Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ethical Problems in the Left Wing Blogosphere

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, proprietor of the Daily Kos liberal blog has been getting some flack lately.

And well deserved flack, it seems.

To begin with one Jerome Armstrong, an associate of his, has been discovered to have been charged by the SEC with promoting the stock of BluePoint Linux Software Corporation on his financial Internet site.
On March 6, 2000 and after, Jerome Armstrong (“Armstrong”) promoted BluePoint on the Raging Bull internet site, which carried hundreds of posts about BluePoint. Armstrong received undisclosed compensation from Markow and Goelo in return for his posts.
Promoting a stock in which you have a financial interest, without disclosing that interest, isn’t just poor journalism. It’s against Federal securities laws.

Armstrong ran the celebrated 2004 Internet fundraising effort for Howard Dean and wrote a book on “people-powered politics.”

He now runs the liberal internet site, and is in charge of Internet strategy for Mark Warner, 2008 presidential hopeful.

According to the New York Post:
“This was a long time ago and I settled the case without admitting or denying guilt, and I paid no fine,” said Armstrong, who refused to comment further.

Armstrong signed off on a settlement of the charges on Dec. 16, 2003, barring him from touting securities. In addition, Armstrong agreed never to deny any of the SEC charges.
A somewhat embarrassing side issue is the fact that Armstrong is an astrologer.

Which brings us back to Zuniga (“Kos”).

He sent out an e-mail to sympathetic (leftist) bloggers, suggesting how to handle the story.
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.

This story will percolate in wingnut circles until then, but I haven’t gotten a single serious media call about it yet. Not one. So far, this story isn’t making the jump to the traditional media, and we shouldn’t do anything to help make that happen.

My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story. Then, once Jerome can speak and defend himself, then I’ll go on the offensive (which is when I would file any lawsuits) and anyone can pile on. If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let’s starve it of oxygen. And without the “he said, she said” element to the story, you know political journalists are paralyzed into inaction.

Thanks, markos
Translation: cover-up.

In fact, the strategy wasn’t successful, since New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a column about this today. Brooks pointed out that Kos is hostile to all but the most left-wing Democrats. Hillary is way to moderate for him.
But the centrist Democrat Mark Warner has also hired [Zuniga’s co-author and one-time business partner Jerome] Armstrong as a consultant, and the Kingpin has graciously exempted Warner from the seventh circle of Kos hell. Warner is frequently celebrated on Daily Kos as something akin to the second coming of F.D.R.
So it seems that if you hire Kos’ buddy, you get favorable treatment on his blog.

Leftist bloggers who prate about a “culture of corruption” in Washington might look a bit closer to home.

All this comes on the heels of the news that the conviction of leftist sugar-daddy George Soros for insider trading has been upheld.

The people who have been throwing all the stones now look pretty naked in their glass houses.


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