Is there any such thing as “off the record”?; Update: Weigel resigns

posted at 12:15 pm on June 25, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

One of the toughest lessons to learn in business, and in media relations, is that written communications will never be entirely secure or private.  In the corporate world, I had to learn that lesson the hard way — that my e-mails and messages would get forwarded without my knowledge or permission, and that whatever I thought I had said in private could become public at any time.  Over the same period, roughly that of my entire adult life, I have also had to learn the hard way that ill-considered eruptions of anger would also become public eventually, and that angry responses to e-mail and to events around me may prove satisfying in the moment but lead to headaches and regrets in the future, and usually in the near future.

Of course, I didn’t commit my many missteps among colleagues who supposedly understood the concept of “off the record” as a core principle, either, as Dave Weigel believed in his interactions with Journolist, the “secret” liberal listserv conclave.  The participants are supposed to keep the communications private, but someone leaked Weigel’s incendiary entries to the Daily Caller, and they’re not pretty:

Weigel was hired this spring by the Post to cover the conservative movement. Almost from the beginning there have been complaints that his coverage betrays a personal animus toward conservatives.  Emails obtained by the Daily Caller suggest those complaints have merit.

“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?” Weigel lamented in one February email.

In other posts, Weigel describes conservatives as using the media to “violently, angrily divide America.” According to Weigel, their motives include “racism” and protecting “white privilege,” and for some of the top conservatives in D.C., a nihilistic thirst for power. …

Republicans? “Ratfucking [Obama] on every bill.” Palin?  Tried to “ratfuck” a moderate Republican in a contentious primary in New York. Limbaugh? Used “ratfucking tactics” in urging Republican activists to vote for Hillary Clinton in open primaries after Obama had all but beat her for the Democratic nomination.

The term “ratfucking,” for those who don’t know, refers to dirty tricks in a political campaign.  It’s hard to understand its usage here, since opposition to bills in Congress hardly amounts to dirty tricks.  Rush’s “Operation Chaos” may have been an attempt to get an outcome Rush desired, but since New York has open primaries, it’s not a dirty trick to vote in the opposite party’s primary.  If New York didn’t like that, they would vote to close their primaries instead.

This seems more like projection:

Right wing “memes” begin in “ WND/FreeRepublic/talk radio swamps,” Weigel wrote, referring to conservative websites World Net Daily and Free Republic. Sometimes, they spread like a virus into liberal sites, a fact that clearly upsets Weigel.

Given the previous coverage of the JournoList last year, that’s a little bit ironic.  The private association of liberal journalists first came to light when Michael Calderone noted that it had influence over news coverage at traditional media outlets:

But some of the journalists who participate in the online discussion say — off the record, of course — that it has been a great help in their work. On the record, The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin acknowledged that a Talk of the Town piece — he won’t say which one — got its start in part via a conversation on JournoList. And JLister Eric Alterman, The Nation writer and CUNY professor, said he’s seen discussions that start on the list seep into the world beyond.

“I’m very lazy about writing when I’m not getting paid,” Alterman said. “So if I take the trouble to write something in any detail on the list, I tend to cannibalize it. It doesn’t surprise me when I see things on the list on people’s blogs.”

For his part, Weigel has apologized in public (and in private) for his remarks in a blog post yesterday:

I’m a member of an off-the-record list-serv called “Journolist,” founded by my colleague Ezra Klein. Last Monday, I was deluged with angry e-mail after posting a story about Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) that was linked by the Drudge Report with a headline intimating that I defended his roughing-up of a young man with a camera; after this, the Washington Examiner posted a gossip item about my dancing at a friend’s wedding. Unwisely, I lashed out to Journolist, which I’ve come to view as a place to talk bluntly to friends.

Below the fold are quotes from me e-mailing the list that day — quotes that I’m told a gossip Web site will post today. I apologize for much of what I wrote, and apologize to readers.

I should note that Dave and I are on friendly terms, and he appeared on my show this week to talk more about the flap over his Etheridge reporting.  That criticism had a little more merit than his JournoList commentary, since it had to do with his actual reporting and not his conversations among friends and colleagues not intended for public consumption.  Most of these comments are fairly laughable and I’m certain routine in parlor discussions on the Left.  What matters, as Dave says, is his reporting, although it’s fair to say that this kind of exposure of his attitudes towards the Right won’t help build credibility for his reporting on conservative politics, which is his beat for the Washington Post.

