Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Other Whitewash

First CBS, now the Zepher Teachout (!) whitewash. On Monday, January 10, "Zonkette" said the following

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.

Today, she writes the following

There was no quid pro quo. I never heard anyone tell a blogger what they could or could not say. I never heard anyone tell a blogger that because of the contract, they had to support Dean or couldn’t support another candidate.

. . . . .

3. Do you think Kos or Jerome did anything unethical?

No. There was no questionable commitment on their part. Jerome or Kos weren’t party to any of these conversations.

I asked "Zonkette" two questions

(1) Did you ever explicitly tell Armstrong/Zuniga/Daily KOS that you wanted to buy "airtime" to support dean?

(2) Did they, before taking your money, ever explicitly say to you that they didn't want to give you "airtime", only to give "techincal advice."

If the answers are "yes" and then "no", then they had a contract for "airtime", an explicit offer with an acceptance by action. If I hold in front of you a $100 bill and say "I'll give you this $100 if you paint my house," and you take it without saying anything, you've nonetheless communicated to me, quite clearly, that you're going to paint my house.

In either case, the whole thing stinks to high heaven. An FEC investigation would not be unreasonable.

UPDATE: Things are getting ugly in the comments section over there.


At 8:46 AM, Blogger Protagonist said...

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