...on the whole Kos/Jerome/Zephyr blowup. (Did I say two cents? Perhaps I flatter myself...)
I'm hardly an apoligist for Kos or Jerome. I do appreciate their work, generally, but since I was a pretty active anti-Dean blogger, some of our differences are apparent. I've cast a somewhat jaundiced eye on some of their tag team consultant bashing, considering that their own consultancy shingle
is still hanging high (and despite Kos' assurance that he's mostly out of the biz, he's still a partner in the firm which is still trading on his (well-deserved) high profile in the progressive community). I'm on the other side of Jerome on the DNC Chair question to some degree, and generally unclear about where Kos is on that one.
All that being said, there's just no question that both Kos and Jerome went above and beyond any reasonable level of disclosure and ethical behavior when Armstrong/Zuniga was employed by the Dean campaign. Anyone reading Daily Kos during that time found a disclaimer at the top of the page, and anyone reading MyDD simply didn't find a word from Jerome, because he suspended blogging for the duration of the consulting contract.
So why is it a big deal? Because Zephyr Teachout, for reasons which seem totally clear only to her, chose to bash Kos and Jerome, and by extension the internet team at the Dean campaign, on her Zonkette
site, assigning motives of questionable ethics to the decision to hire them. Trippi denies it and anyone who was reasonably observant of the scene at the time knows it's a crock, but it played right into the hands of the wingnuts as they campaign to rescue the reputation of the payola scandal surrounding Armstrong Williams.
Even our presumed friends are confused.
BEGALA: I don’t know. First, if in fact people were paid to flak Howard Dean and didn’t disclose it, that’s reprehensible. We talked about that earlier with Armstrong Williams, and the same standard should apply to liberals.
A couple of things are obvious from that quotation. First, Paul Begala's revealed as just another TV talker willing to prattle on about subjects he knows nothing of. Those that might bemoan the loss of his voice with the cancellation of Crossfire should be comforted that it's a much smaller loss than the removal of Carlson and Novak are gains.
It's also instructive about just how small the reach of even the biggest bloggers is. By the time Begala took to the airwaves with his blather, the truth - that Dean hadn't payed Kos or Jerome or anyone except his own campaign staff who wrote for his own campaign blog - to 'flak' for him had been prominently proven by Kos, Jerome, Atrios, Digby and any number of other heavyweights in the lefty blogosphere. Clearly, one of the most prominent liberal spokesmen in the SCLM went on the air without skimming any of them. All of us combined, I'm afraid, really aren't all that.
Then, of course, there's the craziness of the idea that there's any kind of equivalence whatsoever between the illegal reciept of government payola by Williams and the activities of overtly partisan bloggers. You can't hold people to the same standard unless they're involved in the same, or at least a vaguely similar, activity, and that's just not the case here.
Meanwhile, hay is made of this nonsense by all the usual wingnut suspects, simply because Zephyr couldn't resist a little of the intramural backbiting that's all too typical of progressive politics.