[Air-l] Kerry campaign condemns blogger's Fallujah remarks!

Art McGee amcgee at virtualidentity.org
Sun Apr 4 16:34:48 PDT 2004

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 04 Apr 2004 17:00:28 -0000
From: rcade <mailing at drudge.com>
Subject: Kerry campaign condemns blogger's Fallujah remarks!


Kerry campaign repudiates blogger's remarks about Fallujah victims!

By Rogers Cadenhead
**Drudge Retort**

Version of this story with links:

In a move comparable to Bill Clinton's condemnation of Sister Souljah
in 1992, John Kerry's presidential campaign has publicly repudiated
the Daily Kos weblog over remarks publisher Markos Zuniga made about
the contractors killed in Iraq.

"In light of the unacceptable statement about the death of Americans
made by Daily Kos, we have removed the link to this blog from our
website," Kerry's weblog announced late Saturday night.

Zuniga, a 32-year-old attorney and political consultant whose weblog
receives in excess of 90,000 hits a day, wrote on his site April 1
that he was indifferent to the deaths of the four security contractors
ambushed in Fallujah and mutilated by a mob.

"I feel nothing over the death of merceneries [sic]," he wrote. "They
aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to
help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war
for profit. Screw them."

Shortly after Zuniga posted the remark in a discussion at another
weblogger's site on Daily Kos, Michael Friedman orchestrated a
campaign to persuade Zuniga's advertisers to drop their sponsorship of
the site.

Several Democratic Congressional candidates quickly pulled their ads
in response to Friedman's campaign: U.S. Reps. Martin Frost (D.-Tx.)
and Joe Hoeffel (D.-Pa.) and House candidate Joe Donnelly in Indiana.

"As a former Army Reserves member, spouse of an Army General on active
duty and an American, Martin finds these words extremely irresponsible
and highly offensive," Frost Campaign Manager Jess Fassler e-mailed
Friedman. "As soon as this posting was brought to our attention we
immediately severed any tie to the website."

Zuniga, a military veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 1989 to
1992, expressed contrition the next day in a post on the front page of
his site. He said his remarks were borne of anger fueled by murders he
witnessed during his childhood in El Salvador.

"I actually grew up in a war zone," he wrote. "I witnessed communist
guerillas execute students accused of being government collaborators.
I was 8 years old, and I remember stepping over a dead body, warm
blood flowing from a fresh wound. ...

"[N]ot only was I wrong to say I felt nothing over their deaths, I was
lying. I felt way too much. Nobody deserves to die. But in the greater
scheme of things, there are a lot of greater tragedies going on in
Iraq (51 last month, plus countless civilians and Iraqi police)."

[Because the Daily Kos weblog is presently offline, the Drudge Retort
offers a full transcript of his remarks.]

To no surprise, the controversy has been warmly received by right-wing
writers in the "blogosphere," the raucous community of weblogs.
InstaPundit author Glenn Reynolds, who helped publicize Friedman's ad
boycott effort, wrote: "Kos -- who I used to think of as a reasonable
if partisan lefty -- seems to be infested with a degree of hatred that
I previously associated with the Democratic Underground and other
fringe sites."

Support was hard to come by among left-wing bloggers as well. "I wish
Kos would just step up to the plate and apologize," wrote Kevin Drum
on his Washington Monthly weblog. "I really don't think it matters if
they were private contractors ... Nor does it matter much that you
don't like the war. Some of the wingnuts on the right gloated over the
deaths of UN workers in last August's bombing, and that was wrong as
well, regardless of what they thought of the UN."

In a political season marked by unprecedented donations from Internet
users, Daily Kos has become one of the most popular venues for
candidate ads, selling at rates from $700 to $2,000 a month, according
to price quotes on Blogads, the broker representing the site.

Several months ago, Ben Chandler spent $2,000 advertising his House
candidacy on Daily Kos, InstaPundit, and nine other weblogs. After his
campaign manager said in subsequent interviews that the two-week ad
buy prompted $80,000 in contributions (and Chandler won), Kos and
other politically themed weblogs began selling out their ad space to

While campaigning for president in 1992, Bill Clinton blasted remarks
made by African-American rapper Sister Souljah, who said in a
newspaper interview, "If black people kill black people every day, why
not have a week and kill white people?"

"If you took the words 'white' and 'black' and you reversed them, you
might think David Duke was giving that speech," Clinton responded,
drawing criticism from Rev. Jesse Jackson and others. The exchange has
become enshrined as jargon -- a politician's efforts to distance
himself from an extremist in his own party is viewed as a "Sister
Souljah moment."

After the rapid success of his boycott and his site's spiking
popularity, Michael Friedman expressed a bit of newfound concern: "If
I start selling blog ads next week will Kos's readers organize against
me? ... I hope not."

[Disclosure: The Drudge Retort has bought ads from Blogads, the
company that represents Daily Kos.]


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