That’s why I wonder why someone on JournoList decided to leak Weigel’s commentary.  Dave is hardly the most high-profile contributor on JournoList (well, before today), and he seems a strange choice for someone’s animus.  His incendiary comments certainly are sensational, but that’s about the only thing about them that makes them at all pertinent — unless someone on JournoList doesn’t like the fact that the Washington Post is focusing on conservative issues in any way, shape, or form.  While I don’t think Dave has been unduly hostile in his reporting, he’s not exactly been cuddling up to the Right, either, but that may not be enough for someone on JournoList.  Or, conversely, it could be a JournoList member with more sympathy towards conservatives than his colleagues suspect that has objections to Dave’s coverage of the Right.   Either way, it’s hardly a fair way to go about criticizing the work Dave does.

Perhaps the Post should reconsider this idea anyway.  Having an anthropological study of conservatives, such as Dave provides, would work if the Post had a similar anthropological look at liberals from someone on the outside to balance it.  As it stands, however, Post readers get a Conservatives In The Mist approach that seems to predicate itself on the belief that they can’t figure conservatives and conservatism out for themselves.  That’s not a reflection on Dave, but a criticism of the editorial decision to pursue a one-sided strategy of critical analysis at the Post.

Meanwhile, this is yet another lesson that written communications will only be as “off the record” as one’s antagonists want to leave them.

Update: This is unfortunate:

After WaPo conservative-beat blogger Dave Weigel‘s anti-conservative comments surfaced on FishbowlDC and Daily Caller over the past two days, the Washington Post has confirmed that Weigel offered his resignation this morning.

I’m actually surprised and disappointed that the Post didn’t do more to defend Dave in this instance.  The real problem, as I note above, is the lack of balance in the paper’s approach, and not any of the reporting that Weigel has done.


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Is this thing still private? Why are only Wiegel’s messages out there? Don’t we know who else is on the list? They are all, at the very least, accomplices to this sort of thing.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Meanwhile, this is yet another lesson that written communications will only be as “off the record” as one’s antagonists want to leave them.

Ed, please do me a favor and delete every comment I’ve ever made on this site.

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Gaffe: when a lib tells the truth about something.

Akzed on June 25, 2010 at 12:20 PM

he seems a strange choice for someone’s animus.

No he isn’t… he is a douchebag… I’m not surprised at all someone hates him enough to leak this…

ninjapirate on June 25, 2010 at 12:21 PM

No such thing anymore with the online ability to anonymously post just about anything. The internet is forever which is why I canceled my Facebook page and refuse to release the location of my bunker.

Bishop on June 25, 2010 at 12:21 PM

If New York didn’t like that, they would vote to close their primaries instead.

Ed, the New York thing was a reference to Scozzafava. As I recall, Operation Chaos took place mostly in Pennsylvania and Texas.

KingGold on June 25, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Sorry, but I can’t in my wildest dreams imagine revealing my moral failures to any liberal colleague.

What part of mainstream liberals are not gentlemen, they have no principles and observe no law does Weigel not understand?

It sounds to me like Weigel just learned that much of what we say about these vermin is true.

jeff_from_mpls on June 25, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Ed, with respect…I think you’re letting Weigel off the hook a little too easily.

JohnTant on June 25, 2010 at 12:23 PM

The issue reminds me of the McCrystal debacle. He is suppose to not only be a genius on counter-insurgency but also savvy to PR tactics.

And apparently most every, whether right or left, agrees.

The issue is really about intent.

What is the reason you’re speaking, what is your intent?

If you are confused about intent, then shut up.

If you have a clear intent, stick by it.

This is not an era when people will be forgiven for speaking off the cuff.

Get used to it.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:24 PM

So your dirty, lefty friend got busted for running his mouth about other people, and not being man enough to say it to their faces. Invite him back on your show and you two can have a good cry, together. I don’t care about the misfortunes of liberals; I’ll leave that tampon-fest to you and the other moderates. Liberals are the chief cause of the rot that’s eating away at America’s foundations, right now, so pardon me if I don’t feel sympathetic for a cowardly leftist that got his comments dragged into the light of day. So what.

Virus-X on June 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

I think Laura Ingraham has the best bead on this. Incompetence is the real issue.

