Behold the power of niche marketing. Berkeley web maven Markos Moulitsas builds a partisan lefty megablog, gathers millions of the "netroots" together in one place, and unseats a Democratic Senator in the Connecticut primary. What's next? Rake in that Big Oil money, of couse. Ten days ago, a Daily Kos reader noticed that ChevronTexaco, the San Ramon-based oil giant and viscous bete noir of All That Is Good And True, has been buying banner ads for WillYouJoinUs.com, a granola PR stunt to launder its petrosatanic image. Needless to say, the crude hit the fan as hundreds of posts argued about the ethics of taking ad money pumped out of Nigerian and Ecuadorian disaster zones. Meanwhile, conservative writers like the National Review's Greg Pollowitz looked on with bemusement. Samples of the Kosfeud after the jump:
The DK diarist "takeback" got things rolling thusly: "How is this different from, say, Tom DeLay giving legislative time to sweat shops in the Mariana Islands in exchange for money flowing to his favored candidates? ... Doing anything that supports the profit-driven, Earth-ruining and protestor-murdering agenda of Chevron is immoral and not something that my favority liberal web site should be doing."
Then the amen chorus got started. From "FishOutofWater:" "Kos can choose to be a church of liberalism or it can choose to serve the DLC [Democratic Leadership Council]. It will have a hard time doing bother because they have conflicting beliefs. If Kos choose to run right wing corporate ads he is siding with the DLC."
From "Balam:" "If you're going to make the whole capitalist argument that Markos should just take money from any advertiser he wants, then he should at least be honest about it: put up ads for drug companies, automakers, cigarettes too, maybe some ads for Republican political campaigns, I understand they pay top dollar. Hell, Ann Coulter would pay through the nose to get her books advertised on this site, why the hell not?"
Others took a less strident view. "Meteor blades" wrote, "The money available from Chevron ads provides more opportunity to reach more people and, for all those who wish, to attack Chevron and other energy companies for their policies and behavior. As long as Chevron has no say in what gets written on this site - in the Diaries and on the Front Page - I can't see what the problem is. I've had my differences, big ones, with Markos in the three and a half years I've been posting here. But the idea that he can be "bought" is hilarious.
Of course, the discussion wrapped up with something we can all get behind: "I don't like puppies. Slobbery little things. With bad breath." Thanks for the reality check, "mcjoan!"