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By doing a partial response to the Washington Monthly piece, people seemed to think that everything I didn't mention was accurate. So while I can think of a million things I'd rather be doing, I feel compelled to set the record straight.

Two points I'd like to stress right off the bat. First of all, I like the Washington Monthly and its writers. I have nothing against the publication. If this was a hit piece, I'd sink my teeth into this and fire back in glee. But I've got no bone to pick except for the fact that the piece created a Bizarro Markos that might be accurate in some parallel bizarro universe, but not in this one.

Second of all, I don't want publications to shy away from featuring bloggers because they could suffer a backlash from that blog's readers. But publications do have to understand -- unlike most of their subjects, we can respond to mistakes very publicly. That doesn't mean they'll get attacked. Other reporters have done accurate profiles of me without generating hostility. It's just that they should, well, make sure the facts are accurate. And not because we're bloggers, but because it's the right thing to do.

Keep in mind, the author of that piece flew out to California to interview me. He had my email address and my phone number. A fact checker called and asked me to verify my quotes. There was no reason, in a piece dedicated to talking about me, for the author to not ask me about the factual claims made in the piece. Publications do so all the time, and all for the better.

Finally, no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. I've had some doozies. But as you'll see on the flip, this isn't a matter of a few flubs or difference in interpretations. There's some of that, and I make a note of it. But the sheer number of factual mistakes is staggering.

But whatever. Too much "ado". So no more of it. On the flip, the comprehensive response.

And yet there he was, just after the 2004 elections, in the ornate Lyndon B. Johnson room of the capitol where he'd been invited to give Senate Democrats a post mortem on what went wrong.

I've never been to the Capitol, so that couldn't have been me. I did speak to the Senate caucus at a small conference room at the Kennedy Center. I wouldn't mind seeing that ornate room, though. Hopefully I will soon.

As he held forth, urging Democrats to rely upon technology and embrace partisanship and confrontation, Moulitsas's audience was one-part bewildered, one-part overwhelmed, and maybe a little inspired.

I had a power point presentation which Matt Stoller helped me prepare. In it, I 1) explained what a blog was, with examples of comments, diaries, etc. 2) I said, "Blogs aren't ATMs, they are the beginning of a progressive noise machine. And 3) ignore blogs at your peril, see what happened to Daschle. There was nothing about confrontation or partisanship. I never spoke about strategy.

The site, which has existed for only around three and a half years, now has 3.7 million readers each week. That's more than the top 10 opinion magazines--of both left and right--combined [...]

That's probably not accurate. The author was probably working off traffic stats which measure visits. But the same person can visit multiple times a week (not to mention per day). If I had to guess, I'd say the numbers are closer to 500K people who visit at least once a week. But that's at best an educated guess.

Those numbers are still probably more than the top opinion mags combined, however.

In addition, Moulitsas used the site to raise $500,000 for Democratic candidates in the last election cycle

The number was actually over $1 million.

Every third week, Moulitsas has a standing phone call with congressional powerbroker Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (D-Ill.)

I've never talked to Rahm. I've never met him. The DCCC had a couple of blogger conference calls in which Rahm participated but I didn't join in. So perhaps the confusion is based on this. But in that case, that "access" would be no greater than that given to other bloggers. And in any case I don't think those conference calls happen every three weeks.

and he talks regularly with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

I've actually talked to Harry a couple of times for a few seconds. Considering Reid's war room has a netroots guy, I do communicate with his office regularly, but in no different manner than any reporter who covers politics as a beat. Reporters talk to the communications director, I talk to the guy who answers my emails.

But it's not just an empty gesture. Moulitsas has become so well incorporated into the party machinery that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) uses him to recruit candidates. "They get calls from, like John Edwards, and maybe Tom Vilsack, and then, always, Markos," one DCCC staffer told me.

That staffer is a liar. I have never made a recruitment call for the DCCC. I've never made a call for the DCCC period. I've talked to ONE congressional candidate this cycle and it had nothing to do with the DCCC.

The myth of Karl Rove, which looms over American politics, and the conviction that the party's wins or losses are a matter of tactics, not substance, has left the Democrats looking for their own master tactician. And some in the party seem to want to see Moulitsas in that role.

I don't know if "some" in the party want to see me as a Karl Rove, but if so they're idiots. I'm not a political tactician. I'm a political observer and critic, for better or for worse.

And when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee threw a party for him and some other bloggers at last year's Boston convention, he arrived, immediately picked a loud, disruptive fight with the organization's executive director, Jim Bonham, and stormed out.

Threw a party for me? That's weird formulation. They threw a "blogger bash". It had nothing to do with me other than I was one of many bloggers around at the time. And actually, Bonham came up to me and started the fight. In fact, startled DCCC staffers told me the week after that Bonham did so on purpose in order to show the blogosphere who was boss. Or something weird like that.

Moulitsas lives here with his wife, a reporter from Wired News,

Former reporter. She's a stay-at-home mother and is going back to school to get a new degree in the spring.

Moulitsas was born in Chicago to a middle class, ethnically-Greek family from El Salvador

My father was Greek from Greece (Crete, to be exact), my mother is Salvadoran. So it wasn't an ethnically-Greek family from El Salvador, but a Greek who married into a Salvadoran family.

After high school, Moulitsas, then a Reagan Republican thanks largely to the White House's support of the Salvadorean government, spent four years as an army artillery scout, mainly in Germany.

I wasn't an artillery scout. I was a fire direction specialist. I processed fire missions for MLRS missile batteries. I was essentially the middle man between the scouts out finding targets, and the missile batteries who hit those targets.

he became active in campus politics, writing a column for the school paper and helping to lead the college's Hispanic student group.

I ran the student newspaper. I didn't run any Hispanic student group in college. I did run the Latin American Law Student Association while in law school.

Unemployed, Moulitsas, started posting comments on a site called, the most insidery of the emerging liberal blogs. During late 2001 and early 2002, he developed a following, for the strength and clarity of his denunciations of the Bush administration. Moulitsas started his own blog,

I started Daily Kos, then started posting on MyDD. And my comments on MyDD were almost exclusively about poll numbers. MyDD wasn't the place to rant against Bush. It was a strictly numbers-based elections blog.

It made them think Democrats were going to win. Moulitsas wasn't just posting any polls, he was selecting those that suggested Democrats--from John Kerry to congressional candidates--were heading for victory,

I posted all polls. We might've trash the ones we didn't like, but I didn't pick and choose. All polls were posted. Keep in mind that pollsters like Zogby though Kerry was going to win. Had undecideds broken for the challenger as had been historically the case, Kerry might've won. Instead, the undecideds broke tradition by choosing the incumbent. There was nothing unreasonable in the belief that Kerry would win.

Worse, Kos hadn't just fared poorly as an armchair quarterback--he'd been beaten on the field, too. In the Democratic primaries, he first backed Dean, then Wesley Clark. Both sparked grassroots excitement, but ultimately, of course, flamed out. Then, of the 13 Democratic candidates for Congress that Moulitsas handpicked for his readers to support--and for whom he raised over $500,000- not a single one prevailed.

