NY Times columnist Brooks attacks 'Kingpin' of Daily Kos

Published: Saturday June 24, 2006

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(Update at end: Markos responds to "media" hits, as a blog from the right gloats)

In Sunday's paper, conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks attacks the founder of Daily Kos for acting like a "Kingpin" who "commands his followers" to "unleash their venom on those who stand in the way," RAW STORY has found.

"The Keyboard Kingpin, aka Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, sits at his computer, fires up his Web site, Daily Kos, and commands his followers, who come across like squadrons of rabid lambs, to unleash their venom on those who stand in the way," writes Brooks. "And in this way the Kingpin has made himself a mighty force in his own mind, and every knee shall bow."

Brooks' column was written in response to New Republic online articles that relied on private comments from left-leaning bloggers discussing the controversy which has enveloped around Zuniga's one-time consulting partner, Jerome Armstrong (and co-author on Crashing The Gates). Last weekend, articles on a New York Times blog and in The New York Post revealed that the blogger at Mydd.com who also works with potential 2008 presidential candidate Virginia Governor Mark Warner, got into trouble with the Security Exchange Commission for allegedly touting stocks on the Internet.

"Why the strange silence in the face of such damning allegations? Well, I think we now know the answer," wrote Jason Zengerle for TNR's The Plank. "It's a deliberate strategy orchestrated by Kos."

"My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story," Moulitsas wrote to fellow bloggers on a private list called 'Townhouse,' according to Zengerle.

"Jerome can't talk about it now since the case is not fully closed," Moulitsas explained. "But once it is, he'll go on the offensive. That should be a couple of months off."

In a subsequent post, Zengerle claimed that other bloggers wanted to "address these issues forthrightly," but one of the bloggers he quotes from the private email list maintains that he has no record of sending it.

"Only problem: I have no record of sending such an e-mail to the Townhouse list, Kos, Armstrong, who did not participate in any of the discussions, or anyone else," writes Steve Gilliard. "I didn't send any e-mail with that phrase at all."

Brooks suggests that Moulitsas is a hypocrite for lashing out at The New Republic for leaking the private emails.

"The Kingpin waxed Cheneyesque on the evils of leaking, and this time the squeaking fury of the Kossacks could be heard (to those capable of discerning high frequencies) far and wide," writes Brooks.

Brooks also compares Markos to the indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

"The Kingpin is not surprised by such betrayals," opines Brooks. "Sounding like Tom DeLay -- who is his moral doppelgaenger -- Kos says that those who crash the gates and take on the establishment are bound to be attacked."

While a plethora of bloggers on the right have accused Moulitsas of hyping candidates that his associates and friends work for, there doesn't appear to be any evidence that anything illegal occurred. Many on the left have argued that some of the allegations have been based on lies and misinformation, and that they are still firmly standing behind the two renowned bloggers.

Blog responses

In a brief post entitled "Really Quick," Moulitsas seemingly responds to Brooks' attacks, and to other recent mainstream media articles critical of Daily Kos and bloggers in general.

"Just a quick reminder as the media nip at our heels," writes Moulitsas. "We didn't get here because of them."

"They can praise us, they can trash us, they can ignore us, and ultimately none of that will matter as long as we keep doing what we've been doing," Moulitsas adds. "Whether we succeed or not will depend on our own efforts. Not those of anyone else."

On the other side of the blogosphere, a blogger at Little Green Footballs, a conservative blog nearly always at odds (some may say "at war") with Daily Kos, isn't very sympathetic, even though blogs on the right generally don't see eye-to-eye with the mainstream media, especially The New York Times.

"Oh man," writes Charles Johnson after calling Brooks "[o]ne of the only sane voices at the New York Times."

"Thatís gonna leave a mark," Johnson mockingly adds.

Liberal blogger Atrios instead pokes fun at Brooks' central thesis - that the Daily Kos founder tells everyone on the left what to do - in a short quip at his site Eschaton.

"Enjoy, until Markos says you aren't allowed to enjoy anything anymore," joshes Atrios.

(Note: Added Charles Johnson as blogger at Little Green Footballs)