Zephyr 's Latest Distraction: Policing the Blogosphere

Zephyr Teachout keeps digging herself into a bigger hole. But, she's cagey. Today, she apologizes to Jerome of MyDD but not Markos of Daily Kos, and makes Joe Trippi out to be the ethical villain. Then, to get everyone talking about a topic other than her, she decides there should be a political bloggers' code of ethics. Her key idea is this:

...one thing we should do is engage citizen watchdog groups in finding out what bloggers are tied to what consulting companies, and prominently publish any contracts – and ask candidates not to hire any of the truly prominent bloggers unless they, like Jerome did, agree not post while consulting.

Cagey, because her latest idea will be so offensive to so many bloggers that her inaccurate allegations of last week unjustly smearing Jerome and Markos' reputations will be forgotten as everyone jumps into a discussion of whether bloggers should be policed.

My advice: Ignore her and don't take the bait.

Two quick additions, then hopefully I'm done with this topic.

Matthew Gross debunks Zephyr's accusations that the internal expecations of the Dean campaign were that by hiring Armstrong-Zuniga, Daily Kos and Markos would write favorably about Dean:

Laura Gross (no relation) is 100% correct when she says:

[T]hese guys were hired as technical consultants. Specifically, they helped the Web team pick a technology platform for the blog (Movable Type) and helped manage Internet advertising (banner ads, Google ads, etc.). They weren't paid to write content -- either for the campaign or on their own blogs. And just in case there was any ambiguity, the campaign made sure they had a notice saying "I am a paid consultant for Howard Dean" right smack on the front of their personal blogs.

As for the accusation that we had any other "internal goal": As is well known, I was the Director of Internet Communications and "Blogger in Chief" for the Dean campaign. To my knowledge, there was never any internal expectation that either Markos or Jerome would provide anything other than technical or advertising advice or services, and those were the only services they did provide.

One other thing I haven't seen mentioned. For someone so intent on being ethical, why did she choose a name for her blog so close to that of prominent blogger Wonkette? It may not be trademark or copyright infringement, but it's an obvious rip-off and seems like an attempt to get attention by riding the coattails of a more successful blogger. Not high in the ethics department, if you ask me.

Update: Mark of Norwegianity underscores that bloggers are not journalists. They are commenters, analysts and activists.

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    How could you take seriously someone with a name like that anyway? I'd rather get political analysis from Yahoo Serious.

    You aren't the first person to look askance at the odd coincidence between "Zonkette" and "Wonkette." [Ed. You are correct, thanks for pointing it out.]

    actually, talkleft, may i respectfully suggest we all just stop linking to and talking about her?

    But when will we find out how much money she is being paid to do all this? Trenchcoats and envelopes full of cash -- the Locust Party was exposed doing that a few weeks ago. How long before this particular Rove underling is exposed? He is SUCH a mafioso.

    Paul In LA - So besides the Repubs stealing the election, being racists for fighting in Iraq.... We now know that Zephyr is a Republician Operative working for the World's Greatest Political Operative, but Evil, Karl Rove.... Thanks. My first real chuckle of the morning. Have you thought about a career in comedy?

    Re: Zephyr 's Latest Distraction: Policing the Blo (none / 0) (#6)
    by Avedon on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 09:24:30 AM EST
    And, of course, the only people who would care about following this "Bloggers' Code of Ethics" would be liberals, and the only people who would be held to account (or smeared) for failing to follow it are liberals, so the only people who would have to have ethics are liberals. But wait, it's like that now.

    No Jim, your Nuremberg Grin is well known around here. 50,000 children murdered in Iraq. A ha-ha-ha. --

    Re: Zephyr 's Latest Distraction: Policing the Blo (none / 0) (#8)
    by Kevin Hayden on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 10:25:53 AM EST
    I'm an old-fashioned anarchist. A blogger's code of ethics is something not needed by those who have them already and would be not heeded by those who haven't any. Codes, regulations and laws have little impact without enforcement and this proposal seems unenforceable to me. It is not that free speech or bought speech that poses threats to a society. It is the political class doing the buying that needs the regulation and oversight. If anything needs doing, it would be in campaign funding and payout rules, not on blogger disclosure rules.

    yeah, a code of ethics seems to be antithetical to the idea of blogging itself. most of the time, conflicts of interest and incompetence is pretty self evident.

    oh, and bias is pretty much a given :)

    Hey, don't blame us. This episode *stinks* of Naderite Nannyism. I suggest our friends on the Progressive Left look for Teachout's next manifesto: Blogs: Unsafe at Any Connection Speed.

