that Republicans are big, heartless meanies who discriminate against this group and that one)-
But if you are white, a male, a Republican, a person who abides by traditional morals, and/or a Christian, you or your beliefs are not tolerated by many liberals and are even ridiculed.
The message I get from liberals is,
“We’re tolerant and respectful of everyone who thinks or acts just like we do. Everyone else can get lost.”
Richard Silverstein says
PlaidPolarBear: I applaud you for yr empathy & ability not to see only a political enemy but a human being. Yes, I agree that those who question established norms & ideas face great hostility instead of having their ideas seriously discussed. Both the conservative & progressive movements would be strengthened by periodically probing the values and attitudes we hold dear. Are they still relevant? Are they still productive? Are they still helpful? A movement that upholds sacred cows and refuses to budge is one that will become irrelevant relatively quickly.
As for the abuse of Rachel Corrie, I too didn’t agree with some of her views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (though I have a feeling I agreed w. her more than you perhaps). But the inane, inhumane & flippant jokes about her do much more harm to the cause of hardline pro-Israel supporters than they imagine. I’ve written a post here on this specific subject.
There seems to be in human beings a need to feel smug & self-satisfied & self-righteous at the expense of other human beings.
I wrote to her as well, and although I was critical of her, she gave me a four for respect, I guess.
Richard Silverstein says
Thad: I give you a four for respect too. Now, if you could just teach Armando how to treat people he disagrees with as you do, then the progressive world would be a better place.
And btw, he didn’t just suggest that I delete the diary entry, as you wrote in yr first comment above. He also troll rated a perfectly reasonable comment for no other earthly reason than he hates my guts. As you noted, I’m no troll. I’m as good a damn progressive as he is. It just makes my blood boil that this asshole gets to determine ideological purity at Dkos.
I just can’t believe someone who behaves like such a jackass has as much influence as he does. But he sure does Kos a disservice by such behavior.
I don’t get it. You bemoan the lack of civility on dailykos.com but you call people “jackass” here.
Really, why should anyone care what you think?
Seems you slipped out of character for a minute there. Oh well, at least you dropped the pretense.
Maryscott is god.
“As you noted, I’m no troll. I’m as good a damn progressive as (Armando) is.”
You represent Wal-Mart too?
You can’t be a frequent visitor to dailykos.
If you were, you would have expected this reaction. I have posted their since October of 2002. In that time I have seen some of the most brilliant observations on politics I have ever read. And I have seen plenty of comments like the ones you cite.
I tend to the right of the spectrum on Kos, and was not a supporter of Dean in ’04. I agree with little from the economics writers on the site (ironically because they are too conservative). When the stuff came out about Armstrong and the SEC I wrote that the accusations bothered me a great deal.
In all of the four years I have been there I have been troll rated precisely once.
It is a common theme since I have been reading the site that there is a lack of tolerance for dissent on Kos. Take any week over the last three years and I am sure you will find a diary on that theme. It is widely thought, for example, among those who think that there was fraud in 2004 that Kos supressed discussion of the topic. This is sheer nonsense – but it is a common refrain.
The truth is that there is a ton of dissent on Kos. In fact, it is the arguments that make it fun. But beware – arguments about politics are passionate. People who knock on doors for a candidate and do it for nothing but the good of the country often react strongly when you disagree with them. They are not like the safe washington insiders who are paid to do this.
So beware. You will be called and idiot, a moran, and you parentage will be called into question. I have had all of these things hurled at me.
That’s the price of entering the public forum and engaging real people.
Maybe you should stay away.
plaidpolarbear hit on an important subtext – the fundamental misconception of conservatives. Let’s see: I have 4 kids. I give away a lot of money to humanitarian causes in the US and abroad. I have exercised my “choice” to believe that abortion takes a life. My students in the classes I teach in a famous college like me and my liberal friends like me too, because they know me. But I am a white Christian male so I know that I must be evil somehow. Howard Dean says so. And I must be angry. So the angry doctor says. The truth is that most people reading this have no idea what I am like or what the people in my church are like. Your echo chamber conveniently reinforces falsehoods and myths and damages us all.
I am not surprised by the treatment your diary received. Who knows what false myths I hold about your side. But dKos acted according to everything I understand the far left to be: an increasingly shrill and out of touch religion of intolerance, unable to sustain any challenges to its orthodoxy, unwilling to understand that those who think deeply about life and liberty can actually hold different conclusions, and more willing than it admits that ad hominems and name-calling are part and parcel of the religion of Bush-hating. The ad hominems make the echo chamber sound clearer but fundamentally fail everyone. But hey, don’t take my word for it. I am just an evil white guy with lots of kids who goes to church every week, and even though people who know me think I am pretty smart I am still stupid because, you know, I think differently than Markos and Howard. VERY DIFFERENTLY.
cmon, hypocrisy has no party affiliation, intolerance no wing, and stupidity has always been more powerful than intelligence
Molon Labe says
What is this about troll-rating at dKos? Are you telling me that only a certain select class of dKos members are permitted to rate posts? Are you kidding me? That is straight out of “Animal Farm”.
Richard Silverstein says
DG: I called Armando a “jackass” because he treated me and oh so many others like me w. whom he disagrees like shit. The demeaning tone and language came fr. him first I assure you. I don’t insult people who don’t insult me first. People who call me trolls w/o good reason deserve a little bit of the same shit that they shovel. Have you looked around Kos to see how he treats people he doesn’t like? He troll-rated an innocuous comment on my own diary so that it disappeared. He demanded that I delete my diary. Sorry, but “jackass” stands. He’s the thought police on that site & I detest it.