Dean flamed out right into the DNC chairmanship. And the movement, which was a fraction of its current size in 2003, continues to grow.

As for the Kos Dozen, all of them losing would've been a problem if my goal was victory. But the goal, and one readers and donors knew very well, was to spread the playing field and force Republicans to play defense. And it worked wonderfully against Marilyn Musgrave and Tom DeLay. So not a factual mistake, just a wilful ignoring of the stated goal of that effort.

What's more, people like Martin Frost have now endorsed a 50-state, contest-every-district strategy. Event the ones that aren't supposedly winnable.

And why do people who like to criticize me for this always seem to forget Stephanie Herseth and Ben Chandler?

Three days before the scheduled unveiling [of my anti-DLC campaign], Moulitsas wrote that he'd changed his mind. Hurricane Katrina, which had just struck, had made him realize, he said, that this was not the time for intra-party bickering. "We think someone got to him," a DLC staffer told me darkly.

Nah. What happened was this -- there was a heavy media component to what I had planned. However, when Katrina struck, all media attention was focused on Katrina and the aftermath. The effort would've been a failure and, really, would've seen quite petty considering what was happening in the Gulf Coast. Why not after? I had to write a book which took me to the end of the year. The window of opportunity has passed.

It doesn't mean I couldn't revist it next year, but we have bigger things to worry about than an increasingly irrelevant DLC.

That Moulitsas would be attacking a group [the DLC] with whom he generally agrees can be explained in part by his lack of historical perspective.

Huh? I agree with the DLC on some policy items, but disagree on many. I'm not sure how anyone could write this sentence knowing the stark differences in my war position compared to the chickenhawks at the DLC. Or "bankruptcy reform". Or any number of other issues.

Markos just doesn't really get it. He hasn't been reading The New Republic and The Washington Monthly forever. He just sits there and thinks, Why the hell are these guys running things? They back losers!"

Further up in the story, the author quotes emails I sent privately to two TNR reporters. Now this quote. Seems to me that the source was one of my "friends" at TNR. But to the substance of the quote, I'm sure TNR and the Washington Monthly have explained how things are just fine even though Democrats have been losing ground at the federal level. If only I had read them...

The younger-than-35 liberal professionals who account for most of his audience seem an ideologically satisfied group, with no fundamental paradigm--changing demands to make of the Democratic Party.

I'd love to know where the author got this unsourced age statistic because it's so much bullshit that I can hardly stand it. So I decided to do a little poll to see how old people on the site really are. With 11,000 responses, it turns out that 67 percent of the site's readers are OVER the age of 35. So this sentence is not just wrong, it's REALLY wrong.

And given that the first sentence is wrong, it puts the whole rest of that paragraph, with references to this younger "generation", in really weak footing, to put it kindly.

But the gist of it -- that we focus too much on tactics and too little on policy, is a feature, not a bug. All the policy talk in the world is pretty useless when it means zero. I'm sure when Dems take back our government, policy will take a more prominant role on this and other blogs. But aside from that, there is a ton of policy talk on this site (the diaries are full of it) and the rest of the progressive blogosphere. Atrios cites just one example:

it wasn't all that long ago that Left Blogistan was dominated by boring boring repetitive wonky wonkery of the most wonkish kind - during the Social Security Bamboozlepalooza tour. The president was lying, the Trustees' various reports were based on contradictory internal assumptions, and journamalists didn't know what the hell was going. We came, we wonk'd, and we kicked some ass.

Back to the Washington Monthly piece:

What he's after isn't fame but power--and not any old power, but the kind of Silicon Valley-derived sense of power that holds that only the people who know how to program code can ever really run things.

I'm not sure what that means. But I sure as heck don't want to run things. And I even told the reporter -- it's on tape -- that the worst part about growing so big is that people might start taking my advice. And I mean it. It's easier being a critic and backseat driver when your words have no repercussions. That's becoming harder for me these days. But had he used those words, it would've shattered his efforts to paint me as power hungry.

 "All he really wants is not to be president, or governor, or have statues built for him," one of his friends told me, "but maybe to help run the DCCC, to help Democrats win, and to have been right."

Any real friend of mine would know that I would rather die than "help run the DCCC". Jesus Christ, talk about a thankless job. But there are places where us netroots types can help the D-trip. Like helping them find challengers for every single race. And they are responding with sites like this one. Had that quote said, "Help the DCCC", then it would've been perfectly accurate. But at least in this case, the quote isn't the author's fault.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:47 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  For me ... (4.00)
    The whole thing was fine until he got to that part about how Kos invented both rock 'n' roll and the combustion engine. That was just too much.

    Spare the poor people of Crawford, Texas. Send Bush a one-way ticket to the moon instead.

    by JacksonBlogs on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:48:29 PM PST

  •  a comprehensive diary (none)
    by the dude who said this:

    Update III: One last update, since I loathe being self-referrential.

    every public figure has to realize absolute control over their image has.... eventually... diminishing returns.

    over the long run.

    the price of fame.

    as it were.

    'Every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness' -- Julien Germain

    by BiminiCat on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:50:35 PM PST

    •  That was the intention (none)
      Until this.

      Believe me, I had better things to do than this.

      •  it would be just as interesting (none)
        if not a little futile...

        to do a line item assessment of your POLICY disagreements AND agreements with the DLC.  but of course there's always the question of weighting disagreements more heavily than the agreements.  how can one rate iraq war policy equally with choosing a merely competent fema chief???  heh.  you can't.

        the strategic disagreements were always clear.

        but then that just feeds back into the idea that this sight is more about tactics than policy.

        which i still think is this sites trump card.  tactics.

        'Every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness' -- Julien Germain

        by BiminiCat on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:20:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They just don't get it (none)
        or, rather, they don't seem to want others really to get it. Very misleading, and intentionally so.

        There was a recent hachet-job done by the SF Weekly on Craig Newmark (of Craigslist fame) that I blogged about: In that case the "reporter" did not bother to be subtle at all, and made readers that I talked to rather wary. In the WaMo article a much better job was done of misleading the reader.

        I currently have a video report in production on Craigslist (an interview with Craig is already complete) that I will release after new year's.

        I have been a reader of both the New Republic and the Washington Monthly for decades. I gave up completely on TNR due to their temporarily-successful attempt to convince me that we should attack Iraq. I still like the WaMo but after this, not so much.