    It's irrelevant what Kos was paid by the Dean campaign or his other clients, whoever they may have been (we can assume that they're left of center, and therefore, like Kos, ethically sound by definition). That much is obvious. There's no ethical issue there at all. In any case, we can safely disregard anything Zephyr says, because she's obviously working in the interests of the GOP. Her words are bought, and therefore worthless. Anybody who suggests otherwise is trying to stifle the legitimate debate by bringing up an issue about which there *is* no legitimate debate, and I for one find that very frighteningly Orwellian. We have to fight against that. That's how the GOP operates: They permit nobody to break ranks and criticize any aspect of their thought-collective. Anybody who does is instantly McCarthy'd as a "sellout" and traitor to the cause. That's why they've been so remarkably silent on the Armstrong Williams issue. They never admit wrongdoing on the part of their own. It's beyond laughable how corrupt they are. When you compare their ethics to ours, it's just sad. When one of ours -- like Zephyr -- acts unethically, we instantly hold them to account. The repos could learn from us, if they weren't too busy congratulating themselves on their own imaginary superiority.

    W Smith writes - " (we can assume that they're left of center, and therefore, like Kos, ethically sound by definition). That much is obvious. There's no ethical issue there at all." Do you really mean that? I mean, honest?

    Poker Player, we all know who the crooks are here. Again, the right seems determined to stifle the debate by derailing it into the cloud-cuckoo land of intellectually illegitimate partisan nonsense.

    Ooooh, Wonkette vs. Zonkette. I haven't had this much cat-fight anticipation since the two Moxies squared off. Now if we can just get Jello™ as a sponsor we'd be set!

    And you have exactly zero proof that this comes from the right - just your paranoia. It could be some faction fight/power play within the left - probably having something to do with the Dean nomination for the DNC chair. I doubt Rove even cares. I suspect it's beneath his notice.

    No, Rove's too detail-oriented and obsessive. Beneath his interest? Hell no...this is a classic Republican covert dirty trick opportunity with a classic "misdirection play" cover story (makes it look like Dean liberals pulled the trigger). Conclusion = Zonkette a paid Rovian troll/mole trying to make liberal bloggers look as bad as Armstrong Williams and CBS ("everyone's on some kinda take...no opinion is authentic and un-paid for"). Meta-cynically yours, J

    W Smith - So you are the keeper of legitimate debate subjects. Gee. I didn't realize. You know, as I have said. The blog belongs to Kos. He can do what he pleases with it. Why Zephyr decide to bring the subject up, heaven knows. But somehow I don't think she is an evil Repub mole working for the Great Rove. My guess she suffers from the same disease that made Robert Novak bring up the Plame incident. TL has it right. She wants attention. BTW WS - Be careful your halo doesn't fall down around your ears, short out and make you start seeing re-runs of 60 Minues II in which the saintly Democrats use forged documents to attack an evil Repub. I'm LOL.

    That's how the GOP operates: They permit nobody to break ranks and criticize any aspect of their thought-collective. Anybody who does is instantly McCarthy'd as a "sellout" and traitor to the cause. Yeah, that's why pro-choice folks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Condoleezza Rice, and Rudy Giuliani are kept far away from the levers of power, and pro-war leftists like Ed Koch and Ron Silver aren't invited to any Vast Right Wing Conspiracy events. I'd offer more examples, but I'm going to the local Church of God with Signs Following potluck supper and law school textbook burning we're hosting for those vile libertarians Glenn Reynolds and Eugene Volokh, so I need to make this quick. That's why they've been so remarkably silent on the Armstrong Williams issue. Yeah, nobody [1] has [2] said [3] anything [4] at [5] all [6]. Probably because this is such common practice among conservative authors, that Republicans have already developed a comeback plan for him. Best, Jeff

    jackl, you're right. Dean remains the number one threat to the GOP anschluss. He's the one they can't buy and can't beat. He scares them out of their pants, even more than Kos does. The repugnicons can see the walls closing in and they're desperate now, like cornered rats. I don't think open violence can be very far off. I've seen a number of clear indications that they're recruiting and indoctrinating street-fighters already. This unprecedented and breathtakingly vicious coordinated attack on Kos is the obvious opening move in their strategy: They're attacking our lines of communication before they strike. Fortunately, they're too stupid to do it effectively. Nobody on the left even cares about their stories. We know ourselves too well: We can't lie, and we can't cheat. That's in our very nature as progressives. We discuss the matter, agree on an explanation for the discrepancies, and move on. And that's why we're going to win.