The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Dave Weigel Violates Rule One

Posted on | June 24, 2010 | 51 Comments

UPDATE 6/25: WEIGEL RESIGNS.

PREVIOUSLY: Rule One of Modern Journalism is, Don’t piss off Matt Drudge:

“This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire.”
David Weigel, e-mail to “Journolist”

Sigh. He also trashed Byron York and referred to Ron Paul supporters as “Paultards.” Both of which are very bad things to do, but probably not as career-damaging as pissing off Drudge. It doesn’t matter how big your scoop is. If Drudge won’t link you, you’re screwed.

Dave has tried to explain that he was getting buried in hate mail, etc., but I don’t know how — or even if — he can ever eat enough crow to repair this kind of self-inflicted career trauma.

Nevertheless, that crow ain’t gonna to eat itself. Chow down, buddy.

And Dave: You never should have trusted those Journolist people.

UPDATE: Donald Douglas reminds us of his earlier skepticism about Weigel’s WaPo gig and quotes Will Collier:

Weigel’s personality aside, the fact that he’s a contributing member of Klein’s liberal propaganda-coordination clique should have been disclosed from the very beginning of Weigel’s “reporting” on conservatives. It says nothing good about either Weigel or his bosses at the WaPo that none of the above thought Weigel’s membership in a glorified version of Media Matters would be something worth notifying readers about.

Understand this: Weigel’s editors are getting what they want. Conservatism to them is terra incognita, that part of the old maps emblazoned with the motto, “Here Be Dragons.”

If Weigel were to get fired, he would not be replaced with a blogger/reporter of whom conservatives would approve. The WaPo doesn’t hire such people. Rather, his failure would be interpreted by WaPo editors thus: “See there? Conservatives don’t want to read real news anyway, so why bother? Screw ‘em. Hire Eric Boehlert.”

UPDATE II: Matthew Vadum on Twitter:

If you don’t know who Vadum is, he is senior editor at Capital Research Center and an American Spectator contributor who was busting ACORN before most people ever heard of ACORN.

Meanwhile, the lefties at Journolist are wondering who leaked Weigel’s e-mails:

[I]t was the first time the listserv has been used specifically as a weapon of the anonymous professional takedown, and so, sent shivers through the JournoList community.
“People are feeling betrayed by whoever the leaker is, once again,” said Eric Alterman, the Nation columnist and journalism professor who is a member of the listserv. . . .
“The list is confidential,” said one member who, in typical fashion, declined to be named for this article. “Whoever broke the confidentiality of the list obviously has no respect for some pretty basic journalistic norms. But I can’t talk about it because it’s supposed to be confidential.”
The member added: “Whoever leaked that is obviously extremely jealous of the exceptional work that Dave is doing for the Post, and whatever Dave said should be viewed in that light.”

“Crabs in a bucket,” as they say. Anyone who has ever worked in DC can testify that in Washington, the more you succeed, the more knives will be aimed at your back. The nation’s capital is a place where the whisper campaign and the poison-pen letter have been refined to a high art.

If you wonder why I’ve defended Dave, contemplate the moral of Androcles and the Lion: Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.

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