I was absolutely civil and polite in everything I wrote in that diary and the comment he troll rated. Here, I give myself a bit more liberty to use more colorful language because it’s my own site. You’re grasping at straws in criticizing my language.
Well, I’m pleased that Maryscott O’Connor cares what I think even if you don’t. And enough other folks visit this site daily who seem to care about what I have to say. So I guess they disagree with you.
perhaps. but intolerance is the orthodoxy of the New Left. ummm. at least that’s sure what it looks like from here. (of course, lefties think conservative christians are all intolerant. i mean, jimmy carter equates us with the islamist fundamentalists. unbelievably irresponsible.) DKos is institutionalizing or has institutionalized intolerance, and this diary story is only one of many examples I know of. That kind of goofiness is why many Repubs consider DKos to be one of their most effective tools for convincing the country that Dems=loons. The tragedy is this lets Repubs get by with all kinds of stuff that more intellectually honest and coherent adversaries could challenge. DKos is worthless for challenging governance. It does just fine for whipping up donations, anger, and echos. We need better. We needed better, BTW, in 2004. If you guys ran a better candidate than a crowd quisling (ad hominem, I acknowledge, based on endless data), you would have changed the debate and probably the election. DKos and JKerry can look in the mirror and see the same image of opportunity they have squandered.
Markos never worked for Sherrod Brown. Ever. He stopped consulting in 2004. What about that do you not understand? Why will you not correct that lie?
Richard Silverstein says
Oh Daveo why are still so lame-o? That wasn’t me who wrote that comment or again, can’t you read? That was another conservative commenter named Tommy. Can’t you tell people apart or is it simply too inconvenient for you to do so?
Richard Silverstein says
Petey: Very funny but a telling point too. Could it be that Armando reacts so defensively to my diary about disclosure & transparency in political blogging because he’s hittin’ the gravy train along w. the rest of ’em??
If you read this could you provide me a link to something that talks about his involvement w. Wal-Mart?
zeke L says
richard, even though i wasn’t part of the mob on your diary, i’ll give you my apology on behalf of the community. i second what thad said, i think there has been a lot of hot air about markos’s “blogola” scandal that’s a whole lot of nothing to most people, and people were sick of them. unfortunately you just walked into it. sort of like walking into a room when an argument that has been raging for hours is almost over, and asking the same question again.
but that doesn’t excuse the reception you got. especially from armando, who should be setting a better example.
seems like the whole koslandia has gotten a bit too big for its britches, and its hard to keep it from degenerating into a torches-and-pitchforks mob sometimes. i’m trying to figure out how to get that energy off the nets and out in streets and neighborhoods between now and november, and the torrent of info spooled out into people’s living rooms.
BTW, if this were my blog, i would ban someone like anon. for whatever reason there’s an effort afoot to paint the left as anti-semitic, even though the farthest left people i know are jewish. you never meet these people in real life, the ones who spout the divided-loyalties canard (at least not on the left). but for some reason they turn up everywhere on the net these days. my theory is that these posts show up so that others can point to them and say, “see?” caveat lector.
Feels a bit like you cherry-picked the diary comments. Some on Kos do come across as thinking they’re a little too special. But there are always gonna be a couple boneheads in any crowd and there were plenty of thoughtful, reasonable comments. Some of ’em agreed with your diary and some of ’em didn’t. As for the broader issue about what is and isn’t appropriate relative to Kos, the site, its visitors it may be part of the natural evolution of these sorts of things–that they become too much about themselves.
Richard Silverstein says
eric: There is a diff. bet. PlaidPolarBear’s attitude toward the left & yours. He tries to assume the basic humanity of someone he disagrees with & you see yourself as the victim of the left (which doesn’t presume that our side has humanity when it comes to how we see you).
Saying that Howard Dean sees you as “evil” is using him as a convenient whipping boy to reinforce all yr worst fears & hatred of the left. Besides where precisely did he say you are ‘evil?’ It’s easy to throw around charges, but let’s back them up or not level them.
I don’t know you & don’t know yr political views. There are people on the right whose views of abortion I disagree with–but as long as they don’t see me as anti-Chrisitian or a deep sinner or “evil” then I’m willing to see them as human as well.
I think you’re confusing things a bit. This entire incident revolves around not how Daily Kos treats the conservative right, but how it treats supposedly unorthodox thinkers within its own political camp.
And besides, my friend, if you’re looking for “intolerance,” “inability to sustain challenges to orthodoxy,” and an unwillingness “to understand that those who think deeply about life & liberty can actually hold diff. conclusions,” then all you have to do is visit any garden variety right-wing blog or listen to your own White House’s statements. Not much tolerance of progressive views there I’m afraid. There’s plenty to go around regarding that coming from the right side of the blogosphere. Before you call the kettle black why don’t you look at yr. own pot.
In short, there is intemperance, vitriol & hatred on both sides of the political fence. I’m guilty of it myself at times. These issues mean a great deal to all of us so we sometimes get hot-headed about it. While I’m not wild about extreme rhetoric regarding our political opponents, I think using such rhetoric on one’s supposed allies is even worse than flinging against one’s opponents which is why I wrote this post.
I’m not out here to police the rhetoric that left uses against right or vice versa. That’s far too big a subject matter to take on. But generally, if you oppose my views but do so respectfully I’ll try to grant you the same level of respect in discussing my disagreements with you.
Richard Silverstein says
Zeke: Thanks so very much for yr. sympathy for what happened. Hearing this fr. you revives my faith that DKos can be a place for reasonable discussion even if there are a few rotten apples in the barrel. I think you’re precisely right about how this happened. People just assumed I was a Mickey Kaus clone (as a commenter here tried to claim) trying to weasel my way into the DKos confines to throw bombs, which is certainly not the case.