We are all fed up with it.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Ed, please do me a favor and delete every comment I’ve ever made on this site.

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2010 at 12:20 PM

I think I’m gonna go quote every comment MadisonConservative has ever made on this site. :)

Snowed In on June 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

This is not an era when people will be forgiven for speaking off the cuff.

Get used to it.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Careful what you reveal about yourself.

In contrast to you, I can state with a clear conscience that when someone tells me something confidential, I keep that confidence.

If you had said, when speaking to a typical leftist, one can’t take them at their word, then I would agree with you.

But don’t smear moral people along with the left wing.

jeff_from_mpls on June 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

This couldn’t have happened to someone who deserved it more.

He is a first class (ass, emphasized) hack.

He blocks people on Twitter for accurately pointing that he voted for Nader, Kerry and Obama (respectively). Conservative/libertarian my ass.

He also said he voted for Ron Paul in the primaries. That’s his logic for using the term “Paultard.”

That’s like a bigot voting for Obama and saying “it’s okay to say the n-word, I voted for Obama.”

Ian on June 25, 2010 at 12:27 PM

He’s a joke. Liberal writing about conservatives. The dislike he has for the Tea Partiers and other conservatives is pretty clear.

taney71 on June 25, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Knowing what you really mean, standing behind what you say, absolutely matters.

I have zero sympathy for anyone who cops to the excuse that he/she “thought” they were off-the-record.

And that includes Carley, btw, who made a ridiculous political disaster-of-a-remark about Boxer’s hair.

She lost the election that day, in my opinion.

Better the idiot you know than the idiot you don’t know, and that was indicative of a idiot.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:28 PM

“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?” Weigel lamented in one February email.

Can you imagine what the first drafts of this guy’s articles look like?

“Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil. Taxpayers are evil….”

The editor looks it over and says, “I like where you’re going with this, but do you think maybe you could throw in something like a fact somewhere in there?”

That’s when he has to start doing the part of his job he hates more than life itself. And it’s all our fault.

logis on June 25, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Oh please, I am just shocked!

Weigel resigned from the Washington Post?

Do you people understand that the right and the left play by utterly different and incommensurable rules?

I have no confidence in the conservative movement. None whatsoever.

jeff_from_mpls on June 25, 2010 at 12:29 PM

I am indifferent to him resigning. Clearly his reputation was beyond repair. Like I said, he was a joke. Did anyone seriously think he gave the WP a conservative voice?

taney71 on June 25, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Read an article yesterday where a gay publication outed a priest who was against gay priests. (They discovered he was gay because he went to a private “gay anonymous” group that they had “infiltrated”.) This was considered (by the leftists on this leftist board where I discovered the article) a “good” thing.

We’ve crossed the line in politics in America. We can’t debate ideas anymore because of “take no prisoners” attitudes like this. JFK got away with all sorts of sexual escapades and Clinton nearly lost his Presidency because of his. Although I can’t say for sure that there was ever a happy time for politics and this isn’t some revisionist fantasy ideal I was spoon fed in school. Certainly my reading of unvarnished history seems to indicate that politics was far dirtier in the US’ past.

My current hypothesis is that FDR succeeded in shutting down political dissent in the 40s and it wasn’t until Reagan got the fairness doctrine repealed in the 80s that the balance was restored.

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 12:29 PM

I’m actually surprised and disappointed that the Post didn’t do more to defend Dave in this instance. The real problem, as I note above, is the lack of balance in the paper’s approach, and not any of the reporting that Weigel has done.

When reporters make comments like this, it undermines their reporting. Whenever we see Andrea Mitchell reporting on something concerning conservatives or the Tea Party, do any of us (honestly) clear our minds of the thought, “This woman has dripping hatred for conservatives?”

The reporter is the reporting. Maybe it’s part of Hunter Thompson and Edward Murrow’s legacy.

KingGold on June 25, 2010 at 12:30 PM

More than once, I put myself in a spot where an offhand comment I made in a moment of frustration to a colleage came back to bite me. Get bit a few times, you learn to zip it as much as possible.

And no, there’s no such thing as off the record.

Although in a field like his and being liberal, he probably felt nearly invincible, it must have been a huge shock to him that his echo chamber ratted him out.

DrAllecon on June 25, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Ed, with respect…I think you’re letting Weigel off the hook a little too easily.

