Daily Kos

Daily Kos
Daily Kos
Daily Kos logo.png
URL DailyKos.com
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Political blog
Available language(s) English
Created by Markos Moulitsas
Launched 2002
Alexa rank 4029 (September 2011)[1]
Current status Active

Daily Kos (play /ˈks/) is an American political blog that publishes news and opinions from a progressive point of view. It functions as a discussion forum and group blog for a variety of netroots activists, whose efforts are primarily directed toward influencing and strengthening the Democratic Party. Additionally, the site features a participatory political encyclopedia ("DKosopedia"), glossaries, and other content.

Daily Kos was founded by Markos Moulitsas (Kos from the last syllable of his first name, his nickname while in the military) in 2002. In 2007, its parent company, Kos Media, LLC, began a fellowship program to help fund a new generation of progressive activists. About a dozen contributing editors provide content for the site, with three to four new editors being chosen from the Daily Kos community every year.

As of January 2010, Daily Kos had an average weekday traffic of hundreds of thousands of visits.[2] It is financially sustained by advertising, with Google AdSense and Blogads. The ads focus mostly on activist causes, media, and political candidates. Members can also purchase an ad-free subscription to the site if they want.

The website ran on the Scoop content management system until 2011 when it moved to its own custom content management system referred to as "DK 4.0". In 2009, Time magazine listed the Daily Kos in its "Most Overrated Blogs" section.[3] Despite the listing, Time magazine readers named the Daily Kos the second best blog.[4]



Moulitsas and a small group of select contributors post directly to the front page; other users can post "diaries", the titles of which appear on the front page in reverse chronological order, with special attention and longer display time for those diaries highly recommended by other users. The other major source of content is the comments posted in response to front page entries and diaries. Comments for popular or controversial diaries or front page articles can run into the thousands.

Front page entries and diaries often take the form of a news story from an outside source interspersed with commentary from the author of the diary or post. Sometimes these stories contain a request for action from other members of the community, such as to get involved with a particular campaign, give money to a candidate or contact an elected official about an issue. Some front page entries are called "open threads", which encourage people to post comments on any issue. One of the versions of these open threads are "live threads" of commentary on important events happening in real time, such as debates or elections.

Administrators have the ability to edit or delete diaries, though this is done rarely. "Trusted users" have the ability to recommend or hide responses posted by ordinary members whose comments they deem solely disruptive. Less than 0.01% of comments are hidden.

Daily Kos had previously partnered with Research 2000 to produce nonpartisan polling for presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races across the country. In June 2010, Daily Kos terminated the relationship after finding their data showed statistical anomalies consistent with deliberate falsification[5] and announced its intention to sue the polling firm.[6][7]

On November 30, 2010, an agreement to a settlement began as lawyers for the Plaintiff filed a status report indicating that both parties were in "agreement as to the contours of a proper settlement but are still in the process of determining whether the execution of the proposed terms is feasible."[8] In May 2011, the Huffington Post reported that the lawsuit had been settled with Research 2000 pollster Del Ali making payments to Daily Kos.[9]


Prominent contributors

Numerous political figures use Daily Kos to publish frequent or occasional content, including consultants, candidates, and sitting members of Congress. Prominent posters include:

Current & Former officeholders
Former candidates

Contributing editors

List encompasses so-called "front-pagers," both past and present.

  • Angry Mouse (Kaili Joy Gray)
  • BarbinMD (Barbara Morrill)
  • brownsox (Arjun Jaikumar)
  • DarkSyde (Steven Andrew)
  • DavidNYC (David Nir)
  • DemFromCT (Greg Dworkin)
  • Devilstower (Mark Sumner)
  • DHinMI (Dana Houle)
  • georgia10 (Georgia Logothetis)
  • hekebolos (Dante Atkins)
  • Hunter (Michael Lazzaro)
  • Jed L (Jed Lewison)
  • Kagro X (David Waldman)
  • mcjoan (Joan McCarter)
  • Meteor Blades (Timothy Lange)
  • MissLaura (Laura Clawson)
  • Plutonium Page (Page van der Linden)
  • Scout Finch (Jennifer Bruenjes)
  • smintheus (Michael Clark)
  • Steve Singiser
  • SusanG (Susan Gardner)
  • Trapper John (Jake McIntyre)
  • Turkana (Laurence Lewis)

Guest bloggers

Beginning in 2003, as his blog expanded to a community, Kos appointed four or five "guest bloggers" (also called "front page diarists," "contributing editors," "front-pagers," and simply "FPers") who are selected from the community and tasked with regular contributions on the front page (without needing to have their articles recommended or promoted).