You are entirely right that the progressive movement is widely populated by Jews (something I’m proud of–even though we do have our share of neocons too I’m afraid). But I’m also afraid to tell you that the dual loyalty anti-Semitic canard is alive and well on the left–specifically in the forum of Democrats.com. You can read about it in this post I wrote. And the anti-Semitic rhetoric came fr. the forum moderator believe it or not. I’ still trying to get an e mail address for Bob Fertik so I can discuss this w. him but there is none listed on his site unfortunately. But hopefully these incidents are aberrant & don’t represent a trend though they are troubling when you experience them fr. a supposed fellow progressive.
As to why I don’t ban such comments fr. slime like Anon–I think they’re instructive to my readers to show them that such hatred still does exist & that we have more work to do on behalf of tolerance & trust.
Richard Silverstein says
Bob: The comments to my diary came in 2 waves. The first wave (which ended at comment 29) was written immediately after I first published it & those comments were almost uniformly negative to the point of nasty. You are right in that there are 1 or 2 that disagreed respectfully (Elwood Dowd was one in particular).
The more sympathetic comments only started a week after the diary was published when Maryscott wrote her post & brought renewed scrutiny to my diary. I wrote this post before Maryscott wrote hers defending me & so the comments I ‘cherry-picked’ were representative of the general tone of the comments published at the diary at that time.
Richard Silverstein says
Peaches: Calling what I wrote a “lie” rather than a “mistake” is a perfect example of the the DKos tone of intolerance and willingness to believe the worst of even one’s erstwhile ally. Markos never worked for Sherrod Brown. Fine. But he did work for Howard Dean. I’m the enemy because the words “Sherrod Brown” appeared in my diary instead of “Howard Dean?” C’mon.
And you know what? The troll rated comment (banished thanks to Armando & several others of his merry crew) I wrote asked members to provide precisely the link which you provided. And even when my comment still appeared at my diary the only response one member could muster was: “You’ve heard of Google haven’t you?” That’s precisely the type of smarmy reply that too many Kos members are capable of. Instead of answering a request for information with a real reply you get snark. Maybe if someone had provided the link you did then it would’ve been a whole lot less confrontational & nasty experience all around. And btw, while writing my DKos diary I DID a site search of DKos for precisely the type of entry you quoted above & didn’t find that one. So sue me.
But let’s go back to consulting for Howard Dean. Armando says he disclosed the relationship at the site. Another commenter asked where & how he disclosed this information & was treated again with snark. I think it’s a legitimate question. I have 1,300 posts here at this site. If in one of them I disclose I’m consulting for a candidate I don’t consider that sufficient disclosure. I think every time I say anything positive about my candidate I should add such a disclosure until I stop working for him or her.
And in the passage you quote above Kos notes that he is accepting advertising, by which I assume he also includes political advertising. Is he disclosing who his advertisers are & how much they’re paying him? You may not find that material but given the income he can make from such advertising I think it’s important that he reveal it. Besides, if he doesn’t reveal it his enemies will find out (& despite yr. mistrust of my motives, I am NOT one of them) & do it form him. Isn’t it better for our side that he pre-empts them & does it himself?
Richard Silverstein says
eric: C’mon. And intolerance isn’t bred in the bone of the Christian convservative movement? Have you read anything at all by Michelle Malkin, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, David Horowitz, Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh lately??
I could argue w. you about this forever since as a Jew I know a great deal about the intolerant views of the Christian right. But let’s save that for another day. Suffice to say that the right is as intolerant, if not more so, than the left. So as not to offend you, why don’t we just leave it that the 2 sides are equally intolerant?
Of course there is intolerance on the left. It runs like a river right through our society so we’re all going to have it running in our veins. But do we control it? Do we call our allies out when they use it? Do we renounce it as much as possible in our own rhetoric? That’s the issue that’s important to me.
Is this some kind of rhetorical shorthand you guys use? I have no idea what “crowd quisling” means but it sounds absolutely horrid. And why would you call John Kerry this in the middle of a comment in which you criicize the left for its “intolerance?” Brother, you just lost any sympathy I might’ve had for your position.
It’s donnybrooks like these why I am and will remain a Republican. Democrats will never regain their majority as long as they are too busy biting each others’ ankles. Jeb Bush in 2008!
I had a mirror experience of yours and, on top of that, had many of my comments deleted. None of which merited deletion, by the way. (And I’m not just saying that… I’ve heard much, much worse come from people on that blog..)
I wrote my “Goodbye Cruel World” diary and haven’t returned. Good riddance to DailyKos and good for you.
i called john kerry a crowd quisling because during the campaign for the nomination for both 04 and now for 08 his first principle has been to appease the crowd in front of him. he now has an even bigger onus to finally be consistent, so he plays for bloggers by “courageously” finally coming down to his lonely stand on deserting commitments we have made. (need to be consistent is now greater than his appeasement which got him into so much trouble.) the party knows this, and that is why he won’t get the nomination again. i am a repub who wanted him to do well because gwb makes me cringe so much, but kerry was, to apply your words to a different context, absolutely horrid. he has dreamt since the 1960s of being the next jfk. the real jfk, flaws and all, would never recognize him or what this party has become. on prior comments, of course i recognize the thread is about intolerance within the left community, and i understand that a comment about intolerance to the right might be seen as interloping. but it is not. it is all of a cloth. btw, if you conur there is as much intolerance on left as on right, i’d be happy with that place of agreement. and yes of course i read all of the columnists, and i read both left and right. i can “tolerate”just about anything except the vivid and daily reinforced impression that the leadership of the left hates gwb more than it hates the sworn enemies of the country, and that it takes its hatred of bush more seriously than it takes the sworn enemics of your children and mine. and more and more of the country gets the same impression, which is why although 2006 should be a dem cakewalk the party still can’t find a consistent voice outside of the likes of markos and howard and and cindy teddy and increasingly strange mr murtha. and those folks don’t measure up.
sorry for the transposed words in the last sentence. and i don’t mean to distract the thread. it is an interesting exchange and i probably should have jumped in on another thread. i’ll leave this one alone, but thanks for the airing./e
I read your diary and MaryScottOConner’s screed in defense and can’t quite make up my mind whether you’re willfully ignorant, duplicituous, simply self-promoting, or some combination of all three.