JohnTant on June 25, 2010 at 12:23 PM

I agree. Ed, I read all your posts and used to be a regular listener your radio show. I stopped after you had Weigel on.

Point being: When you appear on Keith Olbermann’s show (which he has done on several occasions, just in the last 30 days) you are not a conservative or libertarian of any kind.

Ian on June 25, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Moral people are in all areas of life, and if you haven’t figured that one out, then god bless.

Honestly, the far-Left has conducted themselves in a way that has endorsed the paparrazi-press approach to Palin. They are now even embarassed. They should be.

Ditto for the smear-mongering far-Right in SC, with Haley.

I remain convinced that real people are done with both extremes.

We are just simply finished with them.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Dave blew his cover on the Etheridge reporting…and the hounds came out in numbers and in a very loud way. He seems a little temperamental.
I did like the way tried to cover for him, saying that it seems as if the WaPo is going to keep him.
He is a square peg in a round hole. A lib progressive that WaPo has covering Conservatives and the Republicans. Where is the Conservative covering the Libs and the Democrats?

d1carter on June 25, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Weigel describes conservatives as using the media to “violently, angrily divide America.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

This is a whole level of stupidity that I just can’t comprehend.

reaganaut on June 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM

“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?” Weigel lamented in one February email.

Projection, given that we have an administration signing up with the agenda of discredited left-winger X and discredited left-wing group Y?”

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM

And I’d add that any conservative blog that has subtly supported this kind of nonsense?

Count your days.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Ed, please do me a favor and delete every comment I’ve ever made on this site.

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2010 at 12:20 PM
I think I’m gonna go quote every comment MadisonConservative has ever made on this site. :)

Snowed In on June 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

I’m already selling the complete list on Ebay.

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Read an article yesterday where a gay publication outed a priest who was against gay priests. (They discovered he was gay because he went to a private “gay anonymous” group that they had “infiltrated”.) This was considered (by the leftists on this leftist board where I discovered the article) a “good” thing.

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 12:29 PM

You realize that the anarchist strategy is to use the moral aspiration of good people as a weapon against them, to defeat them and replace their civilized mores with their own lawless hedonism.

And we sit by wringing our hands whining, “well, but yes he was a hypocrite.”

These vermin don’t care about his hypocrisy. They care about purging what the man stands for from public discourse.

jeff_from_mpls on June 25, 2010 at 12:33 PM

They shouldn’t have a rabid partisan reporting under an objective guise if that person can’t keep the bias leashed in at least somewhat.

rob verdi on June 25, 2010 at 12:33 PM

The rules:

1. All email can be published.
2. All microphones are live.
3. All cameras are running.

Steven Den Beste on June 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM

This clown is in the Lindsey Graham, McCain school of trashing your own to illuminate his street cred with the left.

Enough of these people….it’s old.

We need ideologues to counter the ideologues we are facing.

rickyricardo on June 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Having an anthropological study of conservatives, such as Dave provides, would work if the Post had a similar anthropological look at liberals from someone on the outside to balance it.

So when do you start, Ed?

percysunshine on June 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Ed, I think Weigel’s reporting is very much the issue. He said this:

“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?”

Don’t you think that colors his reporting somewhat? I don’t think it’s outrageous to think that a fellow with such a bias against conservative ideas and movements can’t *help* but have his reporting compromised…especially when it’s taking place in a blog.

JohnTant on June 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM

There’s a lot more on Weigel left to be uncovered.

Back in 2008, someone under the name Dave Weigel posted outrageous messages to BC Critics blog.

One of the messages said something extremely offensive about John McCain in regards to wishing the Senator ill health.

I questioned Weigel’s bosses at the time – Matt Welch at Reason. Weigel denied that the messages were from him. I first ran the messages at LibertarianRepublican.net. Then he strenuously denied they were his. And in an effort not to shame the Editors of Reason, I retracted the story, and apologized.

Now, looking back that was entirely the wrong thing to do. The writing style of the messages from ’08 fits the same style as Weigel’s more current emails that have just been exposed.

I am absolutely certain they are Weigel’s posts.

Eric Dondero, Publisher
LibertarianRepublican.net

ericdondero on June 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM

And I’d add that any conservative blog that has subtly supported this kind of nonsense?

Count your days.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Oh no. It’s just beginning.