        Come see TV from the reality-based community at

        by MarkInSanFran on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 04:03:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just follow the Entourage (none)
          What a sleazy world. I can't believe there is a market for magazines like "Washington Monthly," or "Texas Monthly," or any of the other glossy Statistical Metropolitan Area publications. A couple of shallow profiles of the near-famous, a few inviting descriptions of where the elite can dine and shop, a little yokel anachronism feature, and 10,000 advertisements for someone to propel you to heaven with a massage, a smooth black stone, and a big fluffy white towel. They are mirrors to our contentless politics and society, and readers who actually reflect on this hyperbolic waste don't know which way the wind is blowing.
          •  whoa, there... (none)
            texas monthly, yes. it's all pinto beans and no onions. washington monthly, no. it's a seriously interesting, small, intensely researched policy magazine. that's probably washingtonian you're thinking of, with the endlessly repeating ten best restaurants article that you can't get away from in the supermarket checkout line...
  •  On-Topic and Off-Topic (none)
    On Topic:

    Moulitsas's audience was one-part bewildered, one-part overwhelmed, and maybe a little inspired.

    Well, I'd imagine if you put enough politicians in a room, you'd find that a good percentage of them are totally bewildered. That would be true for a powerpoint on blogs or a powerpoint on how to use a microwave.

    But then again, i'm a cynic at times. :D

    Also, when it comes to the Dozen.. yeah, people constantly forget Herseth and Chandler. But then again, most of the people who bash the Dozen for not producing any winners in November are right-wingers anyways.

    Off Topic:

    SUSA releases a nearly-useless Bush survey

    Interviews conducted 12/9/05 through 12/11/05,
    after Bush 11/30 speech to Naval Academy, after Bush 12/7 speech to Council on Foreign Relations,
    but before Bush 12/12 address to Philadelphia World Affairs Council, before Bush 12/14 address to Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, before 12/15 Iraqi elections, before Bush 12/17 "live" radio address, before Bush 12/18 Prime-Time Oval Office address, and before Bush 12/19 morning press conference.

    Basically, a snapshot of wind.

    And back on topic:

    Apparently "Bizarro Kos" is planning to take over the DCCC and unleash the "Kos Four-Hundred-Thirtyzen"

    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

    by RBH on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:58:33 PM PST

  •  But Markos, if they can't build you up, (4.00)
    how will they ever take you down?

    The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

    by peeder on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:59:49 PM PST

  •   Washington Monthly (none)
    I read it pretty regularly and find it informative. In fact attention to detail seems to be some thing they are usually pretty good at it. Guess every one has a weak day. Had to lol when you mentioned being an FDS. So am I,guns tho' not MLRS. Have you noticed how many Redlegs got big yaps? Must be a trade thing(or we're half deaf). We seem to think the world needs our opinion.

    it tastes like burning...

    by eastvan on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:02:34 AM PST

    •  I don't know... (4.00)
      I think that give the number of factual mistakes in the piece and their general direction--Markos wants power and is in over his head; leave it to the big (DC) boys--a more cynical interpretation might be in order.

      My own thought for a few weeks now has been that the DLC types had been on the ropes and defensive for a while until Markos backed down after Katrina. For whatever reason, they may have seen that decision as a sign of the blogosphere's weakness and their own continued dominant role in Democratic politics. But that's just a theory.

      What seems a little clearer is that this piece was a sort of subtle hatchet job--that it was intentional and not a series of unfortunate oversights. Let's not be naive here.

      The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. -TR

      by Gringo on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 01:00:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That was my impression.. (none)
        They are for regulating Blogs, maybe?

        despot : 1. A master; an absolute or irresponsible ruler or sovereign. 2. One who rules regardless of a constitution or laws; a tyrant.

        by wrights on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 03:42:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. (none)
        After reading Markos's post and all of the comments by the WaMo locals on Kevin Drum's blog, I get the feeling that they are threatened somehow and this was one way of striking back.
      •  The article has all the subtlety of (none)
        a locomotive running through the middle of your house.  

        Full of innuendoes and patently absurd, shrill loaded wording.

        It was difficult to finish reading the entire article because Wells obviously had an agenda. I have read Kos for several years now, have heard him on radio shows, and have watched him on television. If you removed Kos' name from the article, I wouldn't have a clue that Wells was even talking about him or this site.

        Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

        by bronte17 on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 09:32:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Now, see (none)
    Out of this whole entire explanation/clarification, the freepers are going to grab onto this and run with it: "the diaries are full of it".

    See? Kos said it himself - about the diarists on his own blog! They're full of it! See?


    Bush - the ultimate example of the Peter Principle.

    by PatsBard on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:03:57 AM PST

  •  To me, what was disturbing (4.00)
    about that piece was that the author seemed so fundamentally to misunderstand what goes on around here - both in Markos' writing and more broadly - and to be setting up a world in which his interpretation of this site and of Markos' ambitions is the accepted one, so that the site and Markos could then be judged as failures when they failed to live up to what he said they wanted.  If that makes any sense.
    •  Moreover, doesn't it make you ... (4.00)
      ...wonder about everything else this fellow has written, not to mention what he has edited?
      •  Seems like some kind of DLC hatchet job (none)
        although, then I'd have to look into what else this guy has said and and and

        I don't have the time, and,

        this piece is so far off the mark from what I've seen here for 10 months ...

        why spend the time proving he is a hack?


        Grassroots Organizing Should Be for The Community, By The Community - NOT for "Leaders"

        by rmdSeaBos on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:51:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Google is your friend. (4.00)
          Benjamin Wallace-Wells.

          Dartmouth Review.

          Hmmm ...

          •  means he IS a wanker (none)
            this Dartmouth alum remembers that Peggy Noonan and Laura Ingraham both held the Editor jobs.  David Brock gives the DR credit for bringing more dirty tricks to the dirty tricks party.

            btw, most DR writers were REALLY weird, out there fringe folks (I was in college pretty much during Bush 41).  No idea what another decade has done, but they are true wankers.

            "Never separate the words you speak from the life you live" - Paul Wellstone

            by vome minnesota on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 04:42:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (none)
        what I was thinking which is actually unfortunate for the Washington Monthly because I always thought better of them than a hack job.  Certainly didn't think of them as an organization that would countenance putting out something with so many errors in it.

        In the end it hurts their own reputation.

    •  Makes sense - article seems hostile (none)

      Bush is NOT America!

      by annefrank on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:36:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  More "colorful" and trivializing.... (4.00)
        like the annoying "kos kids" moniker.  I love the site but I think it is more than kos intended it to be.  There is a lot of bullshit in the garden and there are both weeds and gigantic amazing flowers.  And every now and then there is a little slash and burn and something new appears.  Or something blooms and gives way to another flower in its season.

        This site has led me to:

        *Write letters to Congress.
        *Join the Democratic Party.
        *Contribute $$$ to candidates.
        *Contribute $$$ to charities
        *Sign petitions.
        *Stay VERY well informed about politics- about 1 day to 1 week before the news cycle.
        *Feel like I am helping influence the news cycle!  I know stories and discussion here sometimes affects MSM and when it does, I am pleased.
        *Learn bits of HTML and start my own blog to keep my better ideas in.

