Daily Kos

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Daily Kos is an American political weblog aimed at Democrats and progressives. It is arguably the most influential liberal weblog in the United States. Kos is pronounced so as to rhyme with dose.

Daily Kos is run by Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, a young United States Army veteran. It has daily traffic of 450,000 or more, and often reaches over 2.5 million unique visits in one week.

The main difference between Daily Kos and other liberal political blogs, such as Atrios, Political Wire or Talking Points Memo, is the sheer volume of content on the site. Daily Kos is not a standard blog, but an interactive site powered by the collaborative media application Scoop, by which user comments are privileged similarly to blog entries. Thus, while Moulitsas and several others post entries directly to the front page, the site also features "diaries," user entries that flow into the site at a speed of up to several per minute. These are identical in format to the main posts, and can advance to "recommended diary" status by user vote, or can be promoted to the front page by Moulitsas or any of the other users with front page privileges.

Daily Kos also contains permanent articles, glossaries, and other content. In April 2004, it started dKosopedia, a collaborative information clearinghouse available for open editing as a wiki, with its contents licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. The site is sustained by advertising, mostly for political candidates and books.

Daily Kos is the largest Scoop site, having surpassed Kuro5hin. The creator of Scoop, Rusty Foster, is a technology consultant for Moulitsas's company, Armstrong Zúniga.

Contents

2004 campaign fundraising

Daily Kos readers gave approximately $500,000 in user donations to chosen Democratic candidates denoted as most needing of the funds in the 2004 elections. All of these candidates lost. However, Moulitsas had stated that he was deliberately selecting candidates who were not receiving significant financial support from other sources; candidates who were expected to win — or even be competitive — were, by and large, already being funded by the DNC, DCCC, and other national and regional organizations. Thus, the selection of candidates reflected his belief that every seat should be contested, even the ones that were not expected to be competetive. He also argued that the campaign was successful in that it forced several Republican incumbents to spend time and money defending "safe" seats that they had never had to defend before. For example, between Tom DeLay in Texas and Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado, Moulitsas calculates that the seed money provided by the blog's fundraising tied up well over ten times as much GOP money in return, and kept two of the GOP's most prolific fundraisers back home campaigning in their own districts for several weeks each, rather than roaming the country raising money for other candidates, as they had in past elections. At least two of his candidates came exceptionally close to winning what would have been significant upsets.

Dean campaign consultancy

In 2003, Moulitsas was retained by the Howard Dean campaign as a technical advisor, an arrangement he disclosed on the site the next day. [1] (http://www.dailykos.net/archives/002972.html) A year and a half later, when Daily Kos criticized Armstrong Williams for accepting money to promote George W. Bush's education agenda (including the No Child Left Behind Act), The Wall Street Journal reported on the payment to Moulitsas as well as a similar payment to Jerome Armstrong. [2] (http://online.wsj.com/public/article/0,,SB110566243803425942,00.html?mod=todays%5Ffree%5Ffeature). The Journal cited Zephyr Teachout, Director of Internet Organizing for Dean's campaign, who posted on the subject in her blog. [3] (http://zonkette.blogspot.com/2005/01/financially-interested-blogging.html) Teachout said,

On Dean’s campaign, we paid Markos and Jerome Armstrong as consultants, largely in order to ensure that they said positive things about Dean. We paid them over twice as much as we paid two staffers of similar backgrounds, and they had several other clients.
While they ended up also providing useful advice, the initial reason for our outreach was explicitly to buy their airtime. To be very clear, they never committed to supporting Dean for the payment -- but it was very clearly, internally, our goal.

The Journal reporters have been criticized for equating the two events (Moulitsas and Armstrong were not journalists) and for "burying" deep in the article the information that Moulitsas had promptly — and prominently — disclosed the payment, and that Armstrong had stopped blogging entirely while working for Dean. [4] (http://www.campaigndesk.org/archives/001242.asp) In addition, Joe Trippi and other prominent former Dean campaign officials have disputed Zephyr Teachout's statements. [5] (http://mathewgross.com/blog/archives/001176.html)

Meanwhile, Chris Suellentrop of Slate criticized Moulitsas not for taking money from the Dean campaign — something he told his readers about — but for working as a political consultant for candidates for whom he raised money on his site. [6] (http://slate.com/id/2112314) Moulitsas has refused to disclose the names of his clients, citing non-disclosure agreements signed with the candidates in question; on the other hand, neither his name nor that of Armstrong Zúniga LLC has been reported in the Federal Election Commission financial disclosure forms of any of the "Kos Dozen" candidates. In addition, Jerome Armstrong has specifically denied that Armstrong Zúniga did any consulting work for those candidates [7] (http://www.bluelemur.com/index.php?p=555), and Suellentrop has provided no evidence to back his claim.

Fallujah contractors controversy

Daily Kos attracted some controversy in April 2004 by publishing comments about workers who were executed in Fallujah, Iraq that some considered to be insensitive:

That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries [sic]. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them. [8] (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/4/1/144156/3224#16)

The post was widely criticized on a number of conservative blogs [9] (http://michael-friedman.com/archives/000311.html). John Kerry's official blog removed a link to his blog in response [10] (http://blog.johnkerry.com/blog/archives/001494.html). Moulitsas later attributed his remarks to anger over the fact that the contractors in Fallujah were given more attention than the five marines who were killed on the same day, as well as to childhood memories of warfare in El Salvador. [11] (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/4/2/175739/8203)

First campaign convention credentialed blogger

Markos attended the California State Democratic convention in Sacramento early in 2004. To the best of my knowledge (and acknowledged by Instapundit), Markos may have been the first blogger to be officially accredited at a political convention.

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