Every time I think it can’t get any worse when it comes to the cult of personality society has become, I’m proven wrong by the latest political development. Jumping sharks has become the norm as carnival barkers wearing the guise of journalists and courtiers pretending to be activists are engaged in a persistent race to the bottom of absurdity.
Two days ago, Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Daily Kos, galvanized his massive netroots following to purchase 25,000 roses for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When I first saw the headline on Facebook, I really thought that some enterprising satirist used Photoshop to take a swipe at Moulitsas . It took a tweet from Glenn Greenwald lambasting this most outlandish story for me to realize that this embarrassing event actually took place. Not only did Moulitsas loudly proclaim this moronic stunt, he actually pinned the story on his Twitter timeline like it’s something to be proud of.
The Daily Kos was founded on the principle of “crashing the gates” and shaking up entrenched political interests. Moulitsas rose to prominence by pretending to be against the establishment and feigning outrage at the abhorrent domestic and foreign policies of the Bush administration. The Daily Kos quickly became the Drudge Report of the left. Claiming to receive over 2.5 million unique visitors a day, it is one of the most powerful political blogs in the world. In reality, Moulitsas was a rank opportunist who saw an opening to the be Rush Limbaugh of the left.
Moulitas was at the forefront of “news as you want it”; by catering to ideology and identity above everything else, he elevated his stature while taking a sledge hammer to journalism. This is why his humiliating outreach to Nancy Pelosi is such an affront; instead of speaking truth to power, Moulitsas chose to literally throw roses at the status quo.
Worse than the actions of one charlatan is the fact that Moulitsas convinced his legion of followers to kick in their hard earned money to purchase tens of thousands of dollars worth of flowers on behalf of a kleptocrat who is worth more than $100,000,000. This is endemic of our time; political idolatry is turning the proletariat into the foundation of the plutocracy—they call us their base for a reason. When it comes to people turning themselves into the bases of politicians, the Daily Kos is the golden calf standard of fetishizing politics.#DailyCult Click To Tweet
In all honesty, the Daily Kos is the extreme of what has become par for the course when it comes to journalism and political activism. Speaking half-truths and situational morality is an epidemic that has destroyed fact-based reporting and supplanted it with agenda driven pablum. There is a reason for this of course, there is a lot of money to be made by indulging people’s preconceived notions and fostering group think.
More and more journalists are endeavoring in this insidious practice of customizing their reporting to the preferences of their demographics. This is why the same people who were outraged when Bush was bombing Baghdad were silent while Obama was obliterating Damascus. This is also the same reason why people who were outraged about Obama’s imperial presidency are all the sudden infatuated with Trump taking a blowtorch to the Constitution and the rule of law.
P.T. Barnum supposedly once said that there is a sucker born every minute. I think he vastly underestimated the count and he also forgot to note that there is a shyster born every month to take advantage of the free supply of idiots who are willing to part with their money and their minds in order to pay homage to their political gods. This benighted state of our nation and the fact that there is such an overwhelming number of blind and zealous followers to be culled by demagogues is the reason why opinion leaders are more interested in carving out a pliable audience than they are in rooting out corruption.
Moulitsas takes the cake when it comes to grifters who parade as journalists, he cunningly positioned himself as the left’s preeminent blowhard and rode that gravy train on his way to fame and riches. The same way he duped his followers to fork over tens of thousands of dollars to buy roses for Pelosi, he leverages the Daily Kos to start one fake crusade after another where he asks his audience to donate money and then skims off the top to benefit himself. As I noted earlier, Moulitsas’s practice is a grotesque manifestation of what journalism has become in the age of narcissism.
There is a heavy price to pay for this level of obsequiousness to political ideology. While charlatans like Moulitsas smile and preen with the very politicians they are supposed to be keeping in check and get paid handsomely for their hypocrisy, truth and consistency get nullified in the process. But then again, for too many at the Daily Kos and political junkies throughout America, what matters is not justice but that their team wins and the other side loses.
“It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.” ~ Voltaire
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.