I’ve been on the receiving end of a few of comment swarms and admit it can be a bit confusing trying to keep up with the various ad hominum attacks, slurs and outrageously unsupportable analogies.
But that’s the nature of the beast. And part and parcel of the entire KOS experience, an experience I suspect you understand very well.
You may, as you assert, be completely ignorant of tagging rules, trusted user status, troll-wars and the arcane details that underpin the operations of Daily Kos. Certainly as a KOS diarist you’ve done little to explain these operations to readers here. Nor, do I see, on first reading, any clear reference to the KOS FAQ which appears on your KOS home page, in which all these operations are described and explained in some detail.
Like you, I was somewhat confused about the accussations of dishonesty being bandied about. And, operating from a state of ignorance decided to look into the charges being levelled against Markos. I visited the sites, researched and came away with the sense that there was no substantive proof of any kind despite the legions of accussations being parroted about the web.
Sill unsure of my conclusions, I turned in the end to Markos critic Mickey Kaus for the defnitive statement about the actual instances of clear corruption. Kaus is not beholden to KOS in any way and is famously aggressive in his attacks on Markos. To paraphrase Kaus, Markos cannot be conclusively linked to any act of corruption, even on an attenuated scale of four possible levels of corruption, Markos still skates on two.
So we have an avowedly and openly hostile Markos critic declaring that Markos is factually innocent of all charges of corruption.
Not good enough for you?
Post your diary. But be aware that yours is not the first diary on the topic, but rather merely one of the most recent in a long series of unsubstantiated attacks of Markos and the community he serves.. Indeed, your original questions about Markos have morphed into a much larger attack on the KOS community as a whole, myself included, a community composed primarily of readers, rather than writers. And I con’t care much for this sort of attack on my independence.
I’ve been openly critical of Markos, his attacks on Hillary and Bill in comments and diaries at Daily Kos, and openly question his political accumen and judgment. I’ve written a number of diaries that have advanced ideas unpopular to many of those who choose to comment on the site, the active minority. And guess what, I always come away better informed about the strengths and weaknesses in my arguments. Getting told “to blow it out my ass” is simply another version of “your arguments are completely unsupportable.”
The idea, then, that debate is unreasonably stifled at Daily Kos is, based on my own experiences, transparently flawed. Criticism of your piece was served up. Were it the first diary or commentary on the subject, it might well have been ripped apart with even greater enthusiasm. So what? I can still read the diary you wrote.
Most folks don’t like your diary and many ojbect to what they see as your laziness.
What’s the problem?
You’re a victim.
KOS diarists email you to apologize. You have a link via Slate.
Your diary and the resulting commentary seems a fairly well executed exercise in self-promotion.
Nothing at all wrong with that.
Enjoy the bump in traffic.
Richard Silverstein says
Kidneystones: Your comment is about as welcome as a Kidneystone. What an apt name you chose.
Anyway, my diary is NOT an attack on Kos and I explicitly said this in the diary and I’ve written it at least once before in this comment thread. Sheesh, complaining I don’t read the Kos FAQs when you haven’t even bothered to read the diary you’re attacking. Or at least if you’ve read it you haven’t grasped what I wrote.
And as for your claim that Kos is off the hook because he is “factually innocent of all charges of corruption,” that’s a mighty good indicator of someone’s ethical purity! “Even on an attenuated scale of four possible levels of corruption, Markos still skates on two.” So does that mean he’s only half-way toward being outright corrupt? I guess that standard may satisfy you but it doesn’t me and it shouldn’t satisfy other progressives. I want transparency and full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. That’s quite a bit more demanding a standard than” innocent of corruption.”
Oh, puh-leeze! Because Mickey Kaus, Little Green Footballs and Real Clear Politics have linked to this controversy you think the sky’s going to fall in at DKos? Gimme a break. I think the site and the movement it represents are a bit stronger than that.
As I’ve written here, if Armando and the acolytes hadn’t played games with my tags, troll rated my comment & spewed crap at me, those other sites would still be attacking Kos but just using some other pretext to do so. Armando has only himself to blame for the attacks on DKos.
C’mon. “Can’t quite make up yr mind??” What is that suppoed to be–some kind of rhetorical device? You quite made up your mind to think the worst of me. Why aren’t you big enough to write what you really mean? And your opinion means an awful lot to me and I’m simply heartbroken that you think the worst of me. For yr information, I didn’t publicize this controversy except by writing this post at a site visited by 600 people a day. No one would’ve known about my diary being trashed if Maryscott O’Connor hadn’t written about it. If I’m such a self-promoter I must’ve somehow bamboozled her to write about it, right? Wrong. I don’t know MSOC. Didn’t know her website. Didn’t know she was writing about my diary. Never asked her to do so (though I’m pleased that she did). So much for my grand conspiracy to promote myself.