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Ed, with respect…I think you’re letting Weigel off the hook a little too easily.

JohnTant on June 25, 2010 at 12:23 PM

QFT.

Purple Fury on June 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM

I could tell that, finally, the national story has turned on Palin.

Even the press was reluctant to continue on with their smear tactics on the latest story.

And I think any conservative blog which has secretly supported those stories is looking at demise.

They will not be able to shake off the *ick.*

People in this country are commonsense and not stupid.

We know smear crud when we see it.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:35 PM

It was a mistake for him to have offered his resignation. Does this now mean that people can’t talk about their personal opinions?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:35 PM

O\T Ed it appears you come in at #45 of the most hated conservatives and Allah at #65,looks like you guy’s are going to have to pick up the pace a little.

heshtesh on June 25, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Three people can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
– Benjamin Franklin

Dusty on June 25, 2010 at 12:36 PM

I think if his bias had not been so apparent in his coverage of the conservative viewpoint, the revelation of his emails would not have been so damaging. He already demonstrated he was unable to be unbiased in his reporting, the emails just confirmed the depth of his animosity towards conservatives.

mbs on June 25, 2010 at 12:37 PM

He’s simply a poser and I can’t muster any sympathy for him at all.

Big Orange on June 25, 2010 at 12:37 PM

You either stand by your remarks or you don’t.

If you made some silly remark, such as 57 states, just say, it was stupid, and I was tired.

Ditto for anyone who makes silly remarks. Palin called the DOJ the “department of law.”

Laugh that junk off. That’s not relevant.

But other stuff?

Either say it, stand by it, or frankly be ready to resign.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:37 PM

UPDATE!

Ed Morrissey replaces Weigel at WAPO!

percysunshine on June 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM

It does matter, people.

I’m tired of politically-oversensitive politicians.

Either let your words matter or not.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM

These vermin don’t care about his hypocrisy. They care about purging what the man stands for from public discourse.

jeff_from_mpls on June 25, 2010 at 12:33 PM

I agree completely. The hypocrisy is BLATANT. If this had been a pro-gay politician who went to Klan rallies he’d be forgiven. (But I’m sure that’s a completely hyperbolic statement I’ve just made and has never happened in real life… /s)

My point is that we’ve made real dividing lines here and our tolerance of opposing viewpoints is less and less leading, more and more to a take no prisoners attitude.

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Who cares?

Weigel’s are a dime a dozen these days.

Dhurka Dhurka on June 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Oh please, I am just shocked!

Weigel resigned from the Washington Post?

Do you people understand that the right and the left play by utterly different and incommensurable rules?

I have no confidence in the conservative movement. None whatsoever.

jeff_from_mpls on June 25, 2010 at 12:29 PM

What sort of idiot are you? (I know, a real stupid one). They play by the same rules: Smash mouth politics and mouthing crap to the crowd when it becomes politically expedient to do so. Did you look at the video on AP’s “Quote of the Day”? That could be someone from either party.

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM

“but since New York has open primaries, it’s not a dirty trick to vote in the opposite party’s primary.”

I think you mean PA. NY does not have open primaries.

Dusty on June 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Oy, he’ll be on Olbermann for the next two weeks.

It was a poor decision by the Post. His hostility towards the right was pretty well know among libertarians.

Which is okay if he could keep it separate from his work. Which apparently he couldn’t.

SteveMG on June 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Washington Post has confirmed that Weigel offered his resignation this morning.

Why unfortunate? He never should have had the position to begin with. Hiring him was like hiring a Nazi-sympathizer (or a Paulnut) to cover Israel.

mankai on June 25, 2010 at 12:41 PM

What is with every conservative pundit rushing to defend this guy? You have a few beers with someone and suddenly they should be treated with kid gloves? Weigel might be a charming individual, but his blog was a malicious and pathetic attempt to discredit large swathes of conservatives. He quasi-defended the NC Congressman who assaulted a kid asking him questions, mocked Sarah Palin for being concerned when a nutjob reporter moved next door to her, and then this. He deserved to be sacked.

paulzummo on June 25, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Iowahawk covered jounolist a year ago. ;-)

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2009/04/one-afternoon-in-a-secret-corner-of-the-internet.html

KEITH OLBERMANN: I’m doing a piece on the countdown about sex trends in the Obama years,,, I need some good quotes!!