  • 2003: Billmon; Steve Soto; Steve Gilliard; RonK, Seattle
  • 2004: Meteor Blades; DHinMI; Melanie; Trapper John; theoria; DemFromCT
  • 2005: DavidNYC; kid oakland; Hunter; Armando; a gilas girl; Plutonium Page [47]
  • 2006: georgia10; SusanG; mcjoan; DarkSyde; Superribbie (announced as a front-pager, but backed out the next day, citing time constraints) [48]
  • 2007: BarbinMD; Kagro X; Devilstower; MissLaura
  • 2008: brownsox; Scout Finch; smintheus; Jed L.
  • 2009: Steve Singiser

Additionally, while on the promotional tour for Crashing the Gate, Kos turned over much of the day-to-day management to the 2006 guest bloggers. Emeritus guest bloggers have frequently retained some privileges depending on circumstances, but are not expected to post as often.

A front-page diarist known as "Armando" (Armando Lloréns-Sar)[49][50] took a prominent role during Moulitsas' book hiatus in 2005 and was well known for his foreign policy and legal analysis. He also had his own political blogging website, called Swords Crossed, and was a guest political commentator in a wide variety of media outlets, including The Majority Report and Talking Points Memo Cafe. After his identity and details of his legal career were made widely known, he announced his departure from Daily Kos in June 2006, citing loss of anonymity.[51] For 2 months, Armando would resurface periodically, and all of his comments were accompanied by a signature line stating that he would be returning to blogging in December 2006. Armando did indeed resurface, albeit under a user ID, "Big Tent Democrat," in September 2006. Armando "Big Tent Democrat" then left the Daily Kos site again in March 2007, citing "differences with the management."

Another contributor posts pseudonymously as "DarkSyde" on the front page of Daily Kos and a blog called Unscrewing the Inscrutable. He is best known as a science writer with specific attention paid to biology, astronomy, and political issues such as creationism or climate change. In particular, DarkSyde's Hurricane Katrina diaries were widely read during the storm and in the immediate aftermath. They are included in a collection of science articles in the e-book Kosmos: You Are Here, co-written with science fiction novelist Mark Sumner and illustrated by paleowildlife artist Carl Buell. All the contributors to Kosmos donated the proceeds to fund the YearlyKos convention.

"Bill in Portland Maine" (Bill Harnsberger)[52] is a front page regular, best known for his recurring Cheers & Jeers feature, in which he bestows plaudits and brickbats on various newsmakers. Cheers & Jeers, which first appeared on Daily Kos on 9 December 2003, has evolved into a mini-community within the larger Daily Kos community, in which members post announcements about weddings, engagements, births, deaths, pet news, and other personal items, as well as sharing their own particular plaudits and brickbats. He lives with his partner Michael (known as "Common Sense Mainer"), a cat named Vegas, and his beloved chocolate lab, Molly. In the fall of 2007, Harnsberger lost his job, and the Daily Kos community collected $50,000 in pledges to allow him to continue to write Cheers & Jeers as a full-time paid position.

On June 2, 2007, Steve Gilliard, one of the blog's original contributors, died at the age of 42.

Campaign fundraising

During the 2004 U.S. election campaign, Daily Kos readers gave approximately $500,000 in user donations to fifteen Democratic candidates denoted as most needing funds. The candidates were Tony Miller, Ben Konop, Daniel Mongiardo, Richard Romero, Samara Barend, Jeff Seemann, Nancy Farmer, Ginny Schrader, Jan Schneider, Lois Murphy, Jim Newberry, Brad Carson, Tony Knowles, Stan Matsunaka and Richard Morrison. All of these candidates lost. However, Moulitsas had stated that he was deliberately selecting candidates who were not receiving significant financial support from other sources; candidates who were expected to win — or even be competitive — were, by and large, already being funded by the DNC, DCCC, and other national and regional organizations.[citation needed]

He also argued that the campaign was successful in that it forced several Republican incumbents to spend time and money defending "safe" seats that they had never had to defend before. For example, between Tom DeLay in Texas and Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado, Moulitsas calculates that the seed money provided by the blog's fundraising tied up well over ten times as much GOP money in return, and kept two of the GOP's most prolific fundraisers back home campaigning in their own districts for several weeks each, rather than roaming the country raising money for other candidates, as they had in past elections. At least two of his candidates came exceptionally close to winning what would have been significant upsets.

