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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The bottom line is this guy was being paid to be a fraud. He got found out.

I cannot believe the lengths to which Ed goes to in this piece to defend such dishonesty. Such is the difference between liberals and conservatives. This time, that’s not a compliment.

Jaynie59 on June 25, 2010 at 2:29 PM

I guess some folk are nuts enough that they can’t recognize that people can be friends and disagree about politics.

what a bunch of goobers comment here.

audiculous on June 25, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Ever hear of “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Sure you can be friends, but let’s not be blind that if you’re a liberal journalist writing about conservatives for the Wapo, it’s in your best interest to befriend other consevative bloggers/journalists.

redridinghood on June 25, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Brings back memories of my first-ever comment about a Dave Weigel article, when he blamed Sarah Palin for publicly criticizing the guy who moved next door to her while writing a book about her.

“I’m not familiar with Dave Weigel. Has he always been a drooling moron?”

I point this out not because I think everyone is breathlessly interested in my old posts, but because … it still applies so well!

tom on June 25, 2010 at 2:34 PM

I, too, am disappointed in Ed’s post. Ed is contorting himself in order to try and walk a middle line. There is no middle line here. This guy (Weigel) had no business reporting on conservatives; he is not one and clearly does not understand what one is which renders his reporting and commentary at best meaningless and at worst misleading to readers on the right or the left.

KickandSwimMom on June 25, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Ed seems to think Weigel’s “Surprisingly Good” TM approach to reporting on conservatives is fair and square. I guess considering Ed & Co. have been living off of Democrat campaign money vis a vis Jerry Brown ads, I should not be shocked.

leftnomore on June 25, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Weigel doesn’t have to be a conservative to cover the right but he does have to, call me overly demanding if you insist, not wish some of they die or set fire to themselves in order to cover them.

Man, talk about unprofessional.

SteveMG on June 25, 2010 at 2:38 PM

…an anthropological study of conservatives…Post readers get a Conservatives In The Mist approach…

Great lines, Ed. “What curious creatures they are! People need to know!” –said the editor at the Post who came up with the idea for this coverage…and whose idea was approved by acclamation, I’m sure.

Owen Glendower on June 25, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Poor Weigel. Someone should give him a hug. Etheridge style.

Doughboy on June 25, 2010 at 2:45 PM

I hope there are no well know conservative who said things to Weigel, especially in email, that they may now regret. Now that he’s been outed, he may not feel the need to keep such things private.

TheBigOldDog on June 25, 2010 at 2:46 PM

I guess some folk are nuts enough that they can’t recognize that people can be friends and disagree about politics.

what a bunch of goobers comment here.

audiculous on June 25, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Nothing wrong with having liberal friends, but your friendship does not mean you turn a blind eye to idiotic behavior. Ed is twisting and turning trying to spin this for his friend and he looks bad doing it. Friendship does not mean defending the indefensible, nor compromising your values to placate a friend, as Ed has obviously done here. Something tells me that if Ed did not know Dave personally Ed would have been a bit less forgiving.

Captain Kirock on June 25, 2010 at 2:47 PM

•”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.” – Wiegel

How…tolerant.

kingsjester on June 25, 2010 at 2:48 PM

I don’t care how angry I am at someone, I don’t want them to die of a heart attack or be set on fire. Who’s the oddity?

Cindy Munford on June 25, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Weigel doesn’t have to be conservative to cover the right. However, at least some respect for the right would be expected. Clearly Weigel doesn’t have that respect.

Caper29 on June 25, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Weigel doesn’t have to be a conservative to cover the right but he does have to, call me overly demanding if you insist, not wish some of they die or set fire to themselves in order to cover them.

Man, talk about unprofessional.

SteveMG on June 25, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Agreed. Here’s a guy (Weigel) who has stated in print that he wants:

Rush Limbaugh to die
John McCain to die
Matt Drudge to die

We’re talking a Joseph Goebbels level of rethoric here. The guy is about the worst leftist scum you imagine. And yet, here he is, covering Conservatives for the WaPo.