BRAD DELONG: thats actually kinda kewl

KEITH OLBERMANN: anybody here ever have sex???

EZRA KLEIN:

MATTHEW YGLESIAS:

JONATHAN CHAIT: u mean with a girl?

KEITH OLBERMANN: ya I guess so

EZRA KLEIN:

MATTHEW YGLESIAS: ewwwwww

ERIC ALTERMAN: I french kissed Rachel Goldman at Trotsky youth camp in 6th grade

CHRIS HAYES: 4 reals??? did you get boob???

MATTHEW YGLESIAS: ewwwwww

A lot of stuff there, I assume they don’t want to get out.

MNHawk on June 25, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Snark: Maybe Bob Etheridge can make him feel better with a hug. :)

JohnTant on June 25, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Why is wishing Drudge or Rush dead laughable? And unfortunate in the WaPo didn’t defend him?

Spirit of 1776 on June 25, 2010 at 12:43 PM

unless someone on JournoList doesn’t like the fact that the Washington Post is focusing on conservative issues in any way, shape, or form.

This.

Leftists are mean. They think all conservatives are evil and allowing any rational media coverage of us is bad – it could eventually lead to actual legitimization of conservatives and our ideas. Can’t have that, you know! The groupthink is strong with them. Same thinking that gets anyone immediately baaned from all the liberal blogs for saying anything about a conservative person or idea that is not dripping with condescension and snark.

rockmom on June 25, 2010 at 12:43 PM

It was a mistake for him to have offered his resignation. Does this now mean that people can’t talk about their personal opinions?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:35 PM

He should never have been hired in the first place.

mankai on June 25, 2010 at 12:44 PM

He got fired (resigned is the new fired, btw) not because of his “off the record” comments. He got fired because he apologized to the great unwashed, illiterate mouth breathers who cling bitterly.

BobMbx on June 25, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Leftists are mean. They think all conservatives are evil…

rockmom on June 25, 2010 at 12:43 PM

*facepalm*

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Honestly, why would anyone say something “off-record” that they don’t “on-record.”

Either you know what you believe, or the rest is really just ego games.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:45 PM

I’m confident they’ll get someone more balanced as a guest columnist – maybe Alan Grayson – while they look for a replacement.

Daggett on June 25, 2010 at 12:45 PM

What sort of idiot are you? (I know, a real stupid one). They play by the same rules: Smash mouth politics and mouthing crap to the crowd when it becomes politically expedient to do so. Did you look at the video on AP’s “Quote of the Day”? That could be someone from either party.

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Hahahahahaha, that’s funny.

Try making this post on any liberal blog and see how long you last.

We also don’t have a David Axelrod who is paying people behind the scenes to troll liberal blogs and be disruptive.

rockmom on June 25, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer jerk. His Palin mocking and jokes about Gary Coleman after his death sealed it for me. The guy is the epitome of an a** hole.

davek70 on June 25, 2010 at 12:47 PM

It was a mistake for him to have offered his resignation. Does this now mean that people can’t talk about their personal opinions?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:35 PM

In other posts, Weigel describes conservatives as using the media to “violently, angrily divide America.” According to Weigel, their motives include “racism” and protecting “white privilege,” and for some of the top conservatives in D.C., a nihilistic thirst for power. …

And he was supposed to be a objective journalist on conservative issues with these kind of opinions? Please……

Johnnyreb on June 25, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Let’s get the pool started. How long till Hotair posts this headline:

“Of course. Dan Weigels gets job at (insert random left wing site here)”

I call 2 days.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Honesty and transparency by reporters would help a lot… I am not put off by someone who openly states their beliefs, passions and tells about them. If a reporter has a liberal/Left bias let the readers know so that they can figure out where you are coming from.

And if you think something might be repeated, don’t say it. If you can’t say it in front of your mother, or whoever taught you manners, definitely don’t say it in public and don’t text/email/video conference it in private. The electronic media is one of protocols, transfer methods and encryption: none of those get anywhere close to guaranteeing privacy and duplication is a ‘sent to all’ click away.

If you want to be anonymous, then the Ted Kaczinski lifestyle is for you. Good luck on fashioning your own screws by hand… and as this is the second breach of ‘Journolist’ how long will it be before their entire archives are streamed out to the loving population in its gigabytes worth? I would prefer ‘reporters’ and ‘journalists’ to be up front in their biases, rather than have them leak out over time and bring all of their work into question.