        Don't let them get you down.  You have made something amazing happen in terms of political engagement across the spectrum.  And I want to win the next election very much.  This is the opposite of Karl Rove.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 04:04:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd like to challenge... (4.00)
    the premiss that we all out here thought that Kerry and the Dems were going to win, we were all on pins and needles and a lot of us were working very hard but we never were delusional enough to think Kerry and the Dems had things all wrapped up.  

    This guy made us look like delusional fools, and that was hardly the case.  

    absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limit's the freedom of another.

    by jbou on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:08:26 AM PST

    •  Good point. (4.00)
      I thought there was a decent chance Kerry would win, but I surely didn't think it would be a walk in the park.  No way I'd have spent several days of my life walking around Pennsylvania and New Hampshire knocking on strangers' doors when I hate to talk to strangers, otherwise.
  •  ...and after all that... (3.66) STILL think it's not a "hit piece"?
    I am certain you're far from perfect, as I, too, am part Greek, but you're being either too damn nice or simply disingenuous, Markos. On the other hand, firing back at them in any form will, to your critics, appear as if WM is right.
    Sucks bein' you, huh?
    BTW: Καλά Χριστούγεννα!

    "Oh look, (Shrub). What is it? It's a TOASTER!" -- Carol Kane in "Scrooged"

    by Newton Snookers on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:09:22 AM PST

    •  Agreed (4.00)
      Exactly my thoughts.

      If, in fact, the errors were as serious as he indicated, Markos' preface was way too kind. I cannot judge for myself, since 1. I didn't read the WaMo piece and 2. although I read and do a lot here, can't say I have my finger on the pulse of the dailykos.

      BTW: the secret code above is "Merry Christmas" in Greek. I'll bet you were thinking some secret code from Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or their best friend, Saddam Hussein.

      The sundown on the union was made in the USA. -Bob Dylan

      by PoPEar on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 04:39:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow (none)
    Is Jason Blair working again? I'm afraid to ask who wrote that. I almost feel sorry for the guy. But this was a hit piece if I've ever seen one.

    Might be time to start making a list of your enemies Kos.

  •  De un Salvadoreño a otro (4.00)
    De un Salvadoreño a otro, Muy bien dicho... continua con el tremendo trabajo que estas haciendo.
  •  Crete (none)
    I could comment on the article but that would mean I'd have to read it. Maybe tomorrow.

    But I will comment on Crete. That is one of the most amazimg islands I've been on. From the sliff tombs of Matala to the hikng the Samaria Gorge it was the best time I had in a month of traveling the Cycladic islands.

    Santorini is stunning but too touristy. Crete has the best of all worlds and you hang out with locals instead of tourists.

    "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

    by Mike S on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:25:12 AM PST

  •  Some of your complaints ... (4.00)
    ...are about interpretation, and some of the factual errors are fairly tiny. But I gotta say if Mr. Wallace-Wells had written a piece for a publication I ran, and I could verify he included as many major factual errors as you claim, I'd be hard-pressed to give him a second chance.

    Yes, we reporter/writer/bloggers all make mistakes. But Wallace-Wells seems to have made more in one 5,000-word article than a good journalist would make in 50 such pieces.

    I like the WaMo, but your critique will forever make skeptical of what I read there. Another trusted sources bites the dust.

    •  Loss of credibility (none)
      Exactly.  I read the WaMo parts, then Markos' refutation and kept reading...and reading.  Too, too many errors to lend credence to anything the author writes again.  Reminds of some of my neighbors who think they know everything about everything, yet are 90% wrong 92% of the time.  I see your lips moving, but you aren't saying anything.  

      I hope the author AND editor consider a rewrite.

  •  Feature, not a bug (4.00)
    Is my favorite part of the kos reply.

    But the gist of it -- that we focus too much on tactics and too little on policy, is a feature, not a bug. All the policy talk in the world is pretty useless when it means zero. I'm sure when Dems take back our government, policy will take a more prominant role on this and other blogs. But aside from that, there is a ton of policy talk on this site (the diaries are full of it) and the rest of the progressive blogosphere.

    Reminds me of Jonathan Chait's, "Policies Aren't What Matter in Politics," and this by Ezra Klein at TAPPED.

    At a time when this site is filled to the brim with legal arguments and impeachment talk, perhaps Larry Beinhart's piece will remind us of Kos's admonition. Beinhart says:

    The closest thing we have is an adversary system in which one party goes after the other with whatever means it can lay its hands on. Right now, one party has all the power to call the committees and set the agendas and issue the subpoenas.

    The only way the investigations will happen, the only way we will know if an impeachment is warranted, is if the Democrats regain control of at least one house of Congress.

    Now is the time to begin. To organize. To find people to support. To fight over the platform and the issues and then unite to achieve the best we can get. To raise money. To make plans. To work at the state level, to fight for favorable districts and to fight for reliable voting machines and to make sure voters get registered. To figure out how to make sure the vote is legitimate. So we can win and make sure it's not stolen.

    The next federal election cycle is less than a year away. Every house seat, every senate seat, is critical.

    Now is the time to begin.

  •  I am only now learning more about you, (4.00)
    Kos, so I find the details interesting.

    I do wonder about comparing us to a "noise machine."  

    David Brock described the workings and product--noise-- of the Republican media machine in 2004; his book came out about the time when DailyKos and other blogs began to raise eyebrows nationally.

    The Republican Noise Machine makes noise because noise disrupts discourse; it has the aim of "overturning. . .the First Amendment, which posits that good information will drive out bad information given diversity in the marketplace of ideas," as Brock notes--and as we have understood long before he saw the light, and wrote his book.

    We are the Democratic Sound Machine, presenting sound, reality-based political policy after honest debate. (Well, maybe my version is a bit too disco-y).

    Hence my quibble--we do not make noise. We think, and we listen to each other in a new form of Public Square for citizens to engage in real political discussions.  

    I bring this up because I noticed "noise machine" is part of the name of a panel in the upcoming conference, and I hope the phrase does not stick to us in its present form.

    Novus Ordo Seclorum. Since 1776.

    by Ignacio Magaloni on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:36:13 AM PST

  •  Never interview in person (4.00)
    This article is proof positive why Marcos should never do an interview, face-to-face.  No, I am not criticizing Marcos, but rather, I am pointing out that reporters are almost never 100% factual in their reporting, especially if they have an agenda.

    Do what one very popular legal "blogger" does: only submit to e-mail interviews.  That way you have the exact text of the interview, and there's no excuse for the reporter if a misquote occurs.

    Do yourself a favor and stuff away your ego and pride (I know, it's hard in the face of so much publicity), and never submit to a live interview, in person, telephone, chat room, or whatever, and insist that all interviews are conducted via e-mail.

    God love you Marcos; you just got taken by one of the oldest reporting tricks in the world!

    •  Just make your own recording (none)
      If you don't let people interview you in person, it looks as if you have something to hide. It's the kind of tactic that corporate CEOs sometimes use: They make sure everything is vetted by their legal and PR department first. Because of that, it can make good reporters very hostile, which probably isn't what you want.

