The walled kingdom of

Citizen Kos

There's hope for the internet yet. When Michael Jackson died, the web was quickly flooded with hoax death upon hoax death (Jeff Goldblum, Britney Spears, Billy Mays -- oh wait, that one was true). But it just as quickly self-corrected. For every iteration of a false rumour came a fusillade of Twitter and Facebook replies beating it down.

That's the power of the crowd at its worst and best. It's something Markos Moulitsas, proprietor of the allegedly progressive group blog, needs to get a handle on right quick. Moulitsas, who styles himself a Democrat, runs his site with all the democratic instincts of an Iranian mullah. Odd behaviour for a guy who once write a book called Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics.

In Moulitsas' case, his tyrannical talents manifest themselves in his ban on discussion of 9/11 on his site. Correction: you can discuss 9/11, but only so long as it's within the parameters set out by Mr. Big:

"DailyKos accepts that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by agents of Al-Qaeda. It is forbidden to write diaries that:

1. refer to claims that American, British, Israeli, or any government assisted in the attacks

2. refer to claims that the airplanes that crashed into the WTC and Pentagon were not the cause of the damage to those buildings or their subsequent collapse.

Authoring or recommending these diaries may result in banning from Daily Kos."

I like that "forbidden." Dr. Evil, pinky raised: "Don't you know that disagreeing with me is . . . forrrrbiddddennnnnn!!!?"

Readers of this section of will know that I'm sympathetic to 9/11 scepticism, but mostly what I'm sympathetic to is scepticism in journalism. The notion that the publisher of a major website would forbid discussion of a topic, any topic, is anathema to me. Not that this sort of thing hasn't gone on for eons, but at least old-school newspaper proprietors could claim they only had so many column-inches and couldn't accommodate every point-of-view. Moulitsas has no such excuse, which makes his behaviour all the more retrograde. (Let's also mention his sidekick, Timothy Lange, who, as a "Contributing Editor" to the site -- pretty fancy name for a censor -- often takes care of the banning.)

Moulitsas may have learned this behaviour in the U.S. military, in which he enlisted immediately after high school. As he wrote when he first delivered his edict: "I can't imagine what fucking world these people live in, but it sure ain't the Reality Based Community." Translated into army-ese, this would be: "SOLDIER! THAT SOUND LIKE SOME KINDA COMMUNIST FAGGOT BULLSHIT TA ME!" And his decrees haven't been limited to 9/11. "[Hillary Clinton] doesn't deserve 'fairness' on this site," he advised his audience in March, 2008. He had various internecine Democratic party reasons for saying so, but mostly his beef was that she couldn't win the presidential nomination. Of this are Kossian principles made.

Moulitsas' defenders say it's his website, so he can do what he wants with it. Sure. And William Randolph Hearst was able to use his papers to plump for war, but that didn't make it good civic practise. There have always been sleazoid publishers who'll pursue an agenda not just through convincing argument but by suppressing dissent, but why Kos wants to join their ranks is beyond me. He needs to get a clue: if the Truthers are wrong, that truth will emerge, as long as good-faith debate isn't extinguished. And if they're eventually proven correct, he'll have a lot more to worry about than just the wound to his ego.

Or perhaps what he needs to do is institute a site-wide ban on all conspiracy theories. After all, just a casual perusal of the Daily Kos the other day brought up this one: "Something is not quite right here: The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a fundraiser for Francine Busby, who previously ran for the deeply-Republican Fiftieth District and came close to winning in the 2006 special election and subsequent regular election, was raided by sheriffs after an unnamed neighbor made a noise complaint . . . . Here's the twist: The fundraiser was hosted by a lesbian couple, and shortly before the sheriffs came a particular neighbor had shouted anti-gay slurs at the assembled crowd . . . . So San Diego cops usually respond to a noise complaint with eight patrol cars and a helicopter? Really?"

Sounds like the author might be on to something. His name? Markos Moulitsas.

"Something is not quite right here." Said like a true Truther.

- Frank Moher

Since that poll the other day,

Our margin has widened even more. The people have spoken!


Is it time for DKos to stop arbitrarily silencing discussion of 9/11 so-called "conspiracy theories," given that the government is now irrefutably involved in a cover-up of the financing of the attacks?
78% 685 votes
19% 171 votes
I don't care what you say, it's still too much for me to accept that conspiracies actually do exist.
1% 16 votes

| 872 votes

"(Let's also mention his sidekick, Timothy Lange)..."

He goes by the screen name "Meteor Blade." He's one of the people on the page which has photos and bios of DK contributors, who does NOT have a photo. He just likes to be an armchair spook.

Daily Kos is SO Mockingbird it ain't funny.