Jerome and Kos- Where Are The Disclaimers?

This is a cross post from Burnt Orange Report.  This is not meant to piss anyone off or point any fingers, I just want to improve the world we all love- blogging

Anyone who has been to MyDD or Daily Kos over the last couple of weeks have noticed that in their coverage of the DNC Chair race a couple of things stand out: a pretty intense support (even if left unstated) for Howard Dean and a pretty intense opposition to Martin Frost (stated loud and clear).  This is their right, and though I disagree with them it doesn't make me think any less of them as bloggers.  What does make me worry is their lack of disclosure on a couple of points.

First, that both of them are business partners in a consulting firm that counted Howard Dean as one of their clients, at least in the past.  Once you've had financial ties to someone, you can't very well call yourself a journalist if you don't tag that onto every statement about the person- particularly when your statements appear contrived to make the person look good.

Secondly, that after Kos made some very foolish and hurtful remarks about private military contractors in Iraq (a position my Dad now holds- training Iraqi police commandos in Baghdad for DynCorp) Martin Frost withdrew his advertisements from Daily Kos.  Once again, the guy essentially took money out of Kos' pocket and Kos never mentions this potential source of bias when he is reporting on the DNC Chair race.

This isn't meant to bash them or crib a page from the right wing talking points, but I think they should either give full disclosure or stop writing on this topic.  As their coverage has been pretty good (if, as noted, a bit slanted towards one candidate) I would hope that they wouldn't give up reporting on the subject.  But it is important that anyone who casually saunters onto their sites knows that this isn't just a couple of earnest progressives speaking their mind- they are two businessmen who are commenting upon former clients and unfriendly business associates.  

If we ever want blogs to be taken seriously we have to live up to very high standards.  When I talk about party matters I note (as I will note here) that I am an employee of the Texas Democratic Party and that nothing I say is meant to be representative of the views of the party, its staff, its chairmen, candidates, office holders, executive committee or contractors.  Kos and Jerome should do the same, for the good of blogging.

I hope I didn't piss anyone off, but it needed to be said.

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Comments

20 Comments

what text would you like to see?
After you come up with text perhaps you could point to examples of other consultants and functionaries making public disclaimers about supporting candidates in similar situations.
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 01:39PM | 0 recs
Bye.
The subject of MyDD and dKos disclaimers has come and gone.  No one is unaware of these facts who has been paying attention.  You can cry all you want, but it won't amount to a hill of beans.  No one is claiming to be a journalist.  What you think?  No one gives a shit.  Take a freaking hike.

"If we ever want blogs to be taken seriously we have to live up to very high standards."

Who gives a shit about your sanctimonious standards.  Go take a long walk off a short dock.

Speaking of standards, since you are so in favor of them, you should have listed your disclaimer up front before I had to read that pile of crap.  Also, since you admit bias, I choose to completely ignore your whinings.

by manyoso 2005-01-18 01:48PM | 0 recs
a more perfect discussion
Maybe each of us should have to post a link to our FEC registered campaign contributions so we could have more complete disclosure.
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: a more perfect discussion
Who I give money to and how much is my own damn business.
by michael in chicago 2005-01-18 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: a more perfect discussion
except if you give over $200 to political candidates.

the original suggestion was made "tongue in cheek"

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: a more perfect discussion
I know. Just staying in character with you....
by michael in chicago 2005-01-18 02:40PM | 0 recs
No it didn't need to be said.
I wouldn't say pissed off, but it does bother me a bit. This statement in particular:

"Once you've had financial ties to someone, you can't very well call yourself a journalist if you don't tag that onto every statement about the person- particularly when your statements appear contrived to make the person look good."

We're not journalists. We're bloggers. A journalist is suppose to objectively report the news. Bloggers are partisan and generally comment, discuss and move to action to counter the other side. Big difference. Journalists get paid. Blogger don't unless they have something to offer a campaign. Bloggers have a hard enough time earning a living.