Daily Kos led a fundraising campaign again in the 2006 midterm election campaign in conjunction with MyDD and Swing State Project. This time around, they raised over 1.4 million dollars for 17 "Netroots Candidates," of which 8 were victorious: Jim Webb (VA-Sen), Jon Tester (MT-Sen), Tim Walz (MN-01), Joe Sestak (PA-07), Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23), Patrick Murphy (PA-08), Jerry McNerney (CA-11), Paul Hodes (NH-02). Several other Kos-endorsed candidates came within 3 percentage points of winning: Larry Kissell (NC-08), Gary Trauner (WY-AL), Linda Stender (NJ-07) and Darcy Burner (WA-08). The success of these candidates can be simultaneously considered a cause and effect of the Democratic wave in the 2006 election: fundraising on Daily Kos and other progressive / liberal blogs / websites contributed heavily to this and other races, boosting recognition of Democratic candidates across the board; on the other hand, the general anti-Bush, anti-incumbency sentiment across the country[citation needed] helped boost these candidates and many others on the Democratic side.

YearlyKos convention

In June 2006, members of Daily Kos organized the first ever political blogger convention, called YearlyKos, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was attended by approximately 1000[53] bloggers and featured appearances by prominent Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, California Senator Barbara Boxer, General Wesley Clark, Governors Mark Warner, Bill Richardson, Tom Vilsack and DNC Chair Howard Dean. The event was widely covered in the traditional media including Capitol Hill Blue,[54] The Boston Globe[55] and MSNBC.[56] C-Span also carried portions of the convention.[57]

The event was generally[58] considered a success. YearlyKos 2007 took place in Chicago in August 2007, at which time it was announced that future conventions would be known as Netroots Nation.[59] In 2008, the conference was held in Austin, Texas, with a surprise visit from Al Gore. The 2009 conference was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from August 13–16. Pittsburgh was chosen in part due to its environmental merits, as the city is a leader in green building, with more square footage than any other city in the country.[60] In addition, the city has a rich labor union history, which also was a factor in its selection.[61]


Dean campaign consultancy

In 2003, Moulitsas was retained by the Howard Dean campaign as a technical advisor, an arrangement he disclosed on the site the next day.[62] A year and a half later, when Daily Kos criticized Armstrong Williams for accepting money to promote George W. Bush's education agenda (including the No Child Left Behind Act), The Wall Street Journal reported on the payment to Moulitsas as well as a similar payment to Jerome Armstrong.[1] Zephyr Teachout said,

On Dean’s campaign, we paid Markos and Jerome Armstrong as consultants, largely in order to ensure that they said positive things about Dean. We paid them over twice as much as we paid two staffers of similar backgrounds, and they had several other clients. While they ended up also providing useful advice, the initial reason for our outreach was explicitly to buy their airtime. To be very clear, they never committed to supporting Dean for the payment — but it was very clearly, internally, our goal.

The Journal reporters have been criticized for equating the two events (Moulitsas and Armstrong were not journalists) and for "burying" deep in the article the information that Moulitsas had promptly — and prominently — disclosed the payment, and that Armstrong had stopped blogging entirely while working for Dean.[63] Joe Trippi explained in an interview with Dave Winer that he wanted Kos so that Kos wouldn't go work for Clark or anyone else.[64]

Meanwhile, Chris Suellentrop of Slate criticized Moulitsas not for taking money from the Dean campaign — something he told his readers about — but for working as a political consultant for candidates for whom he raised money on his site.[65] Moulitsas refused to disclose the names of his clients, citing non-disclosure agreements signed with the candidates in question; on the other hand, neither his name nor that of Armstrong Zúniga LLC has been reported in the Federal Election Commission financial disclosure forms of any of the "Kos Dozen" candidates.

Armstrong Zúniga shut down after the 2004 political cycle, and Moulitsas has done no consulting since then.

