THE BLOGOSPHERE'S SMOKE-FILLED BACKROOM:
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? That's the question that's been bouncing around the blogosphere ever since The New York Times's Chris Suellentrop broke the news last Friday about a 2000 run-in Armstrong had with the Securities and Exchange Commission over alleged stock touting. But Armstrong, Kos, and other big-time liberal bloggers have almost entirely ignored the issue, which is a bit surprising considering their tendency to rapidly respond to even the smallest criticism.
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. TNR obtained a missive Kos sent earlier this week to "Townhouse," a private email list comprising elite liberal bloggers, including Jane Hamsher, Matt Stoller, and Christy Hardin Smith.
Interesting - the Kos himself recently explained that
"I used to say this was a leaderless movement, and I was wrong. It's not a leaderless movement; it's a everybody-who's-part-of-it-is-a-leader. And so you can take any single individual down, and it will continue to live on.".
Based on the existence of this Clownhouse Cabal, I infer that some are more leaderless than others, or some are more a part of it than others, or something. But I digress.
The Kos assured his followers that he would commence his pushback any day now, like right after the elections:
I am exploring legal options against some of the wingnut bloggers who are claiming I'm syphoning netroots money into consultants and my own pockets. Note how Glenn Reynolds is fueling it with his typical passive aggressive, "I don't think it's a big deal, but let me provide links to everyone who thinks this is THE BIGGEST STORY EVER!"
And Jerome's case, if it could be aired out, is a non-story (he was a poor grad student at the time so he settled because he had no money). 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.
"Exploring legal options"? Oh, stop - do the critical thinkers at the Clownhouse take this seriously? As a Meet The Press guest, touring book author, and prominent blogger, Kos is a public figure who will have a nearly impossible time sustaining any kind of defamation action.
And Jerome won't be going on the offensive any time, unless he intends to violate the terms of his SEC settlement. I posted links to the key legal documents in this old post, but the key bit was this, from the consent agreement (5 page .pdf):
Defendant agrees not to take any action or to make or permit to be made any public statement denying, directly or indirectly, any allegation in the complaint or creating the impression that the complaint is without factual basis.
Maybe we can anticipate a very quiet pushback in a few months. That's the ticket.