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Reader John writes:

I'm shocked that you just put up a little free market advertisement from an astroturfing organization from a set of really nasty environmental corporate criminals in the country. Why are you doing that? Clean coal is corporate BS. Nice concept but magical thinking.

I personally think some of Obama's kumbaya stuff is magical thinking. And having Rick Warren at the inauguration is one example. He is the spiritual equivalent to the coal companies. I suspect Warren's enviro schtict is more astroturfing. I find both offensive.
Well, here's the problem. First, we're getting ready to weather what will possibly become the next Great Depression. I don't think anyone is turning down any ads at this point (short of something truly offensive - David Duke and Big Tobacco comes to mind). Second, as we've written before, and Markos has written about this a lot, we tend not to censor our ads, but instead have the same policy as other big liberal magazines like The Nation. Here is what Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel had to say:
In all seriousness, it makes sense to me that Kos would embrace the Nation's ad policy. After all Daily Kos is in some ways a forum of opinion like the Nation; its editor(s) have strong opinions that they express every day, and they make all kinds of selections for the site's readers as to what should be featured on the home page; but there's no reason to apply that same level of selectivity to what ads you'll run, and since the money earned from advertising goes to further the editorial goals of the site, it makes simple business sense to err on the side of openness.

Furthermore, I believe you're showing respect for your readers' intelligence by adopting this policy. R-E-S-P-E-C-T for readers' intelligence--and for the broad and free exchange of ideas-- has stood The Nation in good stead these last 141 years! May that same stance keep Daily Kos going for that long!
If clean coal, or whomever, wants to advertise, God bless 'em. You guys are smart enough to figure out the truth. But if we were to start hand-picking our advertisers, then we'd be sanctioning the ones that remain. And you wouldn't believe the number of emails I get each week about this or that ad - I'd be spending every day sifting through ad complaints.

But the most important point here is that one thing you usually won't notice is progressive groups paying for counter-advertising. You'll see "Clean Coal" ads, but where are the ads from the environmental community? During the Net Neutrality debate the "bad guys" (telcoms) spent thousands in advertising on various blogs (ours included) to push an anti- Net Neutrality message. Folks complained, and said we shouldn't access the nearly $4k in advertising (as I recall). But the pro Net Neutrality side, which included some HUGE companies, didn't spend a dime. We were expected to take a $4k hit to our annual income - and mind you, this is our job, not a hobby, it's akin to YOU taking a $4000 pay cut - because the big organizations on our side were refusing to do the counter-education.

It's a story I tell a lot, about liberals/Democrats in Washington not doing nearly enough to support the Netroots. And it's the reason Clean Coal is getting its side of the story out, unquestioned.

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