Monday, January 17, 2005

Kos and Payola

I still think that on most counts, Kos is on higher moral ground than either Armstrong William or Jon Lauck and Jason Van Beek. But Zephyr Teachout's latest post is a serious, serious problem for Kos.

If what Zephyr is saying is true, Kos wasn't on the take for opinions he actually believed in--instead, he went on the take and then changed his public advocation. In Armstrong terms, he wasn't doing it because it's something he believes in.

The problem with payola is that it makes it difficult to tell whether someone is telling you something because they believe it, or because they're being paid. I believe Armstrong when he says he supported Bush's education policy before he went on the payroll.

That doesn't mitigate Armstrong's sins, but it does make Kos's much, much worse: His payola wasn't just icing on the cake. The Dean campaign literally bought his opinion, and stole him away from the Clark campaign. I don't know how anyone could read his site for anything other than entertainment value now.


Dean Barnett said...

But it is VERY entertaining, featuring a witty urbane style and a breathtaking variety of opinions. I think of it as sort of a virtual Algonquin Round Table, just with more body-piercing and less bathing.

greg46107 said...

My sense is everyone's missing the boat on this except Chris Nolan. I think she really hit the bigger issue here that we all missed. So I posted on it.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know how anyone could read his site for anything other than entertainment value now."


I like the "breaktaking variety of opinions" as well. You'll see everything from "Bush is Hitler" to "Bush is worse than Hitler."

Vox Poplar said...

Maybe he should change his name to THE DAILY COST?

He should also put up a menu:

Call Bush a dummy $19.95
Call Bush a fascist $19.95
Call Bush Hitler $19.95
Call Bush 'Worse than Hitler' $19.95
Blame tsunami on Bush $19.95
Blame tsunami on Rumsfeld $19.95
Use racist language to insult Condeleeza Rice $19.95
Endorse your choice of Democratic candidate $19.95

It isn't that far from the truth.

Anonymous said...

This is an absurdly ridiculous "controversy." Some left-wing hack ("Kos") gets paid to spout an opinion. So what? The columns posted on his web site either withstood scrutiny with a well-founded premise and a logically-based conclusion, or they were crap. Caveat emptor. You get what you pay for, especially when it's free (to the consumer) opinions. You Slaves work for an opinion magazine where, presumably, you get paid for writing opinion pieces (which might also include some original reporting). Obviously the GS web site is distinct from the WS site, but there's no moral ground here--just reputations.