Markos "Kos" Moulitsas in the U.S. Army
|Born||Markos Moulitsas Zúniga
September 11, 1971
Chicago, Illinois, USA
|Alma mater||Northern Illinois University (BS)
Boston University School of Law (J.D.)
|Known for||Political activism
Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (/ /; born September 11, 1971), often known by his username and former military nickname "Kos" (// KOHZ), is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos, a blog focusing on liberal and Democratic Party politics in the United States. He co-founded SB Nation, a collection of sports blogs, which is now a part of Vox Media. He is also a weekly columnist at the Washington, D.C. newspaper, The Hill.
Moulitsas was born in Chicago, Illinois, to a Salvadoran mother and a Greek father. He moved with his family to El Salvador in 1976, but later returned to the Chicago area in 1980 after his family fled threats placed on their lives by communist insurgents during the Salvadoran Civil War. As an adult, he has recounted his memories of the civil war, including an incident that occurred when he was 8 years old, in which he saw communist guerrillas murdering students who had been accused of collaborating with the government.
After graduating from Schaumburg High School in Schaumburg, Illinois, he served in the U.S. Army from 1989 through 1992. He completed training at Ft. Sill in Oklahoma and fulfilled his three-year enlistment as a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Fire Direction Specialist while stationed in Bamberg, Germany. By his own account, he "missed deploying to the Gulf War by a hair." Moulitsas has described the Army as "perhaps the ideal society – we worked hard but the Army took care of us in return."
Prior to enlisting in the Army, Moulitsas was a member of the Republican Party. During the 1988 presidential election, he served as a Republican precinct captain and assisted with the re-election campaign of Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde. However, during his time in the military Moulitsas began a transition in his political philosophy that would lead him to change his party affiliation from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.
After leaving the army, he attended Northern Illinois University and graduated in 1996 with two bachelor degrees, majoring in philosophy, journalism, and political science. While attending NIU, he wrote for the college newspaper, the Northern Star and became its editor-in-chief in 1995. As a writer, he questioned NIU's policy of spending student fee money on athletic programs, generating a negative response from school officials, and also waged an unsuccessful campaign to save the school's journalism program. In 2007, he was inducted into the Northern Star Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed by the newspaper's alumni association. After graduating from NIU, he attended the Boston University School of Law from 1996 to 1999, earning a J.D. degree.
Moulitsas describes himself as a recovering Catholic, and says that while he has many problems with the Church, Salvadoran martyr and archbishop Oscar Romero is still his greatest hero and inspiration.
After graduating from law school, Moulitsas moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he worked as a project manager at a web development shop. He founded Daily Kos in May 2002, and has managed the blog as a full-time occupation since early 2004.
Since its creation Daily Kos has grown to become the largest liberal community blog in the United States, with over 215,000 registered users and 2.5 million unique viewers per month as of August 2009. The blog's popularity has attracted the attention of many Democratic senators, members of Congress, governors and candidates who have posted on the site, including Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, former President Jimmy Carter, and President Barack Obama.
Daily Kos has also spawned an annual conference. The inaugural YearlyKos was held from June 8 to 11, 2006, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Guests included Harry Reid, Virginia Governor Mark Warner, and Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean. The conference has since been renamed Netroots Nation.
Moulitsas attended the California State Democratic convention in Sacramento in March 2003 with Jerome Armstrong of MyDD. According to Glenn Reynolds, founder of the conservative blog Instapundit, he and they may have been the first bloggers to be officially accredited at a political convention.
In April 2004, Moulitsas and Daily Kos became the focus of controversy over a statement that he posted in the comments section of a blog post about Blackwater USA employees who were killed and mutilated 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 merceneries [sic]. 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."
In a blog post the next day, Moulitsas defended and clarified his remarks:
"My language was harsh, and, in reality, not true. Fact is, I did feel something. That's why I was so angry.