      An alternative is just to make your own tape (or mp3) recording, so that you can prove that you've been misquoted if necessary.

  •  Can you expand on this: (4.00)
    ...the worst part about growing so big is that people might start taking my advice. And I mean it. It's easier being a critic and backseat driver when your words have no repercussions.
    I don't understand. You view it as a bad thing if people start taking your advice and your words have repurcussions?

    To me, that's the whole point of doing this. When people take your advice you can actually have an impact on the issues that you obviously care so much about.

    I wish people would take my advice. This world would be so much better if my words had repurcussions. Do you hear that, World?

    •  power is nice, but (4.00)
      With great power comes great responsibility.

      And responsibility, if you have a functioning conscience, can kinda suck. It's a lot of pressure. You get used to it, but after you've had to bear the mantle of responsibility for a while most people start wishing for the carefree days of their irresponsible youth. :-)

  •  Biggest blogger on the internets ??? (none)
    I stopped reading after I saw that whopper

    come on, you weigh, what ??? 140 pounds, soaking wet (I've seen Dood's pix)

    no way you're bigger that any other blogger on the internet

    I bet Digby weighs 180, at least, and I bet he's taller too

    and that part about "sheer vigor and clarity of his online manifestos", WTF ???

    was he talking about you ???

    that ought to throw em off the trail

    you know you hit the big time when the press fucks up your Bio

  •  Policy ... There are Terabytes of Tomes (4.00)
    of why the world needs trains instead of cars, good public education, health care that is accessable, a fair regulatory system, clean water air and dirt, ...

    they used to cause the shelves of univeristy libraries from sea to shining sea to groan, now they fill university hard drives from sea to shining sea.


    If they mattered, morons like Raygun would have never won.

    what we need for this policy is people who can take all the great ideas and package them effectively - like the thug "think" tanks.  

    ... of course, IF we could take that policy, and take the optimal slice of GNP pie to community investment, and then take the optimal slices of that pie and get the most out of those slices for education, transportation, security, retirement, healthcare ...

    well, it is easier to create tomes than to market them, and it is far easier to create tomes than concise HOW TO DO IT manuals.


    Grassroots Organizing Should Be for The Community, By The Community - NOT for "Leaders"

    by rmdSeaBos on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 01:01:49 AM PST

  •  I dont think this is completely true (none)
    They want to make me into the latest Jesse Jackson, but I'm not ideological at all," Moulitsas told me, "I'm just all about winning."

      Isnt that is what is wrong about the Dem Party previously---they thought winning is what matters even if they have to close their eyes about Iraq and the truth.

    Netroots supported an asterisk candidate in the primaries--Dean and Clark because they had courage to stand for the truth.

    Stop Corporate Influence; buy DEMOCRACY BONDS!!!

    by timber on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 01:30:38 AM PST

  •  In the few news stories I've known about... (none)
    I mean in the few I have had some personal knowledge of there have ALWAYS been numerous factual problems.  I think this more than anything explains the ability of right wing press to effect the rest.  Journalists are just flatout lazy.
  •  MLRS (4.00)
    I helped develop the inertial reference stable platform many years ago. Very cool stuff back then in the days before GPS. Using gyroscopes, you would turn the nav unit on and it would actually sense the rotation of the earth through space as part of its initial alignment process.

    I can't believe after all these years I've never met anyone who actually worked with the MLRS in the field. And when I finally do hear of one it turns out to be KOS! Yowza!

    A pessimist sees a glass half empty. I see a paper cup with holes punched in it.

    by Paper Cup on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 02:17:50 AM PST

  •  Was the mercenary comment 2003 or 2004? (4.00)
    I'm pretty sure you (kos) made that comment in 2004. Not 2003. I was really surprised such a huge error got in there, and even more surprised I haven't seen any corrections on that here. Was it 2003?
  •  LTE (none)
    Kos, are you going to write a letter to the editor? Maybe ask them if they will post your comments. Rolling Stone magazine sometimes posts rebuttals that are too long to publish in the mag to their Web site.

    Say no to hate, bigotry, and the author of the Fed. Marriage Amendment, Marilyn Musgrave. Please donate to Angie Paccione.

    by OLinda on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 04:12:51 AM PST

  •  Washington Monthly (none)
    Does everyone know the Washington Monthly is non-profit? I didn't until I subscribed and saw the notice in the magazine.

    The Washington Monthly is a nonprofit magazine dedicated to giving you the inside scoop on what's really happening in Washington and what can be done about it. Your tax deductible donation will support this insightful and innovative magazine.  Thank you for your generosity - - we rely on you to keep us going!

    Subscriptions are around $30/year, separate from donations.

    Say no to hate, bigotry, and the author of the Fed. Marriage Amendment, Marilyn Musgrave. Please donate to Angie Paccione.

    by OLinda on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 04:16:45 AM PST

    •  So is The Guardian (none)
      The left-leaning UK newspaper that uncovered many important political scandals (and thatgot Kos to report on the UK elections).

      It doesn't ask for donations, but it's based on the principle that all the revenue from ad sales and subscriptions goes back into reporting rather than to stock-holders.

  •  My biggest problem... (4.00)
    - that, out of all the magnificent front-page irregulars that have heated up the main page, they chose three: Billmon, DavidinNYC, and me.  That fact alone make this whole article suitable only for lining the cat box.

    I mean...Jeez!


    Judge me on the content of my character, not the diaper on my head.

    by Bill in Portland Maine on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 04:24:50 AM PST

    •  Hey BIPM (none)
      You're famous, get used to it. You have legions of adoring fans that hang on your every word. Of course fame without fortune kinda sucks. <snark>

      "We will go to the moon, and do these other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard". President John F. Kennedy, 1962.

      by Ed in Montana on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:32:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The facts (4.00)
    As long as the MSM and DCCC regard Kos as a threat, the articles describing him will be full of misinformation and hyperbole. The American media is all about creating a cult of personality around whoever they are writing about. If they can't sell Kos as someone with ever-increasingly-bigger ambitions, they'll project this BS onto him. If they told the truth, their readers would find the article a snooze.

    watch, I bet you the next MSM profile will describe him as a guy who likes his "salsa and merengue and can do without dancehall and reggaeton."

    Kos: The cult of personality reigns supreme. Make sure that you define yourself; otherwise, they'll just define you without your input.

  •  repeating gossip as fact (4.00)
    The kind of unsourced, inaccurate crap in the article sounds exactly like the sort of hushed coffee-room gossip that goes around any workplace. Markos is both popular and unpopular among various groups, so inaccurate rumors get spread about him. These are easily categorized:

    1. overstating someone's power and influence -- Foes like it because it generates fear, fans like it because it's wish fulfillment.
    2. incorrect stereotypes -- such as mischaracterizing Kos's audience. Foes love these, and fans may buy into it and repeat it because it's easier than finding out the truth.
    3. stories of failure -- whether true or false. Foes love these, and even fans may repeat a story against their better judgment if it's particularly juicy.
    4. character attacks -- preferably unprovable. For example, petty behavior behind-the-scenes after a public triumph. Another foe favorite.