It never crossed yr mind that there may be actual values embedded within Maryscott’s and my posts that we wish for the progressive blogosphere to uphold when it comes to political blogging? Thanks for giving yr opponent the benefit of the doubt.
And contrary to you, I don’t enjoy reading the Kos FAQs. So I knew nothing about vandalizing tags and troll-rating comments. Nor did I know about trusted users. So shoot me. I’ve got better things to do than learn the arcane internal operational principles of DKos. But from what I’ve learned about them, they’re about as opposite to the type of transparency I wrote about as you could hope to find.
I’ll reverse course and comment on a couple of your comments, Richard.
“eric: There is a diff. bet. PlaidPolarBear’s attitude toward the left & yours. He tries to assume the basic humanity of someone he disagrees with & you see yourself as the victim of the left (which doesn’t presume that our side has humanity when it comes to how we see you).
Saying that Howard Dean sees you as “evil” is using him as a convenient whipping boy to reinforce all yr worst fears & hatred of the left. Besides where precisely did he say you are ‘evil?’ It’s easy to throw around charges, but let’s back them up or not level them.”
My point is that I don’t just try, but I do assume the basic humanity of people I disagree with. I morphed, in any case, from liberal to conservative. I campaigned for Paul Simon in Illinois, voted for Jesse Jackson for President in a primary, could not being myself to vote for GB41, but simnilarly could not bring myself to vote for Al Gore or John Kerry. I could not vote for GWB in 2000 and went with Nader, but voted for GWB in 2004. But Richard, I do assume, embrace, find joy in the humanity of people with whom I disagree. And, well, I guess those who disagree with me and know me feel the same way about me. That’s just the simple truth. BTW, I am not a victim of the left, never occurred to me to think that way.
Yes, Howard Dean’s disparaging comments do connect and add up to slander of evil against Christians. It is not hard to document. I don’t need him as a convenient whipping boy. He has plainly said he considers the Repubs to be evil, and he has plainly said Repubs are a bunch of white Christian males. So I do not need a phd to connect those two dots. He is an embarrasment. (A lot of libs do it. Even Jimmy Carter, who equates conservative Christians with Islamist fundamentalism. That is so unbelievably stupid and damaging to national discourse as to defy belief.)
I don’t hate the left. I hate the left’s hatred. I hate the left’s laziness and celebration and putting forth of mediocre leaders, because if they could put up serious and intellectually consistent and courageous leaders, they would do the country good. Instead, we get triangulators and crowd quislings, or no-gravitas sales jobs from North Carolina. But, there is not much going on the other side. At least they know there is a real war going on.
Richard Silverstein says
eric: This isn’t the time or the place to try to rebut yr claims about the progressive movement so I won’t. Suffice it to say that we have some pretty strong disagreements on that score.
But I do take special humbrage at the notion that the left hates Bush more than it hates America’s enemies. In fact, I disagree with the entire notion you posit about “sworn enemies of your children and mine.” I hate George Bush because he’s making this country even more hated by its ‘sworn enemies’ than it ever was before he took office. In addition, Bush is making this nation hated by its former allies as well. Hardly anyone stands with us in the War on Terror or Iraq. Everyone’s been burned by Bush’s lies & won’t trust him as far as they can throw him.
Until 9/11, we were hated by a violent, dangerous, but fringe group of Islamic extremists. Now, we’re hated virtually the world over. George Bush did that.
But eric, pls. let’s take this conversation either to private e mail or let it lie. This particular thread isn’t an appropriate place to debate George Bush’s policies.
Hey, Tommy, if I thought red people were better than blue people I would have joined them.
This isn’t about race, sir, it is about politics, so kindly desist from your characterization of me, and I won’t attack you.
Yes, I think Al Franken is a better person than Rush Limbaugh. I even think Alan Colmes is a better person than Sean Hannity.
I think I am allowed my perceptions of individuals, even collections of them. You act as though your politics are not a matter of choice.
“If you read this could you provide me a link to something that talks about his involvement w. Wal-Mart?”
Here ya go: punch up this link, and search for “Armando” on that page.
Also, this BuckeyeStateBlog post discusses the issue a bit. BuckeyeState is an excellent resource in general for progressives who think something is rotten in Kos-land, as they were at ground zero for the Brown-Hackett money shenanigans.
Dave S says
You should be glad that the Kos people are not in power. They would have sent you off to some sort of re-education camp. Who knows what they would do to us conservatives.
You wrote in that post:
“Second, I don’t know whether Kos himself has here addressed any or all of the issues I’m about to raise. ”
I think what many were trying to tell you was that the diary should have been written AFTER you ascertained that info.
Repeating for hopefully the last time, I didn’t change any tags on your diary.
I believe you were being deliberately deceptive, or lazy in your arguments, and I responded accordingly.
Also, for the record, I’m not a guy.
Ali Karim Bey says
I used to visit DK from the very beginning. This was when Dean was the key guy. I was in the site when his announcement in Burlington got many in the site excited. Some from the site even went there. But, I was an independent. I criticism left and right. When I went after the right, I was cheered on. When I attempted to get to the left for their intellectual dishonesty, I was banned. When the system changed, I could not survive the numbering system (where you get quickly hidden). Once I posted a note, and in less than a minute, my comment disappeared. This is tough. I do not go there. I am not tough.
Richard Silverstein says
Boadicea: Yes, let’s correct the record. You claim you didn’t vandalize the tags. Though you’re a mean shite we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. But let’s let the world see what you did write to me in the comments:
Richard Silverstein says
Why do you waste your time & ours so??
Richard, indeed I did say that.
And nothing in your behaviour subsequently has lead me to believe any different.