And that goes straight to the heart of the ethics problem in journalism: the inability of journalists, commenters, pundits, and the average news reader to actually be honest with themselves about their biases. If you can’t be honest with yourself about them, then why should anyone think you are honest with them on any subject when they appear? Honesty is the best policy, and if you can trust that your readers will understand you and your biases, then you will produce better work unburdened by trying to keep bias hidden. Operate in a transparent manner and you will gain trust… do the opposite and any trust evaporates like dew under the morning sun.

ajacksonian on June 25, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Leftists are mean. They think all conservatives are evil

rockmom on June 25, 2010 at 12:43 PM

You might be a leftist if you think Rush, Beck, and Palin should be tortured and hanged for spreading hate.

Daggett on June 25, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Does this now mean that people can’t talk about their personal opinions?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:35 PM

This is the same minimization you attempted to do in the other thread. There’s a big difference in talking about your opinions and in letting them shade your reporting. His opinions did the latter.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Ed, please do me a favor and delete every comment I’ve ever made on this site.

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Too late. A stalag cell at our reeducation camp facility already has your name on it. You won’t be lonely though as you will have a lot of company.

DasObamaReich on June 25, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Twas the beat that killed him.

Dave’s generally good to read, but I guess his running mates at WaPo colored his work there.

I won’t miss the Right Now blog, but hopefully Dave won’t hold a grudge and will continue with his good work outside the WaPo.

Aquateen Hungerforce on June 25, 2010 at 12:49 PM

The rules:

1. All email can be published.
2. All microphones are live.
3. All cameras are running.

Steven Den Beste on June 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Terrific point. I am amazed that this isn’t considered common sense.

booter on June 25, 2010 at 12:49 PM

By the way, Ed, why is it unfortunate? It’s not like he’s a conservative, who would have no chance in hell of finding another job in the mainstream media.

Daggett on June 25, 2010 at 12:49 PM

I’m actually surprised and disappointed that the Post didn’t do more to defend Dave in this instance. The real problem, as I note above, is the lack of balance in the paper’s approach, and not any of the reporting that Weigel has done.

With this revelation….I’m sure the post can’t disaffect anymore customers, than they already have. It’s that kind of attitude, unbalance, and bias that is hurting these papers. For people who think they’re so damn smart, I’m surprised they haven’t figured this out yet. Will they ever?

capejasmine on June 25, 2010 at 12:50 PM

“Of course. Dan Weigels gets job at (insert random left wing site here)”

I call 2 days.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Vice-president for creating new sexually-related terms to refer to conservatives.

All the kewl blogs have one.

BobMbx on June 25, 2010 at 12:50 PM

The problem for Weigel is the perception that the Washington Post needed to justify his assignment was blown by the leaked e-mails.

Weigel was able to claim he was a libertarian with a liberal bent when Bush was in office, because other libertarians also had major issues with the administration’s actions. So his voice didn’t sound that out of line with the others at Reason. But once Obama became president, he really couldn’t stay on there, because he mind is more liberal that libertarian, and he would have had to defend Obama’s massive government spending and big government programs.

So the WaPo gig was perfect — Weigel and the Post could use his stint at Reason to justify his conservative credentials because of the association most people make between conservatives and libertarians, while at the same time he could cover conservatives but in private show his disdain for them via things like the Journo-list message board. But the release of the e-mails blew away the ability to claim that Dave was more libertarian than liberal.

The only question is did Weigel get exposed by someone angered by his behind-the-scenes hypocrisy, or was he exposed by someone on the site who may have thought his Journo-list postings were the actual fraud, and he really is a conservative who needed to be called out for pretending to be a liberal (and as wacky as that may sound, remember to the Journo-list crowd, folks like Parker, Brooks, Noonan, Frum and C. Buckley are hard rightists).

jon1979 on June 25, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Ed, please. Weigel deserved everything he got. He has gone out of his way to insult conservatives during his tenure at the Washington Post. He’s not a conservative–in fact he’s not even a David Brooks big government Republican. He’s a lefty hack who got a job to smear the right. That fact that you cannot see that makes you look very naive.

