June 27, 2010

1. "I take them seriously; they’re building something brand new, something that defies conventional wisdom. If readers get a deeper understanding of these people, their strategy, and their ideas, then I’m doing my job."

2. "Honestly, it’s been tough to find fresh angles sometimes–how many times can I report that these [tea party] activists are joyfully signing up with the agenda of discredited right-winger X and discredited right-wing group Y?"

The public (1) and the private (2) David Weigel
(if by "private," one means in the company of 400 of your bestest friends, at least one of whom is ready to tea-bag you before you teabag him).

ADDED: Glenn Reynolds, noting the photograph, says "Check out the photo if you want to see the face of modern journalism. In your nightmares . . . ." This is the photograph:

50 comments:

somefeller said...

The two comments are not inconsistent. One can take a group seriously as a political movement while still thinking that their views are all wet.

Old Dad said...

Somefeller,

Let me translate. If readers get a deeper understanding of these people's discredited ideas then I'm doing my job.

James said...

I wouldn't be surprised if his photo shows up on a site like popthatzit.com

Scott said...

I went to a weekend fleamarket in Clifton, New Jersey. Picked up some literature, including a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution, from a couple of friendly old geezers who were promoting the Tea Party Movement in New Jersey.

If these guys are fronting for a dangerous group of nutjob fringe radicals, then I would still rather be hanging with them than with the violent leftist movement whose participants shat on the G20 Summit in Toronto this week.

Scott said...

As for Weigel -- feh. I hope he can find work on a legitimate newspaper or wire service and get his basic reporting chops down before he tries to enter into the political fray again. He has a lot to learn.

wv: proleta --rian

Psota said...

The question isn't "Can you find someone who can cover the conservatives/Tea Parties impartially or fairly?" It's: "Can we find someone who can cover conservatives/ Tea Parties" RESPECTFULLY, something that has never been tried in the modern era.

Here's a thought exercise for MSM journalists: imagine how you would cover, say, the Prime Minister of Canada. Now try to imagine covering Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh in the same respectful manner. Not too hard to do, so long as you are acting in good faith.

New said...

Here is the problem. Ezra has said that he has deleted the listserv messages. David is his good friend. Fine.

But, what if, a GOP (or DNC) had deleted the files? What would be the outrage?

The archive needs to be accessible. Where is Media Matters? Where is Huff Post? Where is the outrage?

This is a private listserv. Fine. But, people who are on it use it for their stories, sources, etc.

What if a pol. or a lobbyist did that? The would be finished.

Why is no one commenting on the deletion of the archive by the Ezra and others?

Is there no one with courage to say:

Yes, I was on the list. And, I oppose the secrecy. If it is not shared, then I will share it.

Is the liberal reporter community with no back-bone?

NB: I am a total supporter of Obama/Biden (who will be in power till Jan. 2016). I just have higher standards.

lucid said...

Weigel and his friend Ezra Klein are such hypocritical, dishonest slimebuckets.

HuffPo is the right place for Weigel. He will disappear into the background clutter, from which he is indistinguishable. And no one will ever trust him again.

Klein should also be fired by WashPo because he deliberately misled them in their decision to hire Weigel.

Big Mike said...

I disagree with you, Scott. Not about whether Weigel has a lot to learn; that's a given.

But I think Weigel needs to work for a living, and by that I mean not sit around a newspaper room checking back with his buddies to see how he's supposed to spin whatever the news of the day is. Let him build something, or mow lawns, or do roofing, and get to know real people with real families and real concerns.

Then maybe he'll learn how to avoid being a total schmuck.

lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Irene said...

Perhaps a "local, alternative weekly paper" could hire one of these kids.

AprilApple said...

Where's the transparency?

I'd like to see everything that was ever written on Journolist. I hear it was a clearing house for left-wing media talking points.
Group think.

lucid said...

These guys truly do exemplify the worst characteristics of entitled young elitists:
"We are the cool guys. Nothing we want to do can ever be wrong. All these other people living beneath us are just pathetic scum. Let's laugh at them."

It is the attitude that I find David Letterman has projected more and more tranparently--"I'm so cool. Let's make fun of everyone else. It makes me feel so much better when I make fun of other people. I am smug and better than them."

Just like Klein, Weigel, Jonathan Chait, Joe Klein, E.J. Dionne, etc., etc., etc.

Ann Althouse said...

"The two comments are not inconsistent."

I detect a lawyer! We all know how thing 2 is distinguishable from thing 1 and also -- if that's what you need the answer to be -- how thing 1 and thing 2 are the same.

