Newsweek magazine is tapping Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas as a contributor to its 2008 presidential campaign coverage. He'll write "occasional opinion pieces" for the magazine and website, continuing Newsweek's tradition of representing "a diversity of views," according to a defensive company press release. Moulitsas says the magazine will balance him out with a conservative that should make liberal bloggers' heads "explode." (Rachel Sklar has more.)
Reaction in the blogosphere has been muted so far -- a few conservative complaints and a smattering of liberal congratulations. People could just be busy with campaign politics and other issues, but I think that maybe folks are waiting for the other shoe to drop. The netroots often celebrates bloggers who "crash the gate," but if Newsweek pairs Moulitsas with a disreputable right winger, savvy activists may consider it too high a cost.
"By 'pairing' Kos with a nut, the [implication] is Kos needs to be a nut also," one Daily Kos commenter noted on Tuesday. Another asked Kos:
Congrats, Markos, But why did you tacitly approve Newsweek naming someone that will make our collective head explode[?] You essentially concede the MSM meme that Daily Kos is fringe [...] Why should Newsweek be allowed to name a wingnut "to balance you out." I bet your views are with the majority of this country on issue after issue and in poll after poll[...]
The netroots waged an effective campaign in 2006 against right wing blogger Ben Domenech, who was fired after three days with the Washington Post when reports emerged of his plagiarism and other questionable writings. Many liberal bloggers pride themselves as more ethical and honest than some of the more sinister web operatives on the Right. So if Moulitsas' ticket to this party required, say, escorting Ann Coulter, that would not play well. Yesterday, Moulitsas responded to reader comments by saying he had "no idea who would balance [him] out." Naturally, kosacks have already started their own online poll to speculate on the choices.