Kos' posts on Frost highlight his willingness to break ranks with his own party, and to campaign on that fact - actions that undermine any organization from a local union to a national party. His willingness to "proudly stand" with the President makes his selection as head of the party completely unrealistic. One can not oppose what one was proud to stand with the other side.

Frost is a good Democrat and has a good voting record. I don't think he's the guy for the job. That's all Markos is pointing out. Trying to point out that he might be posting to get back at Frost for pulling his ads is just another attempt to smear him in my opinion. If Kos was making stuff up, that's one thing. But he's not. Is it slanted? Sure. But Kos is partisan and we all know it. But he's partisan to reform and the netroots. I like that kind of partisanship.

Blogging ethics is another one of those academic discussions that just get in the way of what is going on here on the front line. I think Jermone the new dad said it best in post about the waste of time this issue is. To quote from that post:

"What the campus blogethicists don't understand is that we are at war out here every day on the frontlines as partisan Democratic activist bloggers against a Republican machine that uses whatever means it takes to win. So, if it's not against the law, I don't want to hear about it, because in the political arena, the first thing that matters in elections and campaigns is winning, with the only accountability being the electioneering laws of Congress. Only after winning do we have a chance at enacting a progressive agenda. Let me be very clear in what I'm advocating. I blog, and when I work in campaigns, the only standard that is applicable are those that the FEC demands."

by michael in chicago 2005-01-18 01:50PM | 0 recs
full disclosure?
AndrewD, are you really an employee of the Texas Dem Party?
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 02:00PM | 0 recs
the problem with your problem
Does everybody who ever took a dime from a candidate have to disclose this every time they state their opinion or write a column?  Some people who are actual Journalists have worked for all sorts of people.  The disclosure statements might be longer than the articles.  This doesn't even go into the fact that both the parties in question don't even act like they aren't biased.

Yes, Frost pulled his ads, and it can be construed that Kos not liking him has to do with financial reasons more then it does the fact that Frost was a total wimp and backed down.  Do we need another Republican-light Wimp as DNC Chair?  If that is your argument, then argue it, please.

I appreciate your disclosure.  So instead of saying that you don't agree with Kos and Armstrong on specific points about Frost (who knows what you are thinking), you make up this fake outrage stuff.  That is just a crappy way to argue.

by charlesdog12 2005-01-18 02:01PM | 0 recs
Yes
If you are on the payroll of a party, you shouldn't fob off your opinion as disinterested. Its like a media corporation disclosing the parent company that owns it whenever it does a story on them. E.G. NBC and General Electric.
by Paul Goodman 2005-01-18 02:24PM | 0 recs
improving the community
AndrewD's failure to engage in dialogue is another bullet in the argument that people that don't post comments or hardly post comments shouldn't be allowed to post diaries.
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 02:02PM | 0 recs
Bloggers aren't journalists
You mention that Kos and Jerome shouldn't call themselves journalists. As far as I know, they do not consider themselves journalists. They consider themselves bloggers.

I grow weary of the notion that bloggers should be held to journalistic standards, especially when journalists aren't even being held to journalistic standards. I don't know yet what ethical standards bloggers should adhere to, and it would be nice to see bloggers self-govern. But one of the great things about blogs is complete, unfettered free speech. It's the wild west.

It seems the notion that bloggers "owe" something to the public is again, holding blogs to journalistic standards. Readers trust bloggers on a personal, not an institutional, basis. But mostly, blogs are community forums. Kos and MyDD are better at this than most, with diaries as well as comments. Would you apply these standards to all MyDD diary posters, like yourself?

The application of journalistic standards is something that distinguishes the media from bloggers. The reason it is harped on negatively is that bloggers do frighten journalists, and all media reportage on blogs reflects this bias.

As for disclosure, I've been loyal readers of both blogs. When Kos was working for Dean, he displayed a banner at the top of the page; it was the first thing I saw when I opened the site (and as I recall, Jerome shut down this site, with a message posted explaining why).