You were so horrified by the comment-in at least one other venue rewrote to make your putative point against me- which displays a pattern of playing fast and loose with the truth that was what caused the reaction in your original diary.
Perhaps you should convene a blogger ethics panel to refresh your own understanding.
Richard Silverstein says
I do have no idea what you’re talking about and since you don’t make your point very clearly neither will my readers I’m afraid. Playing “fast & loose with the truth?” Whatever are you talking about?
And as for playing “fast & loose with the truth” in my DKos diary–are you referring to the only factual error anyone has pointed out to me about my diary? i.e. that Kos never consulted for Sherrod Brown? If so, that’s silly because Kos has consulted for Howard Dean. If I changed the words ‘Sherrod Brown’ to ”Howard Dean’ the comment would have been true. Big deal. Why weren’t any of you big enough to point out the Dean relationship in your comments? Perhaps a bit inconvenient to you in yr attempts to demonize me? I do give Kos credit though because it appears he DID prominently note his relationship w. the Dean campaign at DKos at the time. But there are other potential conflict of interest issues he has addressed less satisfactorily (such as paid political advertising).
And btw, don’t ever try here the kind of cheap trick smarm you wrote about me at my DKos diary. I have a bit higher standards than they do over there.
I say this in utter seriousness, Richard, because it’s an important point.
You used as your starting off point old and previously debunked charges against Kos-then you perpetuated the false equivalency of the Thune bloggers. It would be easy to find out that info, but because it didn’t fit into your premise that the blogosphere needs to be more regulated than even traditional media outlets will allow themselves to be. Britt Hume is just one example off the top of my head.
Then, when challenged vigorously-and though you’ve taken particular umbrage at my comment it was not vulgar in the way you’ve described it to heighten your own sense of victimhood-you declared we were mean and smarmy to you. If you weren’t so serious about this charge it would be laughable. It’s as if, for all your time registered on Dkos, you’d never read it.
Then, in your comments here and elsewhere about me, you repeat your charges-without correction really. The closest you come is acknowledging my comments, but even then you call me a “schmuck” and a “mean shite”-where’s your elevated discourse, eh? I thought this blog had standards?
The problem with your post was not that it criticized Kos-lots of people do that on Dkos, including on occasion me.
The problem is that you did so either dishonestly or carelessly-given the premise of this blog it appears carelessly.
That’s what put you in the crosshairs of the Kossacks.
Now, I don’t plan on returning to this blog. So I expect this is my last word on the subject.
Enjoy your victimhood if you must. It’s your time to waste.
Richard Silverstein says
The charges (your choice of word & not the one I used in my DKos diary) you speak of could not be ‘debunked.’ The issue of ethics and transparency is a value judgment, not a high school True-False quiz. The questions I raise about Kos or Armando’s conflicts of interest or those of any political blogger can only be labelled “false” or “debunked” by someone who finds no value in serious considerations of conflict of interest. If it doesn’t bother you and doesn’t bother Kos those are value judgments you make. I believe they will end up biting you in the ass when the right starts researching who your ad sponors are and where your revenue stream comes from. But you and he are free to address or ignore them as you sit fit.
I find it interesting that for people like you & Armando the issue is settled and any issues I raised are “debunked,” while thousands of others who read MSOC’s and my pieces at DKos took quite a different view. Unless you want to label all those who found value in what we wrote as trolls and Kos enemies, there are a helluva lot of progressives for whom this issue resonates. Ignore us at yr. peril.
The problem with your attack on me is that you don’t bother to do any work in retrieving & quoting what I wrote so that I can understand precisely what it is you’re objecting to. What precisely “old charges?” Are you referring to Sherrod Brown or what?
You merely repeat a charge you’ve read in the DKos diary thread without noting that I’ve already responded to it.
So let me repeat it again for those hard of sight:
I wrote that you told me to “blow it out my ass” when you in reality told me to “blow it out my butt.” ‘Butt’ makes this not vulgar? Guess we’ll have to let my readers decide whose view is more credible.
Now whose pride is wounded? I save vitriol for those who use it on me first. If you could’ve phrased your disagreement with me as Elwood Dowd did you’d find me calling you no names. There are a goodly number of people writing here in this thread who disagree with my politics or with my diary who managed to express themsleves w/o smarm or snark. Your diary comments were disgraceful. I just call ’em as I see ’em.
It seems that “tolerance” and “diversity” only mean “as long as you agree with us.”
Maryscott… nice points, but instead of handwriging, maybe actually talk to Kos, even lean on him? It’s HIS blog. And that goes for every other blanket Kos-defender posting.
Richard: I got banned over my comments on Armando the shyster and his “self outing.” Other people got banned before that for pointing out that Reid voted FOR Hayden to head the CIA. So, for you other Kos defenders who claim there’s really no controversy, let alone censorship about it, try again.
As for Armando, Richard, I’ve got a number of posts about him at my blog. Bottom line? He’s a PARTNER at McConnell Valdes, not just a staff atttorney. So, ALL of McConnell’s clients are HIS clients. That comes with the territory of partnership.
Richard Silverstein says
Absolutely right & good point. My wife too is a corporate attorney. When she wants to take on a client she has to do a check to ensure the firm has no conflicts of interest (for example, representing clients who might currently be suing the potential new client).
So if Armando’s firm has a major corporate client (even if it is not HIS client) it is highly likely that if he ever wanted to blog about it he couldn’t and that if he did he’d have to color his writing in some way. A perfect example, I’m guessing you’ll never see Armando criticizing Wal-Mart’s labor practices (he has said he doesn’t write about clients). If we ever do see him doing this (Armando does have a habit of saying he will or won’t do something & then doing something quite different) we’ll know & understand his conflict whether he reveals it or not (though others may not know unless he discloses).
