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Daily Kos attacks CAIVN

by Ryan Jaroncyk, published
Daily Kos recently hosted an article criticizing IVN's self-proclaimed independent status. In the June 2 piece, "Pragmatus" claims to expose the California Independent Voter Project as a fraud. However, upon closer examination, these claims are factually deficient.

In the article, Pragmatus writes, "At first their website seems fairly neutral, until you delve into the "articles," which curiously all have a very carefully soft-pedaled GOP/conservative slant to them." He restates a similar premise later in the article:

"I went to their website, where all their supposedly "independent" and "non-partisan" articles have a definite, subtle GOP slant, but nowhere could I find any direct link to other causes or parties."

There are several, critical errors in this assessment.

First, CAIVN possesses at least three left-leaning contributors. For example, Adrienne Verrilli often presents a more "liberal" perspective on health care reform and education articles. Her articles can be found here. Bob Morris and Alan Markow have written exhaustive pieces on the environment, alternative energies, and global warming, all of which from a more "liberal" perspective. Their articles can be found here and here.

Second, CAIVN possesses at least two "libertarian" contributors. For example, Chris Hinyub has written numerous articles on organics, local foods, sustainable farming, and natural medicines. He's also defended marijuana legalization from a scientific perspective and covered several third-party candidates inside California, including Laura Wells, the Green Party gubernatorial candidate. Wes Messamore has written several pro-marijuana legalization articles. Most so-called conservatives would consider these type of articles to be quite "liberal." Their articles can be found here and here.

Third, as an editor and contributor, I've written a plethora of articles that have been critical of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, the George W. Bush era, the Post-Obama Tea Party, Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, and Republicans in Congress. In addition, I've covered third party candidates, and several polls featuring Democrats and independents. I've also ostensibly criticized the "one-headed, two-party monster" on several occasions. My articles can be found here.

Fourth, Pragmatus appears to misunderstand the definition of "independent." As is clearly presented in our "Declaration of Independents," the first two sentences read:

"The Independent’s position in politics is not defined by the absence of partisanship. No matter how dismaying it may be to see Republicans and Democrats bickering and name calling, adhering to focus-group tested talking points, and deferring to party platforms, Independents must not give into the illusion that we are nonpartisans, for we certainly are not."

Clearly, we believe that even self-proclaimed "independents" are not pure "nonpartisans." Some independents could be considered "liberal" on certain issues, while "conservative" on other issues. Perhaps more accurately stated, "independents" are often multi-partisan and independent-minded in their political make-ups.

Fifth, Pragmatus should notice the political rating scale attached to each CAIVN blog. In an open and transparent fashion, readers are allowed to rate each article and author according to various descriptions along the entire political spectrum, whether "conservative," "neutral," "liberal," etc. That way, each author's bias is open for public critique and readers are able to read a variety of political perspectives.

Sixth, I would invite Pragmatus to join CAIVN's Facebook affiliate, Independent Voter. Here, Pragmatus will find intense debate between self-proclaimed independents, some of whom take a more "conservative" slant on key issues, while taking a more "liberal" slant on other key issues. It is evident for all to see that independent voters are much more than merely unbiased "moderates," the common misperception perpetuated by partisan news outlets.

Seventh, Pragmatus should be aware that one of CAIVP's co-chairmen is a former Democratic legislator.

The other issue which Pragmatus raises is the apparent connection between the "Yes on Prop 16" crowd and CAIVN.  He writes:

"Now suddenly I find myself getting bombarded with giant CAIVN/CAIVP (California Independent Voter Project) postcards, of a design very similar to the "Yes on 16" junk...And lo and behold—the return address of the supposedly "Independent" Voter Project is the exact same address as the "Yes on 16" campaign...Independent my ass."

But, here again, a closer look removes any potential conflict of interest.

First, in its Election Center, CAIVN offers both sides of the argument for readers to examine concerning this contentious ballot proposition.

Second, CAIVN employs the largest political law firm in the state of California, which represents a host of various candidates, campaigns, and other political organizations. As a result, CAIVN simply uses its law firm's address on its mailers, as do the other organizations affiliated with the firm.

It is our hope, here at CAIVN, that Pragmatus digs a bit deeper and conducts a more thorough and fair-minded assessment of our multi-partisan, independent-minded organization. It is also our hope that Pragmatus challenges his own preconceptions of what it truly means to be "independent."

In that spirit, I am more than happy to extend an invitation to Pragmatus to submit a rebuttal as a featured article on our site.  If you're interested, please attach as a document and email to [email protected] I look forward to your response.

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