Redneck Woman on June 25, 2010 at 12:52 PM

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Delete your account here and sign up at LGF.

mankai on June 25, 2010 at 12:53 PM

jon1979 on June 25, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Certainly wouldn’t be the first time that Reason was a useful idiot.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:53 PM

I realize this is something and someone important to Ed Morrissey. To 99.9 percent of the rest of us he’s irrelevant. No one took him seriously.

chris999 on June 25, 2010 at 12:54 PM

What the hell, Ed??

First, you defend that liar Algore and now you defend uber-douche Weigel??

I want my conservative HotAir back.

Norwegian on June 25, 2010 at 12:54 PM

It was a mistake for him to have offered his resignation. Does this now mean that people can’t talk about their personal opinions?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:35 PM
In other posts, Weigel describes conservatives as using the media to “violently, angrily divide America.” According to Weigel, their motives include “racism” and protecting “white privilege,” and for some of the top conservatives in D.C., a nihilistic thirst for power. …
And he was supposed to be a objective journalist on conservative issues with these kind of opinions? Please……

Johnnyreb on June 25, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Does this now mean that people can’t talk about their personal opinions?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:35 PM
This is the same minimization you attempted to do in the other thread. There’s a big difference in talking about your opinions and in letting them shade your reporting. His opinions did the latter.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:48 PM

What evidence do you have that they significantly shaded his articles?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:55 PM

A member of the growing Conservative movement in the home of the Progressive movement: Madison, Wisconsin, otherwise known as 70 square miles of insanity surrounded by reality.

Looks like insanity is contagious.

;)

mankai on June 25, 2010 at 12:57 PM

We also don’t have a David Axelrod who is paying people behind the scenes to troll liberal blogs and be disruptive.

rockmom on June 25, 2010 at 12:46 PM

How do you know?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:57 PM

For his part, Weigel has apologized in public…

Let me take a wild guess here…”I apologize if I have offended anyone.” I’m real sick of hearing these non-apology apologies.

moonsbreath on June 25, 2010 at 12:57 PM

The rules:

1. All email can be published.
2. All microphones are live.
3. All cameras are running.

This is far worse–there are supposedly hundreds of people on JournoList; it wasn’t exactly an email to one good friend.

More like performance art.

MamaAJ on June 25, 2010 at 12:57 PM

What evidence do you have that they significantly shaded his articles?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Have you read his articles? They are just toned down versions of these emails. Stop being obtuse, Jimbo.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Delete your account here and sign up at LGF.

mankai on June 25, 2010 at 12:53 PM

I think I’d prefer the “shoot myself in the head” option.

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Leftists Conservatives are mean. They think all

conservatives

leftists are evil…

rockmom on June 25, 2010 at 12:43 PM

FIFY.

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Stop being obtuse, Jimbo.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Ask him to stop breathing. It’ll be easier.

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

What the hell, Ed??

First, you defend that liar Algore and now you defend uber-douche Weigel??

I want my conservative HotAir back.

Norwegian on June 25, 2010 at 12:54 PM

I agree too. It’s been quite disappointing lately.

moonsbreath on June 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Weasels ultimately do perish easier. May they all follow, soon.

Schadenfreude on June 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Distort the truth, go sell your lies
Betray your friends and bag the prize
The dagger’s in, now twist the knife
The gutter’s full of other people’s lives

Christien on June 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

What evidence do you have that they significantly shaded his articles?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:55 PM
Have you read his articles? They are just toned down versions of these emails. Stop being obtuse, Jimbo.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Good. You’ll have no problem giving five or so examples, right?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Ditto for anyone who makes silly remarks. Palin called the DOJ the “department of law.”

Laugh that junk off. That’s not relevant.

AnninCA on June 25, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Ann, you disappoint me. The AK AG’s office is called the Department of Law. I suspect this was force of habit by the then-Governor. But by all means, traffic in discredited digs.

http://www.law.state.ak.us/

DrSteve on June 25, 2010 at 1:00 PM

the Washington Post has confirmed that Weigel offered his resignation this morning.

Not surprised by this. He has no more usefulness to Wapo. The key part of being a shill….nobody knows you’re a shill. They can assume and guess all they want but you don’t confirm it. Dumb.

Rocks on June 25, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Good. You’ll have no problem giving five or so examples, right?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Just go to his archives. It’s not difficult, really. Even you can manage it, I’m sure.

lorien1973 on June 25, 2010 at 1:01 PM

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