I’m fairly exhausted. I did, however, wade into the putrid thread that unfolded in Susan’s Don’t Be a Prick thread. I have rarely seen so much pontificating on matters that are so poorly understood. I have no desire to pile on a recently banned member, and I would have to do that pretty extensively to provide a point by point rebuttal of some of the more inane ramblings I was just subjected to.

Instead, I will set matters straight on the underlying controversy. Markos does not control Blogads. Blogads is its own company. Markos probably makes more money for Blogads than any other client, so he has a lot of clout. But he does not control them. Anyone can buy a blogad for this site by going to www.blogads.com.

Markos and Chris Bowers created a MiniNetwork within Blogads that incorporated dozens of liberal bloggers that had pre-existing accounts with Blogads. The benefit of this is that liberal bloggers can advertise for each other by placing the ‘Adveritise Liberally’ icon on our sites, and advertisers can make convenient mass-buys of ads through the mini-network.

As with any project, some things come up after a while that were not anticipated at the outset. After several months a decision was made to create some standards for members of the mininetwork. None of these standards had to do with content, but with layout, pop-up ads, placement of ads on the homepages, and with what makes up a blog versus a site like Drudge or Raw Story. Some members were told they would have to make some changes or they would no longer be welcome in the network. Most notably, Drudge Retort and Raw Story were essentially kicked out because their sites are not really blogs. I disagreed with that decision. I thought they should have grandfathered in the rules. But the sites were not kicked out for their politics. And they still are free to sell Blogads.

The effect on revenues for Raw Story and Drudge Retort may be damaging when politicians begin to buy bulk ads on the blogs next year, but that was not the intent. The intent was to tighten up the requirements so that only blogs would be in the network. Politicians can still advertise through Blogads on those sites and many probably will. So, Markos and Chris do not control where advertising dollars go and they have not played any games or played any favorites over whom can and cannot be in the network.

Another pet theory is that Markos and Chris are taking money from the NDN in return for pushing a more centrist policy agenda. This is not true. Chris is probably far to my left in his own personal politics and he has not pushed a centrist agenda. At most, he has been supportive of some centrist candidates when those candidates were running against Republicans. Markos appears to be an anti-war centrist who has never claimed to be particularly progressive on a variety of policy issues. Moreover, the degree of coordination and funding between the NDN and Markos and Chris Bowers has been dramatically overblown and is poorly understood.

There is indeed some money coming soon to liberal bloggers. That money is coming through Media Matters, which has received some funding through the Democracy Alliance (an arm of the NDN), but a lot of funding from other sources as well. The money is going to be made available for a variety of purposes that will potentially benefit all liberal bloggers. There are no strings attached, there will be no quid pro quos, and there will be no mandated talking points. The idea is really not that different from an artist cooperative where various photographers, for example, pool their limited resources to buy color printers. In this case, cheap or free technical support might become available. Or access to Lexis-Nexis. Maybe broadband can be bought in bulk. Who knows? These things are still under discussion.

As you might imagine, there are a ton of issues and potential pitfalls anytime money is involved. I can only tell you two things about this right now. First, an extremely good faith effort is being made to avoid a situation where the benefits of this funding are doled out unfairly or with arbitrary litmus tests. Smaller bloggers stand to benefit the most as liberal blogging gets more publicity and costs come down and expensive resources are pooled. But, secondly, all these good faith efforts will inevitably fail to avoid controversy, some hurt feelings, some winners and losers, and lots of conspiracy talk.

Finally, as far as I know, Armando has no financial interest in Daily Kos and he has no influence over Advertising Liberally, BlogPac, or any of this, really.

I know I have raised a lot of issues. But I have also, hopefully, debunked a lot of the groundless charges that were being relentlessly pursued on this site despite numerous warnings to stop slandering people.

I have never said that people cannot be criticized. But they cannot be repeatedly maligned and accused without evidence after numerous warnings, pleadings, admonitions, etc. This cannot be a forum for that. To anyone who thought this was about anything else, you’re just wrong.

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