The Other McCain

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

Malkin Pimp-Slaps Weigel

Posted on | February 25, 2011 | 25 Comments

MARION, Ohio — My buddy Dave Weigel has got arrogance like Rosie O’Donnell’s got double chins.

His smart-ass attitude already cost Dave a job at the Washington Post (as he has admitted), but his excessive arrogance still gets the best of him, and so today Dave decided to do something extraordinarily stupid: Point his snark at Michelle Malkin.

Dave, Dave, Dave — will you never learn?

I’d take time to explain Dave’s mistake here, but I’m on deadline for an offline project, so I’ll summarize what Dave did wrong in a single word: Everything.

And just FYI to Garance Franke-Ruta: Prank phone calls are not “gonzo journalism.”

UPDATE: Oh, what the hell? If I’m going to get sidelined and procrastinate, I might as well go whole-hog with it. Here’s Weigel’s lede:

MADISON, Wisc. — Michelle Malkin promises to do “the reporting the Tea Party-bashing national media won’t do on the rabid outbreak of progressive incivility and violence at Big Labor protests across the country.” Sounds promising! But here’s what she delivers. . . .

Weigel then goes on to bullet-point the contents of Malkin’s latest column, “Hate-a-rama: The vulgar, racist, sexist, homophobic rage of the Left.” He then wrote, “This isn’t really reporting. This is googling,” a sneer he retracted after Malkin pimp-slapped him and pointed out that she had done follow-up interviews with various victims of left-wing protest thuggery.

But you see that Dave was, once again, doing the arrogant show-off thing, as he made sure to rub that Madison dateline in Malkin’s face: “I just spent four days in Madison and the state Capitol, reporting, and saw absolutely no violence.”

For the purposes of this discussion, it doesn’t matter whether you think the Left or the Right is more guilty of over-the-top behavior at protests. Nor does it matter whether you think the mainstream media exaggerates right-wing misconduct while ignoring left-wing misconduct. Malkin has been the target of about as much leftist thuggery as anyone, so she is an authority on the subject, and as to the media’s bias, I’ve certainly discussed that recently (see here and here).

No, the issue here is Dave’s arrogance, his “Look at Me, I Just Spent Four Days in Madison, Reporting” show-off stunt.

And I blame myself.

After he got canned from the WaPo in July 2010, I talked to Dave by phone about his situation, and he said that several news organizations had expressed an interest in hiring him. So I told Dave, basically: “Make sure you get a travel budget.” Given the choice between two jobs with roughly equal salary, I advised him, take the one that offers you more travel money.

One of the sad realities of modern journalism is that there’s less and less money for reporters to travel and do on-the-scene reporting. Whatever Dave’s grievous faults — and grievously hath Dave answered them — he’s a good reporter, so one way he could really distinguish himself from those blogging-from-Starbucks pundit types was to become Dateline Dave, the Man on the Scene.

I haven’t had time to follow Dave’s reporting from Madison, but I reckon my advice might have had a little something to do with his Wisconsin sojourn — and now look what it has led to!

Well, let’s hope Malkin’s Pimp-Slap Heard Round the World knocks some sense into the boy’s head. As for Malkin, she doesn’t do as much on-the-scene reporting as she used to do, but she is still a reporter by habit and training, and she works very hard at what she does. She sure as hell didn’t deserve that sneering condescension from Weigel.

“Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other.”

UPDATE II: Any of my conservative friends tempted to derogate Weigel’s reporting skills should check out this article in which he goes behind the scenes with the protesters who turned the Wisconsin Capitol into a radical commune, which includes this interesting sentence:

The “War Room” of the Teaching Assistants Association is tucked away on the third floor.

Hmmmm. So the  University of Wisconsin Teaching Assistants Association i.e., a bunch of left-wing grad students — played a leadership role in the sit-in.

And “War Room”? #NewTone!


Comments are closed.