Posted on | June 25, 2010 | 123 Comments
This is not good news for conservatives, no matter how much you hate Dave Weigel.
UPDATE: In an e-mail to several bloggers last night, I observed:
[O]nce the WaPo axed Ben Domenech, it was more than four years before they again tried a “conservative” blog. As someone who is BCC’d said to me on the phone Thursday, Dave is “about the best we can expect” from the Post. So there’s nothing to be gained by conservatives doing a takedown on Weigel, and perhaps a good deal to be lost.
Ah, vain hope. The “No Conservatives Need Apply” policy at WaPo may now be regarded as a permanent fixture.
UPDATE II: Dan Riehl disagrees with me. But I never argue with Dan.
UPDATE III: Philip Klein at The American Spectator:
It should also be noted that he went on Keith Olbermann’s show and shot down a story about Sarah Palin committing perjury that had been lighting up the liberal blogs and defended Cato’s Michael Cannon against a “dishonest and unfair hit” by the Center for American Progress.
This is the asshat who sided with chuckie the traitor, and slammed Spencer and me, among . . .
I’m not aware that Weigel “sided with” Charles Johnson, but perhaps I missed something. At any rate, in a phone conversation just now with a conservative activist/blogger, I located what may be the deepest root of my pain over this episode: Weigel’s short tenure at the WaPo will be woven into the “conservatives don’t do journalism” narrative that Matthew Yglesias and his liberal buddies have been weaving for the past couple of years.
UPDATE IV: Conservative operative Liz Mair:
[P]erhaps the Post could pursue someone like Phil Klein or Eli Lake or Jim Antle. It would demonstrate good faith towards conservatives, and help the Post continue to drive in a direction that seems to be benefiting it, in terms of audience.
Not. Gonna. Happen. However, Liz also theorizes:
A lot of leaking has been done with the clear objective (I believe) of ruining Dave’s career, and forcing his ouster by the Washington Post. I suspect it is happening because Dave committed the cardinal sin of defending Rand Paul, a figure who has become so reviled by many on the Left that it’s hard to draw a bright-line distinction between him and Saddam Hussein, by their standards (in fact, for some of them, I believe Saddam Hussein is held in less contempt). That’s a bad place for Dave to be, but he got there because he had the courage of his convictions and defending a man who many on the Right consider almost indefensible — and he did it at the Washington Post, not Reason Magazine.
Ah, well. Water under the bridge. Weigel under the bus. Ace isn’t wasting any tears on Dave. Sad to see that among the few bloggers saying anything in Weigel’s defense is . . . wait for it . . . Andrew Sullivan.
Yeah. Kiss of death. Dave who? Never heard of the guy.
(Rooster crows three times.)
UPDATE V: In the comments, Moe Lane makes a good point:
“The thing that strikes me about this is how little input in the affair actual conservatives have had.”
Exactly. News organizations don’t hire conservatives. Therefore, conservatives don’t seek careers in journalism and instead become lawyers or accountants or stock brokers or whatever.
Ergo, none of the people making decisions in MSM newsrooms are conservatives. Where set A = “employees of news organizations” and set B = “conservatives,” we see that as the closer set AB approaches to zero, the more likely journalists are to view conservatives as The Other, and vice-versa.
If you think such a situation is a good thing, then you’re obviously congratulating yourself about Dave Weigel’s downfall, and you don’t want to hear the explanation of my disagreement.
I spoke to Weigel by phone this afternoon. He’s fine, and is currently deciding which of three or four job offers to accept. He admits that he succumbed to hubris, but wasn’t interested in rehashing the back-story of this whole mess. He said he was going somewhere this evening to chill out.
Ed Morrissey says “Dave and I are on friendly terms,” so there’s that, and Ed engages in the “who leaked from Journolist and why?” theorizing that is the really intriguing angle here. The more I think about it, the more I suspect that Liz Mair was on the money in suspecting that Dave’s defense of Rand Paul motivated the leak.
Matt Welch at Reason recounts the saga for the benefit of Weigel’s former readers at Reason, and Ed Driscoll has a long and excellent round-up of reaction.