The Daily Kos Bile Fest

When Bill O'Reilly claimed after the Yearly Kos Convention that the political blog site Daily Kos features “the worst stuff on the Internet,” he may not have been far from the truth. 

Averaging over 600,000 readers per day, the Daily Kos routinely features some of the nastiest invective in the English language.  Regular contributors, called diarists or Kossacks, lace their posts with obscenities and vicious attacks against Republicans as well as Democrats who aren't leftist enough for them.

When decorated war hero Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) joined other moderate Senate Democrats and Republicans on August 3 to update the government's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act powers to monitor terrorist suspects, Kos founder Markos Moulitsas spat back like a kindergartener:

“For a bunch of people who want to strut around acting tough,' this crowd sure ran around like a whipped puppy once Big Bad Mr. 25% said 'boo!' Scary!”

Another Kos diarist, “meldroc,” attacked Colorado Senator Ken Salazar on FISA (D-CO):

“F*** you, you treasonous Quisling DLC Vichy Democrat sack of s***!

“I gave my money, my time, my sweat to the Democratic Party to get them elected, and this is how they repay me?  F*** that!

When the Minnesota bridge collapsed August 1, some Kossacks neglected to send condolences to the families of the victims, so busy were they trying to make political hay by calling it:  

“A tragedy courtesy of politicians who, in their own ways, follow Grover Norquist's dictum of reducing government until it's small enough to drown in the bathtub.”

From what some posters say, you'd think the White House is full of toxic chemicals.  Anyone who supports Bush on anything gets burned in effigy on the site:

“Dems who voted for FISA: You're going to claim we can depend on you to be tough against terrorists even though you just put your foreheads to the floor at the feet of the most loathsome duo ever to sink their talons into the office of the Presidency.”

Sometimes, it seems Kos contributors can't quite muster quite enough anger at Bush:

“Nope,” said one August 8 entry titled “Why Bush Still Lives.”  “Al Qaeda isn't about to kill Bush, they likely think they'd be doing the Western world a real favor and a disservice to themselves. That small limited impotent little man from Texas will eventually be shoved aside and into the s---hole of history's most incompetent s----for-brains 'God told me to do it – Mission Accomplished' losers.”

Sometimes its anger at the war in general that makes the level of discourse at the Kos take a dive.   

An August 4 blog entry recounted how disgruntled Vietnam veterans threw out their medals as a “f*** you” gesture against the war. “There's a mission, Kossaks: find the perfect 'f*** you' gesture for our situation [the Iraq War].”

Such a degraded level of political discourse frequently produces comments on the intellectual level of “Boo friggin' HOO, righties!” which followed an August 1 Moulitsas post crowing about 2008 as a “Democratic wave year.”

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. wrote August 2 how Kos is becoming a major force in American politics, and that all but one of the Democratic presidential candidates attended the site's August 2007 Yearly Kos convention in Chicago.  As Kos's influence grows, will the site's rank hatred make constructive public policy discussions even more difficult than they are now?   

Presidential long-shot Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) went on The O'Reilly Factor on August 3 to give the Fox News host an earful, lauding the “wonderful way” the Daily Kos lets people “share their views on a variety of subjects.” 

It would be one thing if the hateful invective stayed in anonymous comments, as it usually does on many right-wing blog sites.  But Daily Kos writers and diarists are often just as bad as the people who post underneath them. 

What are sites like adding to political debate in a country whose government is already paralyzed by hyper-partisanship? 

David Niedrauer is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.