    Geez, I'm surprised they didn't say he was sleeping with his secretary -- that's a popular one. Of course, maybe Elisa is his part-time secretary. :-)

    Real fact-checkers understand that gossip spreads, and simply hearing the same story from two or three sources doesn't make it true. You need to go to the source and uncover actual, objective proof before you state something as fact. For easily verifiable stuff like whether Markos held a meeting in the Capitol, there are some basic ways to check that. What room was it? What day was it? Who attended? Can you get positive confirmation from everyone you've talked to who supposedly attended? Or did everyone hear it from a FOAF?

    For actual factual stuff like the age demographics of Daily Kos, well, that's just sad. Who wouldn't go to the people selling advertising to confirm that? They're the ones that really have motivation to accurately understand the demographic. But beyond that, what about the site itself? There have been many age polls posted before and they all come out basically the same way. Here, let me help you out with a pre-filled-in Google search. The results you'll find are all within a few points of Kos' poll from today.

    Okay, give the reporter the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it wasn't intended as a hit piece. Maybe it was just astoundingly bad fact-checking. Even so -- you can be damn sure it's going to FUNCTION as a hit piece.

    Kos, I'd strongly recommend that you tell the WaMo both to re-fact-check and publish corrections, and to update or retract the story on their website. With all that crap in there, I can guarantee it's going to be a very popular cite for right-wing sites.

    •  hit piece (none)
      You know, after reading TrueBlueMajority's comment below, and going back to read the article more thoroughly, I am less and less inclined to give the reporter the benefit of the doubt. I think he did intend it as a hit piece. It's not just factually incorrect; overall it is really unflattering.

      Did he mean it as a hit piece? Well, like I said above... the reporter's motives aren't known to me, but regardless, it certainly FUNCTIONS as a hit piece.

      "He never blinks"? What's he trying to say, you're some kind of freakin' lizard?

      And stuff like "exasperated at the realization that he wasn't going to make a fortune in the high-tech boom". Maybe it's just me, but the constant references to your desire for money seem like shorthand for 'Kos is a greedy motherfucker'.  Funny how the same desire is always so laudable when you're a Republican...

      •  reporter? editor (none)
        Just correcting myself again. The author, Benjamin Wallace-Wells, is an editor of the Washington Monthly. He's around 28 years old, and former editor-in-chief of the Dartmouth Review (class of 2000).

        The only real non-journalism context I uncovered with a little Googling was this, a guy named Brian Beutler who mentions that he was hired at the WaMo by Ben Wallace-Wells, whom he apparently gets along quite well with. Brian seems awfully sympathetic to Wolfowitz and neo-con ideals in general in the post at the top of that page, though he's hostile to other conservative positions elsewhere in the blog. Definitely too little context to draw any real conclusions about Brian, let alone about Ben, but worth noting.

  •  Not sure what to make of the WAMO piece (none)
    I have always liked the Washington Monthly - it seemed to occupy the space between the New Reupiblic and The Nation - which is where I am politically.

    I must confess I missed the hearing about the secret plan to destroy the DLC.


    •  I missed it too.. (none)
      "I must confess I missed the hearing about the secret plan to destroy the DLC."

      Me too.  But good to know there is one!

      I hate to see this come out of the Washington Monthly.  I've been a subscriber since I was in high school (and I'm 42 now.  Yes, I was an odd kid) and it has been consistently a very informative, high-quality publication.

      However, I have noticed some changes since the founder, Charles Peters, retired.  I had hesitated to say the magazine was going downhill - had to give the new guys a good chance - but this piece really worries me.

      Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

      by countrycat on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:42:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reading this (4.00)
    I'm struck by how poorly reporters report anymore.

    Is it laziness?  Stupidity?  Or a need to frame a story around an already held view?

    Whatever the answer, what it does point how is how we can not believe what we read.

    •  All of the above (none)
      It's also selling news as entertainment. If you can't jazz up a story with some anonymous qoutes and juicy gossip, it's too boring. I trust blog news more than most mainstream news sources because bloggers are more upfront with their biases, and have probably researched more about a story than most reporters are willing to do.

      "We will go to the moon, and do these other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard". President John F. Kennedy, 1962.

      by Ed in Montana on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:40:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Coincidence? (none)
      Maybe our J-schools, and colleges in general, are as shitty as our public schools.

      In several of my work worlds, I have come along behind others, college grads, who leave every indication of being ill-educated morons. And I don't mean sophisticated flaws in theory - there's a lot of sheepskin dumbfucks who can't even spell.

      I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

      by labradog on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:47:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All right, already (none)
    kos, sometimes you give them credibility when none is due.  After about 20 points of disagreement over the peice my eyes rolled back in my head and I wanted to go read a good sports blog.  And, I am on your side...
  •  You can't have it both ways... (none)
    You may be an asshole. Or you may be an animated frog. But you can't be both. I mean, really, who are you kidding? Just give up the "I'm-an-asshole-and-I'm-an-animated-frog!" schtick, mister. You're really getting full of yourself. No one's ever been able to pull that off.

    But, seriously, as you point out with bizarro Kos, the piece gives me a taste of what so many complain about when they find themselves caught up in this game. Is this piece an outlier or do they all get it so wrong routinely? And I'm not speaking for the facts of your biography, etc. about which I know zippo but just the stuff about DK was so wrong--clearly one dude's personal perspective, very lightly leavened with research and then tarted up in objectivy, this-is-the-conventional-wisdom prose strutting about as if it is anything but one man's view.

    BTW: disappointed to hear that there is no ethnic-Greek enclave in El Salvador. Like a Greek dude hooks up with Salvadoran chick in Chicago--so melting pot. But that Greeks in El Salvador thing, I'm like, wow, is it like the Indian merchant class in Uganda? Are there Greek-towns all over Central and South America I've never heard of? Oh, well. Another buzz harshed.

    If He doesn't support consumer capitalism, ok, then why was He born on Christmas?

    by hoipolloi on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:18:01 AM PST

    •  not an outlier. common practice i'm afraid. (none)
      i had a time in my life of intense locally focused fame.  was interviewed a million times.  ok, maybe fifty times.

      every single article of more than a couple hundred words contained errors.  some were harmless and funny.  others required me to explain in rather strong terms that I never said any such thing.

      i eventually got to the point where I had to insist that all interviews be tape recorded with the tape retained by me so that if necessary I could prove I never made certain inflammatory statements and/or never mischaracterized my own background in any way.

      fact checking is a thing of the past.  i find this particularly funny because I once applied for a job as a fact checker at the Atlantic Monthly back when they had absurdly high standards for fact checking, standards that would be seen as ridiculous even by the WaPo or NYT or anyone else in the SCLM and absolutely incomprehensible to anyone in the VRWC.