“Maryscott… nice points, but instead of handwriging, maybe actually talk to Kos, even lean on him? It’s HIS blog. And that goes for every other blanket Kos-defender posting.”
Maryscott really should be commended for her actions. Unlike you, me, or Richard, she is really sticking here neck out. Her blog is dependent on the Kos ecosystem for traffic, and her willingness to risk that in order to stand up for some basic intellectual honesty is brave. Pretty much everyone else in the Kos ecosystem is proving they aren’t that brave.
In answer to the question upthread about Markos’ disclosure when he was consulting for Howard Dean, there was a disclosure note on the front page of Daily Kos at all times during and for quite a while after his period of employment with Dean. It wasn’t just one post.
And you seem to be proud of the fact that you hadn’t read the FAQs or done any research about whether or not your questions had previously been covered on Daily Kos. That’s a fundamental disrespect for the readers and commenters there; no wonder it was met with matching lack of respect.
Richard Silverstein says
Most decidedly NOT what I wrote. If you want to attack what I wrote it’d be great if you could quote something that proves yr point. In fact, I wrote specifically that I HAD done several site searches using keywords that I’d hoped would bring up Kos’ statements on the subject in question. I could find nothing relevant which is why I asked the question in the comment which Armando troll rated.
As for not reading the DKos FAQs I plead guilty. I didn’t know anything about troll-rating or trusted users and until I wrote my diary I got along just fine in my ignorance. Why is it ‘disrespectful’ that I didn’t know about these matters? Do all “respectful” Kos members have to read the FAQs??
You’re really reaching for straws there.
Max Sawicky says
The experience in question here is typical of mass politics, left right or center. The more people, the lower the common denominator in terms of civility and intelligence. A potential mitigating factor would be the quality of leadership — a fish rots from the head down.
Some years back, I took some trouble to compose a medium-longish post for Kos — my first and last “diary.” It got zero readers. I’m sorry, I may be boring but I’m not that bad.
Kos is a political phenomenon, in some ways an important positive contribution to better politics in the U.S., but it is not left in any recognizable respect. The sooner progressives realize that, the happier we will all be. Interacting with Kos raises the same, ancient, difficult questions as dealing with Democrats.
If a coyote bites you, it’s not because he doesn’t like you. It’s because he thinks you’re a hamburger. Don’t hate the coyote.
I’ve had respectful dialogs in web-log comments sections with liberals, conservatives, and self-identified moderates (I’m one of the latter). By and large, these sorts of discussions happen at blogs where the proprietor and the regular readers foster standards that promote civil discourse. Plenty of websites are inane, plenty are full of ad hominems, plenty are permissive of a favored flavor of bomb-throwing, be it Left or Right.
I avoid those places.
Despite its vaunted position in the TTLB blog ecosystem, I’ve never found dKos to be a congenial place to think about contributing. That community’s threshold for crossing over to personal attacks and snark seems to be as low as any place in the “blogosphere.” Too many “your mother” comments when things get heated, too few thoughtful paragraphs with links worth following.
I am sure that some diaries and some sections of dKos are better than what I’m describing–but with an embarrasment of riches at other URLs, there’s not much incentive for focusing in such a seemingly uncongenial place.
Richard, you seem committed to thinking about and responding to many of your commenters, which is noble. Your efforts to stick to the subject and avoid name-calling (or as you say, avoiding initiating name-calling) do not seem to inspire repayment in the same coin. Maybe you need to put some teeth or some specifics into “play nice or don’t play,” or maybe you like things the way they are. Chacun a son gout… Good luck, anyway.
Markos is not a consultant. Jerome was in some hot water some years ago with the SEC for touting stocks on an investment blog. Together, they are co-authors of a book “Crashing the Gates” that is selling briskly.
The controversy surrounding Kos was created by Nat Review Online, TNR and Redstate, intercepting emails, and infiltrating meetings…… the message in the intercepted email….. let’s keep cool on this one, keep quiet for a couple of months, etc. That was the problem. Disclosure, honesty, transparency might have prevented this controversy aspiring to become a scandal….. a scandal no one rightly understands.
Had Kos and Jerome been more forthcoming, more transparent, more accountable, I doubt that this controversy would have reached the NYT, Newsweek, Fox, etc. There you go. MaryScottO’Connor’s diary asked for transparency, accountability, disclosure. This is fair, only if Markos, and Daily Kos want to be a significant force in the political process through the netroots for which he has been such an important organizer.
What has not been addressed are the meta issues involved. Daily Kos appears to be and has proved to be a site that does not tolerate questioning or dissent. At nearly 100,000 members it is approaching implosion, just as Fox reported. This has been going on for years, and it is doing more damage to the site than all the trolls and redstaters.
I have a few suggested solutions, but the place is too big even to make those suggestions. Brave New World, indeed.
Cheryl Hines-Dronzkowski says
I’ve watched them (the Daily ‘Kos crowd) for a couple of years, and was struck by how closed minded, stiff-necked and abusive they become when an opinion is offered which is not a part of the established “group-think” talking points (may as well read/join a blog run by Bill O’Rilley).
It matters not that some may feel that they are actually endorsing people who are supporting the greedy, racist, war-mongering creatures who are ruining the American way ( my own ex- hero Hillary for example), one must write what the group wants to hear, or one is attacked and slapped down, bullied and generally mistreated like a soft-spoken Liberal guest on Fox News.
No, there are no progressives there, these people are pro-establishment, no matter what.
I usually refer to the Daily ‘Kos as “The Closet Where Libertarians Hide”.