Fallujah comments

Daily Kos attracted some controversy in April 2004 by publishing comments (written by Moulitsas) about the killings of four private military contractors in Fallujah, Iraq that many considered to be insensitive:

Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly. That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. [sic] They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.[66]

John Kerry's official blog removed a link to his blog in response.[67] In a subsequent article, Moulitsas attributed his remarks to anger that the Blackwater employees in Fallujah were given more attention than the five Marines who were killed on the same day, as well as to childhood memories of warfare in El Salvador.[68]

Conflict between supporters of Obama and Clinton

In early 2008, a major conflict erupted between Daily Kos users due to the rivalry between the two Democratic presidential candidates they supported: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.[69] The New York Times reported,

On Friday, it got to be too much for Alegre, a diarist on the flagship liberal blog DailyKos, who frequently writes in support of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. "I've put up with the abuse and anger because I've always believed in what our online community has tried to accomplish in this world," Alegre wrote Friday evening. "No more." Objecting to the tone of attacks against Mrs. Clinton and her supporters on the blog, the diarist called for a "writers [sic] strike." "This is a strike - a walkout over unfair writing conditions at DailyKos. It does not mean that if conditions get better I won't 'work' at DailyKos again," Alegre wrote, promising to come back only "if we ever get to the point where we're engaging each other in discussion rather than facing off in shouting matches."[70]

ABC News senior correspondent Jake Tapper described the disagreement:

This is how ugly things have gotten between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -- Clinton supporters are staging what they call a "strike" at the influential liberal website DailyKos. ... [T]hese diarists' boycott of DailyKos is indicative of the turmoil in which the Democratic party finds itself.[69]

On March 17, 2008, Moulitsas stated that Senator Hillary Clinton did not stand for the principles behind Daily Kos and said Clinton "doesn't deserve fairness on this site." He equated the Democratic primary to a "civil war." His statement was precipitated by a 'strike' conducted by several prominent pro-Clinton bloggers, even though none of these posters were paid or in any way officially linked to the site. Moulitsas noted that if bloggers were dissatisfied, there were plenty of other websites at which to blog.[70][71]

Related sites

  • Streetprophets.com is a "Daily Kos Community" focusing on the intersection of faith and politics, launched in 2005 by Moulitsas and Rev. Daniel Schultz (known by his username "pastordan"), a United Church of Christ minister from Wisconsin.
  • MotherTalkers.com is another "Daily Kos Community" focusing on the intersection of motherhood and politics. The three mom bloggers, Elisa Batista, Erika Chavez and Gloria Riesgo, share their take on modern motherhood and the relevant news that affects parents everywhere.
  • In April 2004, Daily Kos started dKosopedia.com, a political wiki, with the aim of compiling relevant information for netroots efforts, with its contents licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It applies open politics methods from George Lakoff's book Moral Politics. Some of its conventions are copied from Wikipedia and other projects in the GFDL corpus, including article names for neutral or non-controversial concepts like the names of elections. As of February 2008, dKosopedia had 13,962 articles. Notable DailyKos diaries are often adapted into dKosopedia articles. Compilation of timelines and profiles on political rivals are other major projects.
  • Another site created is Congress Matters. Congress Matters is dedicated to "watching, learning, analyzing and discussing the daily activities of the Congress." The site is run by David Waldman (known by his username 'Kagro X').[72]

See also


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  64. ^ Spider Jerusalem (2005-01-15). "TRANSCRIPT: Dave Winer interviews Trippi on WSJ story & blogging ethics (with poll)". Daily Kos. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/1/15/184659/384. Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  65. ^ Suellentrop, Chris (2005-01-14). "Blogging for Dollars". Slate. http://slate.com/id/2112314. Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  66. ^ Kos (2004-04-01). "Every death should be on the front page". Daily Kos. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/4/1/144156/3224#16. Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  67. ^ "Murderous rhetoric", The Spectator, April 10, 2004. See also Adam L. Penenberg (2004-07-07). "John Kerry and the Lost Kos". Wired News. http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,64113,00.html. Retrieved 2006-11-12. 
  68. ^ Kos (2004-04-02). "Mercenaries, war, and my childhood". Daily Kos. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/4/2/175739/8203. Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  69. ^ a b Tapper, Jake. "Clinton-Obama War Creates Serious Tensions at DailyKos." ABC News Political Punch, March 15, 2008.
  70. ^ a b Sarah Wheaton (March 15, 2008). "Blogtalk: Pro-Clinton Bloggers Boycott Kos". The Caucus - New York Times Blog. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/15/blogtalk-pro-clinton-bloggers-walk-out-of-Kos. 
  71. ^ Kos (March 17, 2008). "The Clinton civil war". DailyKos. http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/17/12417/1285/527/478498. 
  72. ^ About Congress Matters.

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