Identify your client's interest and go to the answer you want.

And Weigel was doing that too. He has his observation and the ability to put it whichever way serves the relevant interests. 1. The way you put it to do what the WaPo hired him to do and to seem to be a serious analyst of the movement and 2. The way you put it when you're letting the insiders know that you're with them. The relevant interest was his own, and Weigel was entirely consistent in trying to serve it.

Trying... and then failing.

Because of the baaaaaad people who didn't respect his privacy... and his interest in holding a plum job fraudulently.

traditionalguy said...

Baby Face Weigel is a sneaky guy that uses his innocent little me routine as a cover to rob people's minds of good judgement, as Baby Face Nelson robbed banks.

SMGalbraith said...

Mr. Weigel's just too immature to be given the job he was assigned to.

This is Keith Olbermann type journalism.

What a child.

Scott said...

@Big Mike: We don't disagree at all. Most newspaper and wire service reporters do work for a living. I was one for a time. Journalism, in spite of its detractors, is a great and honorable calling when practiced as a profession.

If Weigel did beat reporting for a year or two, he might understand what his chosen career is all about.

LonewackoDotCom said...

There's no reason why Weigel should have taken any of the groups he opposes seriously, because neither one of the two main ones (the tea party movement or the "birthers") were smart enough to even know about him, much less try to discredit him.

My first post on Dave Weigel (which, like all the others, was critical of him) was almost four years ago to the day. I've probably left close to two hundred comments on his entries at Reason, TWI, and the WaPo, all trying to discredit him. I can't do that without help, but I didn't get any. Where were the teaparty types all during the period from four years ago until just a few days ago? AWOL as usual. (And, of course, they aren't smart enough to understand this comment.)

P.S. Here's Joe Biden getting custard on his face. I'm fully expecting Althouse to discuss that incident, just not in the way that I do on the video.

tim maguire said...

I agree with Big Mike. One of the funny things about being human is that you have to0 learn a lot before you can begin to comprehend how much you don't know (not coincidentally, this is why a 16 year old knows so much more than his dad and a 25 year old so much less).

Their charmed life has left people like Klein and Weigel clueless about how clueless they are.

I too would like to know who the 400 are, but because the journolist is a private group of private citizens engaging in a private, non-economic act, I can't think of anybody who would have standing to sue to compel disclosure.

Scott said...

I still think Ezra Klein is the bigger issue. He has no business being employed by a major newspaper such as the Washington Post, because he obviously sees his perch as a means to an end, rather than the end itself.

A reporter's first loyalty should be to the ethical practice of her or his profession, then to their employer, then maybe to his or her pet cause, if it's not inconsistent with the first two. Klein can't possibly see it this way, given his career choices.

Klein's tenure shows that the WaPo no longer values the notion of journalism as a profession.

Scott said...

And I don't buy the notion that "Klein is an opinion writer so he doesn't have to have the ethical standards of a reporter." If that's the case, then there had be an editor riding herd on him and scrutinizing everything he writes.

lemondog said...

WaPo hiring a specialty 'reporter' to follow the emergence of the tea party movement seems oddly inconsistent when it does not hire a specialty 'reporter' to follow the emerging/emergent socialist movement, or a specialty reporter to the Coffee Party movement.

Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics
Preamble

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.


Would be curious to know how many, if any, of the 400 are members.

Maguro said...

Klein should also be fired by WashPo because he deliberately misled them in their decision to hire Weigel.

Come now, you can't believe that the editors at WaPo hired someone on Ezra Klein's recommendation believing that they were getting anything but another lefty, another "one of them". They wanted someone to cover the tea party freakshow with reasonably well-concealed disdain. The only part the WaPo editors really don't like is that their boy got caught.

edutcher said...

Since no one else has said it, i might as well:

Is Weigel Wacko?

If Weigel wasn't just a plain old hypocrite, he could say both. It's the old Maoist thing of despising them ideologically, but respecting them tactically. Apparently he isn't intellectually honest to do even that.

lemondog said...

"I take them seriously; they’re building something brand new, something that defies conventional wisdom.

......building something brand new .......defies conventional wisdom........

What is this 'conventional wisdom', and what is 'brand new' about people in a free society, who seeing their liberties eroding while politicians ignore their wishes, banding together in protest to create a movement to regain out of control government?

garage mahal said...

Wow Althouse. Weigel must have really rocked your world.

former law student said...

A commenter on Pandagon memorably distinguished "private" from "secret" in the case of Weigel: It's no secret that people go to the bathroom, but it certainly is private.