I didn't mind that. In fact, I am someone who reads Kos and MyDD BECAUSE they are connected to campaigns/candidacies. I like the perception that they're working with some of the behind-the-scenes grunts who weren't publicly known names, but who knew what was going on.

As a discerning reader, I can also tell when someone is shilling. It always comes out in the dishonesty and disingenuousness of their writings. Watching some of the conservative media, commentors and bloggers contort themselves to support a dishonest Bush policy, for example.

by wordcruncher 2005-01-18 02:08PM | 0 recs
Andrew Speaks for Himself
I just wanted to add that Andrew speaks for himself and not for the other co-bloggers over at my blog, Burnt Orange Report.

The disclaimer issue is over.  I posted that on my blog.  It should have nothing to do with the DNC race.

As for the DNC race, I think that the attacks on Martin Frost have been unfair in many ways (which I've noted on my blog), but these are two unrelated subjects.

by ByronUT 2005-01-18 02:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Andrew Speaks for Himself
ByronUT, I would be interested to know what you think of Kos new post relating another television ad that Frost ran placing himself side by side with Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Dennis Haster in his support for President Bush?

I don't mind if Frost is a conservative democrat, but how in the world can the man run the DNC and face Tim Russert when he runs ads touting his support for President Bush alongside Dennis Hastert?

The two are entirely incompatible.

by manyoso 2005-01-18 03:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Andrew Speaks for Himself
any attack is unfair
by kydem 2005-01-18 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Andrew Speaks for Himself
Thanks for the disclaimer BryonUT. It should be quite clear by now that Andrew and everybody else needs to mind their own business. Each community will make their decision in their own way. Each community will live or die or linger slowly depending on the consequences or benefits of the decision each blogger and the community they serve makes.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-18 08:00PM | 0 recs
Frost just seems a bad choice
One thing I may be overeagerly counting on from a DNC chair is an ability (or a strategy) fight anticipate and then effectively counter Republican wedge issues. Judging by his ads posted at Kos, it seems Mr. Frost has actually served as a wedge himself -- and don't for a minute think the Bushies don't know it. They did this to Kerry: "he agreed with us on NCLB, and now he's against it. Flip-flopper!"

Aligning himself with the very politician who is intentionally and institutionally using wedge issues to destroy us seems counterintuitive to Democrats' survival.  

by wordcruncher 2005-01-18 05:21PM | 0 recs
DailyKos claims 300,000 viewers a day
That gives a lot of power and influence to the lead writer.

Most of us thought he was completely on the level.  And not
held to what you call "blog standards"  and the rest of us calle "corruption."

As lead writer, I think that Kos has a responsibility to hold high journalistic standards.

Not try to manipulate people who trust him.

You don't think so.   That's fine.

So why are you making such a big deal that some of us don't think it's cool to endorse Howard Dean for chairman without any sign that he worked for the man.

That's just basic, common sense integrity.  Either ya got it or you don't.

It's really creepy to hear all of these "liberals" whining at the idea that they are expected to have basic integrity.

by zinc7 2005-01-18 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: DailyKos claims 300,000 viewers a day
That's your third 3 from me zinc7. You are such a kidder. I love your droll sense of humor.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-18 07:57PM | 0 recs
Re: DailyKos claims 300,000 viewers a day
Zinc7, I knew he was working for the Dean campaign (and I didn't support Dean). He said so. One reason I came back to read the blog was that I knew he was connected to the Dean campaign.

How was I manipulated?

I would agree that if Kos were a journalist, one could call this corruption. Journalists are supposed to be objective, untainted by either side of a story. Blogs, by definition, are a subjective exercise in writing. As such, it makes no sense whatsoever to hold blogs -- whether liberal or conservative or libertarian in nature -- to the standards of an objective media.

There's nothing here, dude. Judging by other comments I've seen, you are trolling (in the traditional, not the Web, sense) for nooses with which to hang us.  

by wordcruncher 2005-01-19 08:50AM | 0 recs

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