Monday, July 23, 2007

Jet Blue and the Yearly Kos

The Daily Kos is a blog run by Markos Moulitsas Zúniga. It has become the premier site for the left wing side of the blogsphere. This site (and others like it) has been successful in influencing the Democratic Party to push leftward the last few years. Kos will be having its second annual convention in August.

Unlike the usual Internet gathering, which consists of some posters and readers showing up in a bar to drink beer, Yearly Kos will the held at Chicago's McCormack Center. The three day conference features an impressive schedule of seminars, working groups and general sessions. Speakers include Donna Brazile, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Senator Dick Durbin, and you have to believe some of the Democratic candidates will make an appearance. It will be a major gathering for the Internet left, possibly rivaling CPAC's annual meeting in importance to American politics. Not bad for a site only 5 years old.

Almost as impressive is the number of sponsors lined up for the conference.

So what is the problem?

Kos won a real coup by lining up an official airline, JetBlue. Then JetBlue pulled out. Why? Because Bill O'Reilly and a host of conservative bloggers started to raise a fuss. Roger Simon has a good run down here and a defense of JetBlue here. I really cannot add much to Simon's statements. This is bad for the blogsphere as a whole, bad for the conservative and libertarian blogsphere, and bad for public discourse.

It is bad for the blogsphere as a whole because now it will cause mainstream companies to be wary of "investing" in the blogsphere. The idea of the blogsphere is to help break the stranglehold the mainstream media has on the intellectual marketplace. Companies must be able to see the blogsphere as an inexpensive and cost effective alternative to network television as a way to reach their customer base. Companies will be reluctant to invest in this new medium if every time they do, they are threatened with boycotts.

It is bad for the right side of the blogsphere as for one it looks vindictive and two anything that hurts the blogsphere as a whole, is going to hurt the right side too.

Finally, Glenn Reynolds thinks this whole thing may be Fox's payback for the "netroots," lead by Daily Kos, forcing the Nevada Democrats to cancel a debate on Fox News Channel. I think there may be something to that.

I am a minor blogger in this great and wonderful blogsphere. So while unimportant, I have no vested interest in the snipping and infighting that have marked the blogsphere since its beginning.

So how about this for a proposal -- a truce. The left got one, the right got one. Let's call it even. From now one, let's try and be civil. The Daily Kos is not the website of the anti-Christ. Let's try to win with ideas, not with overheated rhetoric.

Let's make civility the word of the day, week, month, year and decade.

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