      One of the wonderful things about dKos is that people are not allowed to be lazy about fact checking here.  If you post something that is factually inaccurate, someone will catch it and half a dozen people will insist you fix it.  In the good old days of serious journalism very major newspaper had a bunch of people like this called copy editors.  But there are a good many professional journalists working now, including apparently Mr. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, who have no one making sure that what they write is factually accurate, or if such a person exists, s/he is not taking the job quite as seriously as we take it here on dKos.

      I've always wondered what such people think when they watch All the President's Men and hear about the hoops Bradlee made Woodstein jump through to prove an entire story was right before he would allow any of it to go to print.  I guess they smile with cynical gratitude that such tactics are relics of the past, because a lot of them would be fired or otherwise out of work if they had to confirm the truth of what they write before anyone would print/publish/air it.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

      by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:20:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  sorry, kos, it is a hit piece (4.00)
    I've worked for some politically connected public figures and seen a fair number of hit pieces in my time, and I would characterize this as a hit piece.

    The definition of a hit piece is about tone rather than facts.  There is a way to get many facts wrong and still have appropriate and generally positive tone.  There is a way to get all the facts scrupulously right and still have a tone that is inappropriate and generally negative.   It's not as nasty as it could have been, true.  But openly hostile profiles are too easily dismissed; the most effective hit pieces always appear to be even handed while quietly slipping in the knife in as many places as possible.  

    You are personally described with a whole host of snarky adjectives:  irascible, touchy, shrill (twice), idiosyncratic, withering, high-strung, petty, self-assured, flailing, difficult, etc.  Even if some of these things are true, and you voluntarily describe yourself as an asshole, and you personally think it is an asset for a political tactician to be an asshole, these are not the words journalists usually use to describe people whose power they respect, at least not without qualifiers.  Difficult, but effective, for example.  "no literary pretensions"?   Please--you're a better writer than this guy.  Withering?  Only if you can't keep up, pal. "Too" self-assured?  It ain't bragging when you can back it up.

    "Competitiveness founded not on ... political principles"; "not always possible to discern a clear principle", dogmatic, no "fundamental paradigm" (whatever that means), [no] consistent or organized manner--this really irritated me.  I know you say you are not an ideologue, but there is a huge difference b/w principle and ideology, and the repetition of these comments makes you seem, well, unprincipled, which is a harsh thing to say about any public figure attempting to influence political decisions that affect millions of people's lives.

    Another expression repeated twice is "on the fly."  On the fly could have been used in the positive "seat of the pants" sense that makes you out to be a natural talent, but both uses here imply that you are an amateur who is out of his depth.  "No real political experience."  This is based on a pretty narrow definition of what constitutes politics.  Not being elected to office and not being a paid campaign staffer is not the same thing as having no political experience.  "their political consciousness begins with maybe the impeachment" "hasn't been reading TNR and the WaMo forever"  The clear implication is that you and younger dKos regulars are unaware of the history of political strategy in the Democratic Party because you did not live it.  Even if that were partly true, isn't the whole point that the progressive blogosphere is a new thing?  New tactics for new times?  If insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, isn't it an advantage to be unencumbered by direct personal experience of the losing history?

    You knew the Red Sox analogy was coming.  For decades baseball insiders would say that the team with the most ex-Red Sox (or ex-Cubs) could never win the World Series because the memory of repeated losing gets in the system and affects a player from deep within.  2004 took that argument off the table, at least with respect to the Sox (sorry Cubbies), and dKos could very well help take that argument off the table with respect to Democratic political strategy.

    The site itself is called harsh, impassioned, raw, humorless, infantile, and absurd.  I don't pick up a single positive descriptor of the site and the function it performs.   Humorless?  What blog have they been reading?  And what's with creating some false dichotomy between true believers and "aesthetes"?

    "shilling for Sheehan" really jumped out at me because she is a parallel figure of fear to certain establishment people--the idea that one individual with nothing more than passion as a guide could start something this big and garner this much attention and get this many people involved without the help of professionals with political experience who have been reading TNR forever might mean that the old-line experts are losing their grip on power.  isn't that the real motivator behind all their overt and covert attacks on you personally and on us in the dKos community?

    I won't even get started on the Dean thing, since you know I love me some Ho Ho, and the bad blood between DC insiders and Deaniacs really needs to be set aside to help him be the most effective DNC Chair possible.  "Deanism" could mean anything.  "Winnerism" seems like a word more accurately thrown at the Republicans.  But with respect to the polls and the election predictions, I'm obviously one of the people who believes you'll eventually be vindicated about this too, when the truth about Diebold and other forms of manipulation are ultimately revealed.

    Now granted I only skimmed this article because we all have better things to do on the day before Xmas Eve.  But a skim is actually the best way to pick up the general tone of a piece, to see what pops out and what is emphasized.  I know you don't want to blast these guys, kos, and generally I do think the WaMo is on the Blue Team.  But the WaMo is after all an insider magazine with a vested interest in massaging their readers and making you look like less of a threat.

    In general I like the way you are handling your personal publicity.  You've been very god at picking your spots.  I'm sure you know this, but I just want to reemphasize how important it is that you pick your next interview "yes" very very very carefully.  This piece, by mischaracterizing you and the site to a Washington insider community that already has misgivings about you and us, hurts rather than helps, IMO.  We don't need any more interviews of this tone, even in a side-burner mag like the WaMo.

    I hope your next major interview piece appears in a wider-circulation magazine outside the strictly political world.  The movement could really benefit next summer from a serious and even-handed piece that accurately describes you (with all your humanity and flaws) and dKos (with all its humanity and flaws) without this level of backhanded slaps and snark.  Has Vanity Fair been calling?  The New Yorker?  Rolling Stone?

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:52:16 AM PST

    •  physical description (4.00)
      I didn't even go into the emasculating physical description:  high-pitched voice (read: feminine), rounded face (read: feminine), and 5'6" (you get the idea).

      But I thought the line about the animated frog was actually endearing.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

      by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 07:01:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "shilling for Sheehan" (none)
      I didn't read the original article either, but this one clinches it.

      This writer has an agenda, and it ain't a good one.

    •  Hmmm (none)
      Good points. Perhaps I'm giving them too much benefit of the doubt.

      And yeah, I'm going to be getting a lot pickier with my interviews. I do so few already, which is one of the few areas where the piece got me right (I hate publicity, in part because of bullshit like this).

    •  a 2002 example of Benjamin Wallace-Wells in action (none)
      the most effective hit pieces always appear to be even handed while quietly slipping in the knife in as many places as possible...old-line experts are losing their grip on power...TrueBlueMajority 7:52:16

      I think I found a 2002 example of Benjamin Wallace-Wells in action.
      Complete with a comprehensive response from a victim who like kos hesitates to question the intentions of Wells.  