Seven Machos said...

A commenter on Pandagon memorably distinguished "private" from "secret" in the case of Weigel: It's no secret that people go to the bathroom, but it certainly is private.

So what? If you don't want your shit to become public, don't be the guy who writes in the Washington Post about shit. Get any other job in the whole world.

Lincolntf said...

Wiegel is the perfect face for the skeevy Left. Dishonest, an emotional basket case and utterly inept at the very thing that's supposed to be his specialty.
Plus, he's got that chubby, red-faced drunkard look down pat, which will stand him in good stead at the dinner parties.

Brian O'Connell said...

Comment from Jeff Jarvis's BuzzMachine

The more interesting thing about the David Weigel story- to me- isn’t the offhand insults, but the other things that go on in the secret Journolist. A widely quoted snippet of Dave’s from that listserv, referring to Scott Brown’s win over Martha Coakely in MA:

“I think pointing out Coakley’s awfulness is vital, because it’s 1) true and 2) unreasonable panic about it is doing more damage to the Democrats. I don’t think the party has gotten up off the mat yet. And it’s been a month!”

Vital to what? The Democrats’ interests? Context is everything, as they say, and Dave’s posted the (full?) email on his blog, so see for yourself.

If a reporter is advocating, behind the scenes, that his fellow reporters report a story in a certain way, in order to benefit a specific group or policy, that’s something I’d want to know about that reporter. The worst case scenario here is news that’s produced (or spun) like the food in the foodcourt at Springfield’s South Street Squidport: it’s all the same stuff stored underground, and distributed to differently branded outlets as if it wasn’t.

That talking point about Martha Coakely was so widely repeated than even SNL mocked it. The extent to which Journolist and David Weigel is responsible for that must remain unknown.

One can make that argument about MSM news without Journolist of course. We’ve heard the tales that the NYT and the WaPo share headlines before publication and that the majority of MSM news takes its cues from the NYT.

I wonder if part of the Washington Post’s problem, as they see it, is that control of the narrative was moving from their editorial board to a private listserv run by their employee Ezra Klein. Did the WaPo play a role in Klein’s decision to shut it down?

Seems to me there is an institutional conflict there. All the bad stuff Jeff ascribes to Big Journalism- privacy and secrecy, and the lack of transparency, publicness, and sunshine- applies to independent Journolist too. Maybe they’re fighting about control, kind of like the king and the nobility round the time of the Magna Carta. We serfs aren’t a party to that dispute. :)

Big Mike said...

... but because the journolist is a private group of private citizens engaging in a private, non-economic act, I can't think of anybody who would have standing to sue to compel disclosure.

Ah, but are they, in fact, engaging in a non-economic act?

Fen said...

What a punk.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

Weigel was one of the "cool kids?"

* Fat? Check!
* Pimply? Check!
* Dorky clothing? Check!
* Propensity for playing with dolls? Check!
* Inferiority complex? Check!


If it sounds like junior high school it's because these Journo-list kids are still in junior high school.

These are the pussies nobody would hang out with so they formed a club only they could join.

Blue@9 said...

@garage

Wow Althouse. Weigel must have really rocked your world.

He must have given you a reacharound since you're so eager to defend a "conservative."

Zachary Paul Sire said...

You've been so wrong on this, Althouse, from the beginning.

Weigel never said he was a conservative, nor did he betray his readers' trust. If you think there's something wrong or shocking about a journalist objectively covering a group of people while maintaining his own personal views about them, you're either an idiot or you're incredibly naive. Or more likely—because I know how this blog works—you're just feigning outrage like you always do.

If you had pointed to something in Weigel's reporting for the Washington Post on the tea party that undermined them or disparaged them or showed bias, then you might have something. But you haven't. And you won't, because you can't.

garage mahal said...

Wiegel, tasked with covering the far right fringe, finds them, well, fringey.

Blue@9 said...

If you think there's something wrong or shocking about a journalist objectively covering a group of people while maintaining his own personal views about them, you're either an idiot or you're incredibly naive. Or more likely—because I know how this blog works—you're just feigning outrage like you always do.

If you had pointed to something in Weigel's reporting for the Washington Post on the tea party that undermined them or disparaged them or showed bias, then you might have something. But you haven't. And you won't, because you can't.


Right, because it's perfectly normal to have a journalist cover a topic or movement when holds a vein-busting irrational hate for the people in the movement.

Sure, he didn't show any bias... that we know of. Since half the battle when it comes to journalistic bias is choosing what to write about and what to ignore, you're right to the extent we'll never know what Weigel chose to ignore or suppress.

