blogging, ethics and Zephyr Teachout

Now that the dust has settled, I have a few final remarks to make about the recent storm-in-a-blogosphere-sized-teacup over Zephyr Teachout’s remarks concerning blogs, ethics and a couple of prominent bloggers.
Regarding Kos: it’s my enduring suspicion that Teachout thinks Kos somewhat less than honest, because there’s a clear difference between her unequivocal apology to Jerome and her remarks regarding Kos. To the extent that it’s because of the remaining clients that Kos won’t disclose (and presently cannot disclose because of the nature of his contracts with them), I think ZT is being both inconsistent and overly hard on Kos. He was operating in the absence of the very community mores (concerning such things as client disclosure) that I am arguing for, and that ZT seems also to regard as worthwhile and necessary. If Kos got it wrong, that’s something the blogosphere will work out with the benefit of hindsight, and it’s a bit much to expect Kos to have nailed it first time around. ZT and Joe Trippi have both made similar arguments regarding decisions that were made in the absence of any precedents during the Dean campaign. (I will add, though, that I hope a more stringent standard of disclosure will become the norm as these conversations continue to take place.)
To the extent that ZT’s attitude towards Kos has to do with history between the two of them, well, she should have kept it to herself — but I have no idea and no way of ascertaining just what that extent may be. I will say that the accusations of grandstanding leveled at ZT ring hollow to me. Plenty of people comment on other blogs then post versions of those comments on their own site, and I see no reason to assume ZT is lying about having started the blog as a way of hashing out ideas for the much-maligned Harvard blogging ethics conference. Similarly, several commenters have raised, with varying degrees of vitriol, the idea that malice born of the refusal of Armstrong/Zuniga to employ ZT is behind any of this. Having no way to know how true that may be, suspecting as I do that ZT rather dislikes Kos, and observing that ZT has a pretty sweet job now and was never wanting for employment prospects, I think I’m just going to assume that particular accusation is bullshit.
Regarding the Dean campaign: my earlier comment was partly inaccurate, since although Trippi has directly quashed the idea that Armstrong was hired so that he would give the campaign good press, he was less clear about Kos’ hiring. As I understand his remarks (in the Winer interview), Kos was hired as much to get him on side and keep him from advising others as anything. That’s also the implication I read in ZT’s narrative here. That scenario makes some sense to me, as I can’t see that Kos had much to offer the Dean campaign that they couldn’t already get from Armstrong. It seems to me both slightly unsavoury and probably standard-operating-procedure for a political campaign to have hired Kos on that basis. On that note, I don’t buy Chris Nolan’s assertion that ZT, politically astute Dean supporter, was all along carrying out a cunning political maneuver designed to boost Dean’s chances at becoming DNC Chair. If the whole “blogola” thing has had any effect on Dean it’s probably negative by way of a spurious association with pay-for-play, and if it did undermine Kos or Armstrong, well, they are both for Dean.
Finally, regarding the response to ZT: wow. I honestly didn’t realise there were so many assholes nominally on the left. Kos and Armstrong may be excused the vehemence of their reactions, but their supporters and defenders, by and large, responded with inexcusable violence. I don’t mean physical violence, but there were even threats of that — one comment that sticks with me mentioned wanting to shave ZT’s head in the manner of WWII collaborators. Jesus fuck. What’s wrong with these people? Message to everyone who felt the need to call ZT vile names and post foul imputations about everything from her motives to her sexual habits: get off my side. Really. Go join Free Republic; I hear your ilk is welcome at sites like Little Green Footballs and Instapundit.