Cage Match! Pass the Popcorn!
The New Republic launches a four-front offensive against weblogs in general, and Markos Moulitsas i particular:
The New Republic's Lee Siegel:
Lee Siegel on Culture: It's a bizarre phenomenon, the blogosphere. It radiates democracy's dream of full participation but practices democracy's nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination.... It puts some people, like me, in the equally bizarre position of wanting desperately for Joe Lieberman to lose the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont so that true liberal values might, maybe, possibly prevail, yet at the same time wanting Lamont, the hero of the blogosphere, to lose so that the fascistic forces ranged against Lieberman might be defeated...
The New Republic's Jason Zengerle:
The Plank: Are Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas (of the famous Daily Kos) engaged in a pay-for-play scheme in which politicians who hire Armstrong as a consultant get the support of Kos?... Why the strange silence in the face of such damning allegations? Well, I think we now know the answer. It's a deliberate strategy orchestrated by Kos.... [W]what was Kos's message to this group that secretly plots strategy in the digital equivalent of a smoke-filled backroom?... So far, Kos's friends in the fiercely independent liberal blogosphere seem to have displayed a sheep-like obedience to his dictat.... [W]hy did so many... follow Kos's orders to stay silent?... Kosola allegations.... [L]et's not underestimate their financial allegiances.... Kos runs... Advertising Liberally... gets to decide which blogs belong--and don't belong--to Advertising Liberally, which means a lot of these blogs' financial health hinges upon staying in Kos's good graces. Is it any wonder they're so obedient?...
The New Republic's Jon Chait:
Daily Kos excommunicates TNR--again: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga says nice things about Mark Warner, which means he's really just a pragmatist (or easily co-opted, but the effect is the same). All this is mostly true. What this interpretation misses, however, is that the radicalism of the lefty bloggers lies not so much in their ideological platform but in their ideological style. They think like sectarians.... More than two years ago, Kos launched what he called his "anti-TNR campaign," in which he declared us to be enemies of the people. Wait, sorry, wrong jargon...
The New Republic's Martin Peretz:
Forgive me. But I never read Daily Kos until today. Well, now that I've read it, the first thought that came to me is how illiterate Kos is, just plain illiterate. There has been other not-with-a-pick-axe-but-with-a-bludgeon left-wing journalism in the English speaking world, the American PM, for example, or the British Tribune. If you look them up (they must be some place on the Web), you'll see how elegant surgical argument can be. OK, that's not what the Daily Kos is. Daily Kos is actually a rant, Kos's own rant and then his comrades. And his rant against us, well, borders on a nut case's. When a high-minded or, rather, high-strung moralist is accused by The New York Times of journalistic hanky-panky and then by TNR of running an ideological censorship bureau, reminiscent of the old Catholic Legion of Decency, he will go off the rails. And he did.
Matthew Yglesias looks on with bemusement, and gives this round of the cage match to Markos:
TAPPED: The really great thing about the Daily Kos versus New Republic war is that the more each side opens their mouths, the worse you think of them. Markos's initial impulse to stay silent in the face of Chris Suellentrop's allegations seemed sound. Suellentrop didn't really have the goods. Let some time pass and the goods would either surface or not and there was nothing worth saying about it. But then Jason Zengerle started spinning a rather implausible conspiracy theory. Folks were rising to Kos' defense, but then Kos chose to ruin everything by penning a laughably self-regarding response (as I've been muttering around the office, the only real scandal in Kosland is that Markos is a bit of an egomaniac, but I assume you'd have to be in order to succeed in creating a massive online community) in which the key metric for judging TNR's degree of progressivism isn't their warmongering, but... their opinion of Markos.
As of late afternoon yesterday, I was ready to declare TNR the winner on points for having been less embarrassingly ridiculous about this, but then this morning I saw Lee Siegel's contribution to the debate explaining that not only Markos but "the blogosphere" generally is -- wait for it, emphasis will be added -- "hard fascism with a Microsoft face." Because, of course, Mussolini was well known for posting strident critiques of his political foes on the internet. Or maybe that was Hitler? Franco? Who knows. And what's soft fascism anyway?