In accord with the elevated tone set by the founder, the Daily Kos openly urges readers to rig Google rankings of articles, in order to make the most damaging material about Republican candidates appear prominently when their names are searched.
The goal of Grassroots SEO is to get as many undecided voters as possible to read the most damaging news article about the Republican candidate for Congress in their district. It is based on two simple premises:
- 1. One of the most common political activities people take online is to use search engines, mainly Google, to find information on candidates. (For more information, seethe Pew Internet and American Life Project's report on 2008 online political engagement.)
- 2. These results of these searches are always in flux based upon hyperlinksanyonepostsanywhereon the Internet, including message board comments and social networking sites (but not email).
As a result of this, not only is it possible for us to use our hyperlinks to impact what people find when they search for information on candidates, but we would be foolish not to do so in a way that benefited our preferred candidates. We are already impacting search engine rankings whenever we post any hyperlink anywhere, so we need to make sure the way we use hyperlinks helps result in our preferred political outcomes.
Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga, alias Kos, runs the left wing website. Once upon a time it was regarded, on the left, as the next big thing. Newsweek gave him a column (before it was sold for a dollar), and Democrat pols like Howard Dean regarded him as an oracle.
Kos achieved a certain amount of fame for his callous remarks about Blackwater employees in Iraq, who were killed, their bodies mutilated and left hanging from a bridge in Fallujah:
"Let the people see what war is like. This isn't an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush's folly. That said, I feel nothing over the death of mercenaries. 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."
"Screw them" also apparently applies to voters searching for information, and to Google, which attempts to rank material according to importance. The one saving grace in all this is that the Kos Kids are so unashamed of their chicanery that they do it in the open.