Monday, April 11, 2005

Daily Kos

As I got into the hotel room on the same layover mentioned earlier, I somehow stopped again on CSPAN. I used to watch CSPAN quite regularly--especially during the Impeachment Months. I've always enjoyed and often marvel at the balance they present.

Brian Lamb has to be the best at this. There are probably none better at asking fair questions. His questions are not so probing as to betray evidence of some agenda he might have, but just deep enough to elicit some information the audience might otherwise not know. Last night I saw his interview of Markos Moultisas (whom I will call "Kos" here) of Daily Kos.

First, some attribution. I am a libertarian-leaning conservative (or is it a conservative-leaning libertarian--I don't know). I don't often get over to Daily Kos, or any other lefty site. I have checked in occassionally to Democratic Underground, and find that they're generally off-the-deep-end nutty. I expected as much from him on this show.

And I was somewhat pleasantly surprised.

Here's some of what I learned about Kos...

  • I had always assumed that "Kos" was prounounced as in the first syllable of "Cosby". It more closely rhymes with "close", with a 'hard O'.
  • Kos is a veteran, family man, and quite well-spoken.
  • He is a very principled liberal. Not at all likely to spout "Chimpy McHitlerHalliburton".
  • He supports our effort in Afghanistan, but not Iraq. [Perhaps had I been more familiar with his site and his views, this might not be such a surprise to me, but it was.] I do wish he was more upfront about this, but again, that may be me, not him.
  • I first became aware of Kos after the uproar regarding his comments after the 4 Blackwater "operators" were killed and their bodies desecrated in Fallujah. He did expand on his comments, and while the explanation offered some missing context to his comments, he still ought to have more compassion for these dead Americans.

As I said, I was more than surprised at how reasonable he came off. He makes no apologies for what he believes, but he did make a couple of points that betray him.

  • He doesn't feel the need to check in on conservative sites, or explore conservative thought. He happily operates a liberal echo chamber, which he believes will serve as a place for liberals to organize themselves to better battle the conservatives. While I too don't check in often with the opposing schools of thought, were I (even occassionally) employed as a political consultant--and especially as a consultant to a party which is losing much more than they win--I think I'd spend some time wondering why my opponents were winning and I wasn't.
  • A couple of times Kos made the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy point. He pointed to the conservative views seen in the WSJ, Fox News, much of the blogosphere, and talk radio were dominating the media to the point where liberals just couldn't get their message out. He is correct that these media organs do lean conservative. And it is also true that these media are enjoying increasing influence in framing today's viewpoints [Again, he ought to wonder why this is.]. What he misses completely is that the NYT, LA Times, network TV, CNN and MSNBC all lean considerably to the left. Personally, I think the cumulative media message does provide balance.
  • I appreciated hearing his advice on how to blog. I am aware of the limitations of Blogger, and should I stay with this, I may move elsewhere. My blog's name may be too cumbersome (and certainly it is when you add the ".blogger" to the URL). I am beginning to consider whether I should play with my template (I like the background, but links showing up as purple against the blue background don't jump out as much as I would like.) I also need to make the site look more interesting, but again, I'm just learning all this, and it may change as I learn more.

Anyway, all told, I enjoyed Lamb's interview of Kos. I don't have many political agreements with him, but it was interesting none-the-less.

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