Grassroots Liberalism in a Digital Age

The Daily Kos is an online blogging platform which allows members of the general populace to contribute news, political opinion, and more. The site primarily caters to a liberal perspective—as evidenced by the description of the website when searching for it using Google. Underneath the Daily Kos site title, it reads “Daily weblog with political analysis on US current events from a liberal perspective.”

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The Daily Kos was founded in 2002 by Markos Moulitsas, username “kos”, who wanted to create a digital platform for socially progressive individuals to share political thoughts in a community environment. He believed in the power of people in influencing the political realm, rather than simply the minds of mainstream media figures and politicians. Eventually, the site grew, and it now boasts a visitation of 2.5 million unique individuals per month, with approximately a quarter of a million registered users. Thanks to the progression of the Internet and instant interaction with digital platforms, visitors can interact with articles and other people instantly as well as share articles from the platform on their social medias—spreading site reach and potentiating growth for the site. Additionally, people who use this site often lean one way politically, and are more likely to encourage their like-minded friends to make accounts and join in the posting experience.

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A selected portion from The Daily Kos front page as of March 8, 2017.

The most noticeable features when first entering the Daily Kos website is, of course, the header and a large space for an advertisement at the top of the page. Like a standard news website, there are new and trending articles that appear as one scrolls down the page. Underneath the header, there are three main categories to click on, which are titled “News,” “Community,” “Action,” respectively. However, what perhaps distinguishes the Daily Kos from other news websites, apart from being a community-contributed weblog, are the popular hashtags at the very top of the webpage—akin to the hashtags which you would see on social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram. The Daily Kos, then, is a sort of blend between a news platform such as FOX News and a social media blogging site like Tumblr. The ability to contribute information and opinion instantaneously to a publishing outlet is an ability which might have been inconceivable in the days where publishers could only spread news using print, and still just as difficult in the days of television and radio news stations as the only available sources for news. Now there exist a plethora of sites today which not only accept user-generated content but provide platforms which cater to peoples’ unique partisanships.

On that note, the most common articles which can be found on the Daily Kos are highly partisan and lean most often towards the liberal perspective. While the site allows for posting by all members of society with a computer, there are some users of the site who would be considered more professional and who contribute more frequently than others. One such example of a top contributor is Senior Political Writer Joan McCarter, username mcjoan, whose description can be found in the “About” section of the Daily Kos. She holds a Master’s degree in Russian studies and frequently contributes political news and opinion pieces to the site. One of her most recent “diaries,” or posts, that she published on the blog is called “Ryancare’s bad policies rack up a growing list of serious opponents.”

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Activists standing up to protect the Affordable Care Act.

In this post, she mentions talk of the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act by a new yet strikingly similar healthcare plan, orchestrated by Paul Ryan and begrudgingly by Republicans in the House. She expends on this topic by saying that even the Republicans don’t necessarily approve of Ryan’s new healthcare proposal, even though it was created by a Republican. The Republicans believe it is unconstitutional to mandate healthcare as necessary, and tension continues to grow around this hot-button issue. Alas, McCarter maintains a generally objective albeit explicitly biased perspective of the key players themselves, but still manages to maintain integrity in her writing.

Overall, the Daily Kos is a major outlet for grassroots activists and liberal Democrats alike to voice their views, despite it not being altogether objective reporting.

All sources come from DailyKos.com

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