A common theme is that Kos has done “nothing wrong”, which is, legally right, but I would argue morally incorrect. Kos points out to a disclosure he posted at the time here, which is fair enough, but unlike the Marqui Bloggers there was no disclosure on the main page, just one post long since berried in the mass of content posted to the site. At the end of the day, most of us did not know that he was paid by the Dean Campaign, in their words, for favourable comment. Does the fault then lie with us, the readers, for not knowing. Kos would undoubtedly argue yes. Yet he made little effort during this time to disclose the knowledge in a manner that would assure reader awareness.
Would this be such a big deal if it had been a smaller blogger? probably not. Kos is an uber-blogger who has been quick to attack others that have taken money for comment, yet was ready to do so himself, although in this case, some time in the past. He argues that there is a world of difference himself and Armstrong Williams, as in Williams case he took taxpayer funds and Kos took campaign funds. In an open, transparent democracy I see little difference, only that the public funds are obviously on public record, and will always (although not always immediately) be open to public scrutiny, whereas the funds of a campaign in a US political system that does not have the same disclosure laws as other countries (such as Australia), would be secretive, and therefore different.
I don’t intend to editorialise further on this matter, as there is an important exercise that must emerge from this. The debate on Blog Ethics must continue, and we must, as bloggers, establish what is right and wrong so that others do not make the same mistakes again in the future.