Net Root Hypocrisy
Didja hear about the netroot capo who had to settle with the SEC? Matt Drudge (of course) broke the story that, according to the NY Times, MyDD.com blogger Jerome Armstrong is paying close to $30,000 in fines to the Securities and Exchange Commission because he promoted the stock of a company on his blog and didn’t tell anyone he was being “compensated” for it (here’s the settlement). Roger Simon observes:
Now, as we all know, sleaze and corruption are not unique to either side of the political spectrum. But Armstrong, Kos & their netroot cronies have made a big deal out of clean government (and they should). So this kind of allegation speaks even more deeply to their ethics, as it it would for anyone in that position.
Moreover, this behavior, if true, besmirches blogging in general, harming all of us who take this enterprise seriously as a criticism of the activities of mainstream media….I’ll give Armstrong the benefit of the doubt for now. But he owes us all a complete and thorough explanation of how this came to be. Otherwise, he might as well quit blogging. He and his integrity are toast.
All those followers of Kos should be especially interested in this. I hope they don’t respond defensively, because if they do, the grounds for communication between intelligent Americans will be even worse than it is. How will we be able to take their pronouncements seriously?
Indeed. And Red State (schadenfreude, anyone?) reminds:
So, let’s review: one of the founding members of the left blogosphere not only got his start in politics by predicting races on the basis of whether “Earley’s natal Jupiter (that’s being transited by Jupiter), is being dragged down by his south node there as well,” he’s now settled with the government over charges that he failed to disclose a conflict of interest when the law (as well as a basic sense of ethics) would have required him to do so. As noted at the time, this allegation in particular is troubling because of allegations that Armstrong was engaged in a hype-for-hire scheme in which he failed to disclose conflicts of interest with respect to his political career as well.
Now, lo these many months ago, in the course of exercising his remarkable powers of persuasion to make sure that the rest of the liberal bloggers kept quiet about the whole situation, Armstrong’s long-time blogging partner and book co-author Markos Moulitsas said this:
Jerome can’t talk about it now since the case is not fully closed. But once it is, he’ll go on the offensive. That should be a couple of months off.
Well, it’s actually been a year. But the case is apparently fully closed. We eagerly await Vis Numar “going on the offensive” to explain whether he did or did not fail to fulfill his legal obligations to disclose that he was being paid to tout a stock. More Markos:
My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story. Then, once Jerome can speak and defend himself, then I’ll go on the offensive (which is when I would file any lawsuits) and anyone can pile on.
Well, folks, the world awaits. Is an “offensive” from Armstrong coming? I mean to say, beyond deleting diaries at MyDD that make reference to the settlement (I am told that the “inflammatory” diary title in question was “Jerome Armstrong Admits Wrongdoing.” The Google Cache has not caught it yet.)? Is Kos going to file a bunch of lawsuits now, to clear his name of the charges that the campaigns in question were really paying Armstrong in order to get favorable treatment from Kos? Or will another eerie silence fall over the left blogosphere like it did when this story originally arose?
The initial response over at Daily Kos? Drudge is Gay!!!!
How very “progressive.” (As Glenn R. puts it, “What is it with the lefty types and gay slurs?”).
Wonder what some of the local bloggers think of all this. (So far, crickets chirping…)
N.B. In the “Comments,” RI Future’s Matt Jerczyk points out that it wasn’t Kos himself who posted that “Drudge is Gay”, but one of his many “diarists.” Point taken. Instead of originally pointing to a “Kos” response, I should have used the more accepted “Kossack” to avoid any conflation between the Kosfather and his fellow travelers.
This kind of thing became inevitable once blogging became a profitable activity. Once somebody starts lifting those rocks, my money says you’ll see this kind of thing all over the blogging spectrum.
As for Kos’ bitchslap at Drudge, I just wish Kos had been a little more original and creative. Drudge has kissed the tushies of plenty of homophobic politicians over the years (read David Brock’s “Blinded by the Right”).
First of all people, your link to a “Kos comment” was not written by Kos. It was written by one of the tens of thousands of Kos diarists. Get your facts straight before making allegations.
Second of all, it seems to me that Armstrong did something wrong and he is now paying for it. Bloggers should always make a point of identifying their conflicts of interest and making disclosures.
No one is above the law.
Matt, I’ve clarified in the main post re: the Kos line. And, obviously, I concur with your second point.