Popular liberal blogging website Daily Kos has declared that, as of March 15, it will be banning third parties and harsh criticism of Hillary Clinton.
Markos Moulitsas (who goes simply by “Kos”), the founder of the site and an unapologetic shill for the Democratic Party, announced on March 4 that self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders has essentially lost the presidential primary, and any users on “his” site must therefore kowtow to warmongering Wall Street-backed neoliberal millionaire Hillary Clinton, lest they face digital purgatory.
After the primaries on March 15, “I will no longer tolerate malicious attacks on our presumptive presidential nominee or our presidential efforts,” Kos writes, speaking on behalf of everyone who uses the high-traffic site.
Ironically, almost exactly eight years before, during the presidential campaign in mid-March 2008, Kos banned criticism of Obama and insisted Clinton “doesn’t deserve fairness on this site” — but more on that in a moment.
Purging the leftists
The draconian Kos orders that there be “No attacks on Hillary Clinton using right-wing tropes of sources.”
He says “constructive criticism from the Left is allowed,” but insists that actual political critiques constitute “destructive criticism.”
“If you’re resorting to cheap sloganeering like ‘oligarch’ or ‘warmonger’ or ‘neocon,’ you might want to reframe your argument in a more substantive, issue-focused and constructive matter,” Kos writes. “Again, I’m not interested in furthering the Right’s hate-fueled media machine.”
That is to say, in the mind of Daily Kos’ overlord, calling an oligarch an oligarch, a warmonger a warmonger, or a neocon a neocon — if that oligarch, warmonger, or neocon happens to be a Democrat (and many Democrats fall neatly into all three categories) — is just right-wing hatred, and will presumably lead to an immediate ban.
Leftist writer Carl Beijer articulated the perfect response to the rule.
Then the clincher: “Saying you won’t vote, or will vote for Trump, or will vote for Jill Stein (or another Third Party) is not allowed,” Kos declares.”If that’s how you feel, but have other places in which you can be constructive on the site, then keep your presidential feelings to yourself,” the Daily Kos despot states.
Kos also goes out of his way to ban “pessimism” and being a “Debbie-Downer,” substantive political concerns.
After March 15, Kos orders that there be “No re-litigating the primary.””I don’t give a shit what Clinton or Sanders said in the primary anymore. It’s over. Move on,” he says. “Anyone who is interested in keeping our primary divisions open and festering can go do that somewhere else.”
And, finally, even the establishment gets a good deal (shocker) under Emperor Kos’ new commandments.
“Battle ‘the establishment’ where it makes sense,” the glorious leader declares. “So you are angry at the establishment? Go stick it to the man in downballot races where there good anti-establishment candidates on the ballot [sic].”
“We pick our battles, and in many places, the establishment will be our allies,” Kos openly admits.
He adds, “we go to election season with the party we have, not the one we wish we had.” In other words, don’t criticize the fact that the neoliberal Democratic Party is owned by Wall Street. Hold hands with the bourgeoisie and frolic down the street with the enlightened liberal ruling class in your battle against the stupid Republicans.
Ironic blasts from the past
This isn’t even the juiciest part, however.
Hillary Clinton “doesn’t deserve fairness on this site,” Kos proclaimed on 17 March 2008.
Why? Because she “fails the test of the guiding principles of this site” and has “no reasonable chance of victory.”
How the times have changed. Almost exactly eight years ago, in a piece titled “The Clinton civil war,” Kos effectively banned criticism of Obama and support for Clinton, arguing she and her supporters were “fomenting civil war in order to overturn the will of the Democratic electorate,” with the support of anti-democratic superdelegates (which he still opposes today; I’ll give him a point for consistency).
In response, pro-Clinton users declared that they were going on “strike” (cute, considering at their first date, longtime scabs Hillary and Bill crossed a picket line).
Kos countered the “strike” with similar language: “It’s a big Internet, so I hope they find what they’re looking for.”
Daily Kos’ modus operandi: Ban the dissidents
Daily Kos has never been an inclusive space for actual leftists. This new policy should not come as a surprise in any way. It has always preferred to silence and purge actual leftists than allow them to even cordially challenge Democratic dogma.
The website banned me in October 2014 for criticizing Israel — an action obedient Democrats will never tolerate. When I appealed my ban, I wrote a statement making it “clear that this decision was strictly a political one,” based on “the absurd notion that criticism of Israel and of Zionism is ‘anti-Semitic,'” which I called a “patently ridiculous idea that is exploited to silence criticism of Israel.
I emphasized that “all of my articles are motivated precisely by an anti-racist philosophy,” noting “I criticize Zionism and Israel’s ethnic cleansing precisely because they are racist. These policies of racism and ethnic cleansing are well-documented by countless academics and journalists, and I always cite reputable and scholarly sources in order to prove my points.”
Daily Kos replied to my appeal telling me its “review of your content brought administrators to the consensus that it was racist in impact, regardless of your intent.”
Quite the irony, then, because every day we see more and more how Daily Kos is extremely reactionary in impact, regardless of its intent.