I’ve changed my mind. Max is god.
And I caught your Armando diary on dKos, Richard. Don’t you know that bringing up Armando’s undisclosed employment doing the bidding of some of the largest and least responsible corporations in the country is completely beyond the bounds of common decency?
Beware. Be very, very ware. Armando has a long reach. Rumor has it that he’s going to invoke eminent domain to condemn your blog. After the tear down, he’s going to build a progressive pro-Wal-Mart blog in its place.
Richard Silverstein says
Petey: Now that WAS hilarious. Did you read in the diary’s comment thread how the Kossites were threatening me w. permanent banning for mentioning the ‘one whose name one dare’s not speak’ in the diary title. This after both Chris Bowers & Armando used my FULL NAME in a diff. DKos story that day.
They even claimed my diary would be deleted. Bullies threaten a lot & their bite means just very little.
Richard Silverstein says
Max: Thanks for yr. comment.
I think you mean you got zero commenters. Undoubtedly, you did have readers. Just no one interested or intelligent enough to engage what you wrote. I can attest that you are by no means boring. I’ve written diaries at Kos which I thought were interesting and which attracted no comments. That gave me thought that the level of discourse there may not be all that high. The rabid reaction to my posts about Kos & Armando confirm that.
Though I must say that I respect & admire Maryscott O’Connor who still holds DKos in some esteem. So it must be a large enough community that there is some intelligent debate there. In truth, I have written some diaries there about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which have drawn intelligent discussion. So as you say it’s a mixed bag.
Yes, that’s true. That’s probably why Maryscott started My Left Wing. I’m not privy to the nuances of DKos but many commenters & e-mailers here have told me that Kos is really interested much more in winning than in philosophical or political/analytical debate.
In reading through all this all I can think, is what did you expect? Look what they’re doing to Senator Lieberman @ the “DKos”?? Over @ the “DKos”, it’s a radically “Pro-Choice” crowd. No considerations for your thoughtful well said position and commentary. No considerations for your honest ethics and morality. No consideraions for your str8-forward call 4 discussion of the issue. No considerations whatsoever, even for right and wrong. You weren’t wanted and you got your ethics in the way of their wacky self absorbed self indulgences. So you just got aborted dude. It’s all just that simple.
Richard Silverstein says
Tex: Thanks…I think. But it isn’t quite “that simple.” You see, I agree with them about Lieberman and believe in choice. And I think saying I was “aborted” only proves that the right can hyperventilate as well as the left.
But I do appreciate yr support for my views.
DKos has of course become the very thing its members argue against. My benign non-aggressive, non-profanity, non-personal attacks only inspire troll hunters o seek me out and hide me out. Or I’ve been banned for daring to point out the intolerance of the Kossacks. It’s hilarious people like MissLaura — who I’m certain is one of the self-righteous troll-police — brings out the DK rulebook to point out your insulti to the DK crowd by not becoming a fellow troll-hunter or UID or whatever.
DK members act like peole whose favorite band just became popular. It’s MINE. SHUTUP and GET OUT. That’s always my favorite comment. It’sthe left-wing equivalent to America: Love It Or Leave It.
DK is imploding. The arbitrary censorious troll-hunters are shielding the open discourse they claim to triumph.
Given Armando’s profane rants and infantilism, it’s no wonder he shills for Wal Mart.
I mean, just agrree and you’ll be fine.
Richard Silverstein says
I thought it was hilarious I was attacked for using Armando’s name in the title of my diary there, which apparently violated some site rule; when Chris Bowers AND Armando had not only used my first name, but my entire name in a post and comment that same day. Apparently the rules only apply to people you don’t like or agree with. But if your one of the Big Boys’ you can do pretty much as you wish.
I was also amused that commenters warned me that the Armando diary would disappear along with me from the site unless I deleted it. I haven’t checked lately, but the day after these stupid threats the diary still stood. Haven’t tried to post another diary but presumably I haven’t been banned.
I join the ranks of the DK banned today. I posted a comment after someone wrote a diary wondering why their anti-Israel post had been hidden. I didn’t agree with the diary mind you, I just noted that the intolerant libs of DK were trying to quash any dissent, including COMMENTING on the lack of their happy hiding.
It’s okay for Armando and the others to regularly tell people to “fuck off” call them “assholes” or bring out their DK rulebook to point out how somebody veered from the path of their gospel, but if you challenge them without name-calling, and using reason, they circle like sharks and shut you down.
So I can only assume that Markos himself silenced my voice.
Which I now take to be an honor.
If DK thinks this is the way to create a community, he’s heading down the path of the right.
Richard Silverstein says
Very sorry to hear you’ve been banned. Given the rabid tone of the diaries you mention perhaps I should publish one of my posts over there as a diary.
bring it on. sorry.
yeah, it’s weird to be shut out of a site i happily participated in despite the infantile tone of some of the Kossacks. i almost forgot about markos defiant screw you tude when people complained about the pie fight ad. they really hate to hear that an intolerant liberal is kind of a pathetic oxymoron. I certainly never went after trolls to flag them. their reasoning on what makes a troll is scary in its single-minded conviction. booman did have a ridiculous rigorous list of ways to spot a troll; one being they never post on movie or music diaries. uh…yeah. or they only comment when there’s a heated debate….right.
anyway. i’m still trying to get my mind around the thought of someone spending hours scanning comments to police and hide. or complaining about being banned…
Good for you, Richard!
I was banned from Kos earlier today, because I offended one other poster who disagreed with me about Ted Kennedy (“condoleaser”).
The more people that speak up about the crowd at Kos, the more likely that part of the website will be de-emphasized.