      Seems Wallace-Wells gets key facts wrong from the outset and then spends then rest of the article trashing decisions of one Denny Bolton a Pennsylvania school district business manager with scary quotes from other school business managers who "don't see the benefits" in the "backward--and damaging" "monopoly contract".

      Looks like Denny Bolton saved the teachers money by cutting out investment fees when contracting with a provider exclusively for a newly available 457 plan.  By falsely stating in the first sentence that the contract involved all "employee retirement plans" Wallace-Wells includes another plan, the teachers main 403 plan.

      More of Wells rattling of cages?  Perhaps protecting the fees of those "old-line experts losing their grip on power" mentioned by TrueBlue?

      The school business manager writes a letter to the editor saying he was "honored to have been interviewed" but needed to "clarify some inacuracies" in the Wallace-Wells article specifically that the new agreement involved "ONE, not the exclusive, provider to our 403(b) plan."

      Seems to me Wells should have got that right.

      Financial Firm Gets Exclusive Deal, Wallace-Wells
      Letter to the Editor, Denny Bolton

      Also, it seems to me, in the piece on kos, that
      "Silicon Valley-derived sense of power that holds that only the people who know how to program code can ever really run things"
      translates to: "liberal elite"

  •  Insist on correction (none)
    I'd demand the guy rewrite, retract, correct, etc
    That level of skewed info is not really up to the standards that Kevin (and others) consistently adhere to on Washington Monthly
    Repubs can and will use skewed info for their own devilish purposes, so this needs to be corrected, by the author
  •  i think it would be easier (none)
    to point out what the piece got accurately. They spelled your name right. Sorta.

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever. [George Orwell]

    by Krush on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 08:15:49 AM PST

  •  I recommend: (none)
     the WM "reporter" (and anyone else interested in the relationship between a subject and reporter) read Janet Malcolm's "The Journalist and the Murderer" -- she begins her book:
    "Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.  He is a kind of confidence man, preying on peoples vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse."  
    Straight-up: Kos got had by a second rate hack.  Benjamin Wallace-Wells needs to go back to school or do some more reading. Clearly, he never learned journalism ethics 101.  What half baked hole did this "reporter" guy crawl out of anyway?
    Is he paid for what he does?

    MSM should be called the corporate fringe media: CFM.

    by jdbrooklyn on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 08:33:58 AM PST

  •  props to MAR-kos (none)
    props to you for clarifying the mistakes---even if they made you look bigger than life.  takes a man of principle to point out mistakes, even if they're in his favor.
  •  Thank you Markos and of course Atrios... (none)
    We came, we wonk'd, and we kicked some ass.

    Oh, I needed that.  Yes.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    by deepsouthdem on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 10:15:08 AM PST

  •  Beware the Seduction (none)
    Kos, I wrote this yesterday and will say it again: Beware the seduction. I could see how you might look at my comment and say, What the fuck's he talking about seduction?, but look at what <i<Washington Monthly</i> doing.

    By criticizing you so outrageously, they've just drawn you into that orbit. Trust me, you're going to get a shitload of interview requests out of that article. There'll be the Washington Post. The New York Times magazine. The Atlantic Monthly. Vanity Fair. The New Yorker.

    The articles will get more accurate. The details won't be so stupidly wrong, and they'll be more inclined to say what you want them to say. By figuring you out, they'll impress you as having "gotten it." At that point, the hook's in the gullet.

    You've got a book coming out. Hey, congrats. Best wishes with it, honest to God. But that book exponentially multiplies the chances of your co-optation. Why? Every author needs the publicity machine, which means you're going to be beholden to those publications I just mentioned.

    Your most important tests lie just around the corner.

  •  To put it another way (none)
    You know that cheesy cable TV movie, The Devil's Advocate with Keanu Reeves as Faustus and Al Pacino as the devil? As Faustus remakes go, I thought it was pretty well done. I mean, you can watch it for the fourth or fifth time after a couple beers and still have a good laugh.

    Remember what Al Pacino's devil says at the end? "Vanity. It's my favorite sin."

  •  Know who you're talking to. (4.00)
    The "rock" this guy crawled out from under has already been identified. It's called The Dartmouth Review. It may be lost in the mists of time at this point but we ought to remember how the DR came to be. It was and is the flag ship of the Rightwing project of building its noise machine.

    Back in the late Seventies early Eighties certain well heeled funding sources on the Right decided to contest the perceived dominance of Leftwing thought on the nation's College Campuses. Particularly in the arena of student journalism. To this end it was decided to underwrite "independent" campus publications and staff them youthful, wannabe conservative journalists. The DR was a beneficiary of this strategy.

    In addition to contesting the "Left's turf" in academia, the strategy also provided the Right with a "farm team system" for developing a new generation of propagandists. We are currently living with the results.

    Paradoxically, the whole scheme amounted to a rip-off of the spontaneous, actually independent "underground" journalism pioneered by the radical Left in the late sixties. The alternative campus publications of those days didn't have corporate sugar daddys to fund them much less a partisan central command to direct them. What these most often smearily memeographed and passed hand to hand sheets did possess were links to the larger network of alternative publications that had sprung up across the nation. This popular phenomenon, spanning roughly 10 years, succeeded in producing a generation of journalists subject to a generally progressive, anti-authoritarian perspective.

    The Rightwing, never lacking in opportunism, drew the appropriate tactical lesson. They set about  creating their own "alternative, anti-establishment press". The establishment in this case being identified with the post war Liberal consensus. Along the way they built their own counter-counter culture, replacing the anarchistc individualism and volunteerism of the original with authoritarian populism and money.

    From such beginnings has grown the noise machine we know today, replete with  plum positions in the media stratosphere to dangle before good boys and girls who learn how to play the game properly.        Publications such as the DR aren't training grounds for journalists, they are conveyers for budding hacks, feeding them into well paid career tracks. That one such could lodge himself in a post at WaMo testifies to the success of the strategy.

    I once got a call from a fellow who identified himself as a researcher for Dinesh D'Souza (another DR alumnus if I'm not mistaken.) who was looking for resources for a book D'Souza was cobbling together on hate-crimes. Fortunately, I new enough about D'Souza not to take the bait.  

    •  The author of the Wash Monthly piece ... (none)
      ... came from the Dartmouth Review? Boy howdy, that does put a different spin on the knuckleball, doesn't it?

      And Kos, when I wrote about "seduction" yesterday and today, don't take it as a slam. I spent five years in D.C. and I'm trying to point out the pitfalls. As a city, Washington's charm wears off in two years, maybe three. As a community, its charm wears off in, oh, about two microseconds, maybe three.

      Given that this is Christmas time, I guess I can mention another movie, It's A Wonderful Life. There aren't too many George Baileys around these days, Kos. Those people in Washington will be looking for ways to tempt you a la Mr. Potter's fabulous job offer. Don't let it happen. Do your job here, and your friends will take care of you.

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