I was angry that five soldiers—the real heroes in my mind—were killed the same day and got far lower billing in the newscasts. I was angry that 51 American soldiers paid the ultimate price for Bush's folly in Iraq in March alone. I was angry that these mercenaries make more in a day than our brave men and women in uniform make in an entire month. I was angry that the US is funding private armies, paying them $30,000 per soldier, per month, while the Bush administration tries to cut our soldiers' hazard pay. I was angry that these mercenaries would leave their wives and children behind to enter a war zone on their own violition [sic].So I struck back."
Remarks about Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign
On March 17, 2008, Moulitsas stated that Senator Hillary Clinton, who was then involved in a protracted race against Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, "doesn't deserve fairness on this site" because she "fails the test of the guiding principles of this site" and because Clinton had "no reasonable chance of victory". He accused her of "fomenting civil war in order to overturn the will of the Democratic electorate" and said Clinton's "only path to victory [...] is via coup by super delegate." His statement was precipitated by a "strike" conducted by several pro-Clinton diarists, even though none of these posters were paid or in any way officially linked to the site. Moulitsas responded directly to the "strike" by saying that it was more like a "boycott", noting that "It's a big Internet, so I hope they find what they're looking for."
Prior to the 2006 elections, Moulitsas endorsed several candidates who rarely won races. This approach, he argues, is consistent with former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's "50 State Strategy".
Moulitsas also noted that he has endorsed several victorious candidates in upsets, including Howard Dean for chair of the DNC, Jon Tester in the 2006 Democratic U.S. Senatorial primary in Montana, Jim Webb in the 2006 Democratic U.S. Senatorial primary in Virginia, and Ned Lamont in the 2006 U.S. Senatorial primary in Connecticut. High-profile losses include Paul Hackett in a 2005 special election in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District and Francine Busby in a 2006 special election in California's 50th Congressional District. However, both districts are heavily Republican. Ned Lamont did win the widely publicized Democratic Senate primary race with incumbent Senator Joseph Lieberman on August 8, 2006. His victory was partially credited to grassroots activism, and the support from the blogosphere, with Moulitsas in particular. In a post to his website, Moulitsas wrote that he prefers not to be given credit for such things, because it understates the efforts of grassroots contributors. However, Lieberman, running as an independent, went on to defeat Lamont in the general election by a comfortable 9-point margin.
In 2006, Daily Kos-endorsed candidates did very well, with the following candidates elected to Congress: Jim Webb (VA-Sen), Jon Tester (MT-Sen), Tim Walz (MN-01), Joe Sestak (PA-07), Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23), Patrick Murphy (PA-08), Jerry McNerney (CA-11), and Paul Hodes (NH-02). Several other Kos-endorsed candidates came within 3 percentage points of winning: Larry Kissell (NC-08) (who would go on to be elected in 2008), Gary Trauner (WY-AL), Linda Stender (NJ-07), and Darcy Burner (WA-08).
In 2012, Moulitsas was by some measures the most accurate major pundit to predict the result of the presidential election.
During the United Kingdom general election in 2005, Moulitsas was hired by the British daily newspaper The Guardian to write elections analysis for its weblog. Moulitsas is also a regular contributor to Newsweek, having been hired by the magazine for its 2008 presidential campaign coverage. He has also authored three books: Crashing the Gate: Grassroots, Netroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics, which was co-written with Jerome Armstrong (of MyDD), Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era, and American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right.
Moulitsas is a fellow at the New Politics Institute, a think tank of the New Democrat Network, which was founded by Simon Rosenberg in 1996. The NDN's stated purpose is to help elect "centrist" Democrats, and is considered by many to be a successor to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), an organization that Simon Rosenberg resigned from in 1996.
In addition to political pursuits, Moulitsas co-founded SB Nation, a network of sports blogs, with Tyler Bleszinski (of Athletics Nation) in 2003. The network now covers all major American leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL), as well as dozens of colleges and other specific sports like golf, cycling, and ultimate fighting. In 2011, SB Nation became Vox Media and began expanding, raising capital to acquire and develop other blog networks.
- Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People Powered Politics (Chelsea Green, 2006) ISBN 1-931498-99-7
- Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era (Penguin Group, 2008) ISBN 0-451-22519-8
- American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right (Polipoint Press, 2010) ISBN 1-936227-02-9
- "Sportsblogs Inc. Scores $7 Million in 2nd Round". New York Times. July 24, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
- "About Daily Kos". Daily Kos. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- "Today's Profile: Moulitsas Zuniga, Markos". H. W. Wilson Company. 2007. Retrieved August 27, 2009.[dead link]
- Moulitsas, Markos (April 2, 2004). "Mercenaries, war, and my childhood". Daily Kos. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Johnson, Steve (August 2, 2007). "The Net roots of Kos: Schaumburg High School". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Moulitsas, Markos (April 16, 2006). "The Soldier in Me". The American Prospect. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- "Northern Star Hall of Fame 2007 Class". The Northern Star. Retrieved August 27, 2009.[dead link]
- Brick, Tricia (November 10, 2004). "He's a Blogger on a Mission". Bostonia. Archived from the original on December 15, 2004. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- by kos (August 3, 2004). "Bush and Catholics". Dailykos.com. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- "About Daily Kos". Daily Kos. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Kerry, John. "John Kerry's Diary". John-kerry.dailykos.com. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- Boxer, Barbara. "Barbara Boxer's Diary". Barbara-boxer.dailykos.com. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- Reid, Harry. "Harry Reid's Diary". Harry-reid.dailykos.com. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- Democratic, House. "Nancy Pelosi's Diary". House-democratic-leader-nancy-pelosi.dailykos.com. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- Carter, Jimmy. "Jimmy Carter's Diary". Jimmy-carter.dailykos.com. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- Obama, Barack. "Barack Obama's Diary". Barack-obama.dailykos.com. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- [dead link]
- YearlyKos: Mark Warner June 28, 2006.
- YearlyKos Convention 2006 Keynote Speech by Howard Dean June 10, 2006.
- Moulitsas, Markos (April 1, 2004). "Every death should be on the front page". Daily Kos. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Epstein, Edward (August 14, 2003). "Troops in Iraq face pay cut". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
- Moulitsas, Markos (March 17, 2008). "The Clinton civil war". Daily Kos. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Wheaton, Sarah (March 15, 2008). "Blogtalk: Pro-Clinton Bloggers Boycott Kos". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Tapper, Jake (March 15, 2008). "Clinton-Obama War Creates Serious Tensions at DailyKos". ABC News. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Maciulis, Tony (August 21, 2006). "Ned's netroots lead to victory in Connecticut". MSNBC. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Moulitsas, Markos (August 8, 2006). "CT-Sen: Credit given where credit is due". Daily Kos. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- "Lieberman defeats Lamont to hold Senate seat". USA Today. November 8, 2006. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- "Voteseeing". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- Moulitsas, Markos (September 28, 2004). "A different noise". London: The Guardian. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Markos Moulitsas (September 11, 1971). "Markos Moulitsas's profile page at ''Newsweek''". Newsweek.com. Archived from the original on December 22, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- Melber, Ari (November 14, 2007). "Newsweek Hires Kos". The Nation. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- "New Politics Institute". Newpolitics.net. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- "Markos Moulitsas's profile page at the New Politics Institute". Newpolitics.net. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- "'Kos'-Founded SB Nation Picks Up $5M". Dow Jones Financial Information Services. January 14, 2009. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Hart, Kim (February 9, 2009). "A New Arena for Hard-Core Sports Fans". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Wauters, Robin (March 12, 2012). ["http://thenextweb.com/media/2012/03/12/building-a-digital-media-empire-sb-nation-and-the-verge-owner-vox-media-raises-17-million/" "Building a digital media empire: SB Nation and The Verge owner Vox Media raises $17 million"]. The Next Web. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
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- Daily Kos: State of the Nation
- Moulitsas Zuniga, Markos Profile Current Biography, 2007
- Party Central East Bay Express, December 2004.
- Kos makes the most of blogging, daily Contra Costa Times, April 2005
- New York Review of Books profile, April 2006
- Public events featuring Markos Moulitsas Zúniga
- Kos Call (profile of Markos on Washington Monthly)
- Keynote address at 2006 Yearly Kos (video)
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Moulitsas, April 10, 2005