But hey, I know what, let's get a Birtherite "Obama is a Sekrit Muslim" lunatic to write a blog covering the Obama Presidency in the NY Times. Not only that, but we'll say that his political beliefs are "complicated," even though he coordinates messaging with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. As long as he keeps his official column in a dull, unbiased voice, we'll just give him the benefit of the doubt!

LoafingOaf said...

Wow Althouse. Weigel must have really rocked your world.

I think they might have some past grudges with each other? I noticed Weigel was tweeting dismissive, disparaging things about Althouse after she had blogged about his take on the congressman who committed an assault and battery. He also committed a blogger sin by blogging about her post about him without linking to her so readers could judge for themselves.

Between that sin and the tweets, I got the feeling he had had some past conflict with Althouse and wanted people to shun her and not acknowledge that she's a prominent blogger. I dunno....

So I think Althouse is pretty happy about the guy getting himself into trouble? But, hey, he did it to himself.

Revenant said...

A commenter on Pandagon memorably distinguished "private" from "secret" in the case of Weigel: It's no secret that people go to the bathroom, but it certainly is private.

And if you take a dump in direct view of 400 other people, it is neither secret nor private. It is another word: "public".

Jason said...

Conservatives aren't "fringe," dipshit.

There are more of them than there are moderates or liberals.

It's libtards who are on the fringe. Not conservatives.

Blue@9 said...

Sheesh, this is yet another example of the tedious tribalism that infects the vast majority of people interested in politics today. Guy is shown to be an unethical asshat, and loads of people rise up to defend him. Why? Because he says shit they like, never mind that if he were on the other side and had done the same shit, these same commentators would be howling for him to be hanged.

But it's all cool, bro, because he's one of the tribe.

somefeller said...

Wow Althouse. Weigel must have really rocked your world.

I think they might have some past grudges with each other?

Interesting questions. I recall Althouse having a dispute with some Reason Magazine people awhile back. One wonders if there might be some backstory here.

Seven Machos said...

Zach -- Why is the man currently unemployed then?

Blue is right about this asshatery being hilarious. If this guy was a conservative covering leftist hothouses and he spewed exactly the same invective, you'd be shilling just as loudly on the opposite side.

Hypocrisy is the tribute that virtue pays to vice.

Seven Machos said...

Weigel:Reason ::

Sullivan:National Review

Revenant said...

You've been so wrong on this, Althouse, from the beginning.

Oh?

Weigel never said he was a conservative, nor did he betray his readers' trust.

When did Althouse say he had?

you're either an idiot or you're incredibly naive. Or more likely—because I know how this blog works—you're just feigning outrage like you always do.

An example of this "feigned outrage" about Weigel would be...?

If you had pointed to something in Weigel's reporting for the Washington Post on the tea party that undermined them or disparaged them or showed bias, then you might have something. But you haven't. And you won't, because you can't.

Althouse hasn't accused Weigel of undermining the tea party movement, nor has she accused him of improper behavior on the job. Perhaps you should take a deep breath and calm down a bit. You're so furious about what happened to Weigel that you're lashing out at people who had nothing to do with it.

LoafingOaf has it pretty much correct, I think. Weigel was a smug asshole to a lot of people, Althouse among them. His immaturity just cost him a job, and Althouse is enjoying some schadenfreude. That's about it.

David said...

Weigel should have a little chat with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who were just about his age when they cracked the Watergate story.

AST said...

I want someone to tell Weigel to go suck an egg. He's an eggbagger.

Other than that, I want to forget that he or his group of sophomoric friends exists. I was happily ignorant of them, because they all seem to be too inexperienced in life to have opinions I should care about on anything.

Methadras said...

Okay, who got that pic off of ChatRoulette? Well, at least he wasn't holding his junk when it was taken. Thank God for small favors.

garage mahal said...

you're either an idiot or you're incredibly naive. Or more likely—because I know how this blog works—you're just feigning outrage like you always do.

In this case I don't think it's feigned outrage, I think it's real. After all, Weigel said mean things about 2 of her BFF's, Drudge and Limbaugh.

Michael said...

David: I think Woodward and Bernstein and Richard M. Nixon who spawned them are responsible for second rate writers like Weigel who long for the moment when they can "investigate" something as opposed to (Pre-Nixon, Pre-Woodward, Pre_Bernstein) "report" on an event or events. The glory that became theirs and remains dimly reflected on them and on the WaPo became the glory that defined "journalism." I second the Althouse call for a deep throat to out the membership of the list and their precious banter.