And Ed is defending this lowlife?? Boggles the mind.

Norwegian on June 25, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Weigel doesn’t have to be a conservative to cover the right but he does have to, call me overly demanding if you insist, not wish some of they die or set fire to themselves in order to cover them.

Man, talk about unprofessional.

SteveMG on June 25, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Weigel’s mistake was that he wrote this stuff in what was intended to be an anonymous bulletin board. But what makes anyone here think that some people on Fox News, CSN, CBN, etc. don’t think (but just not write) the same thing about some liberals? Are they disqualified from reporting on Democrats, for instance?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Wiegel was a plant, lied about his intentions to others in an attempt to do damage to them.

“Others” being us.

Forgive me if I don’t applaud a rush to his defense. WaPo and Wiegel were caught with their hand in the cookie jar – and they didn’t even wash their hands first.

And “JournoList” is just more proof of collusion in media. Not like I needed any more after taking journalism classes and hanging out with aspiring reporters. There is an astonishing compartmentalization when it comes to “objectivity.” It’s a wonder to behold tremendous fact-finding and balance on a land dispute dissolve when the same reporter covers a congressional bill or political scandal.

Merovign on June 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

It’s disappointing to see Ed’s hand-wringing over his friend reaping what he sowed. I don’t understand why Weigel gets a pass for the vicious things he said about Palin and others. I can only conclude that Ed basically agrees with Weigel’s opinions.

Y-not on June 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

The other thing to point out here is that the Post already set a precedent four years ago with their handling of the Ben Domenech situation. Different situation and different accusations, but the Post and Domenech caved quickly after protests from the left called for his termination. It would have been hard for them and Weigel to stand firm here and then not have to deal with having to parce the two situations down to the most minute detail on why Ben had to go but Dave could stay.

jon1979 on June 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

redridinghood

so I guess you’re saying that Mr Morrissey lack the ability requisite to interact
with other people and you’re just helping him to understand and overcome his deficiency.

very nice of you.

audiculous on June 25, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Sorry, I have no sympathy for Weigel. He made his living smearing conservatives under the guise of journalism. May all like him meet the same fate.

WannabeAnglican on June 25, 2010 at 2:58 PM

That’s why I wonder why someone on JournoList decided to leak Weigel’s commentary. unless someone on JournoList doesn’t like the fact that the Washington Post is focusing on conservative issues in any way, shape, or form. .. or 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.

I’d love to know who did it too.

It sure would be mighty funny if Ezra Klein is eventually exposed as a closet conservative who’s been rope-a-doping all these lefty propagandists into admitting to their professionally disqualifying biases on his ‘private’ (wink-wink) J-list.

If so, I hope he’s got a hard-a$$ed agent. Whoever has been carefully compiling all this stuff has got one helluva blockbuster on their hands.

leilani on June 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM

His coverage of the Congressman who headlocked a young man who merely civilly asked him a question demonstrated his bias.

What he said in private expressly reveals that he has a specific agenda- to advocate for Democrat policies:

After Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat, threatening to kill the health care legislation by his presence, Weigel stressed how important it was for reporters to highlight what a terrible candidate his opponent Martha Coakley had been.

“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,” Weigel wrote.

Imagine how it would play if another reporter was caught explaining that a story needed to be covered a certain way and a particular point stressed specifically to achieve the goal of helping Republicans.

Nobody spewing this much vile and venom against conservatives had any business covering them ‘from the inside.’

Ed, you’re a nice guy, but I fear your niceness has seriously clouded your judgment here, and you are in danger of following others and ‘growing in office’- the wrong direction. As more of his comments to journo-list (which could not possibly truly be considered ‘private’) turn up, it’s obvious that his nice guy schtick with you was an act, which for you was a successful act.

For me, not so much.

DeputyHeadmistress on June 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Weigel’s mistake was that he wrote this stuff in what was intended to be an anonymous bulletin board. But what makes anyone here think that some people on Fox News, CSN, CBN, etc. don’t think (but just not write) the same thing about some liberals? Are they disqualified from reporting on Democrats, for instance?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

If their only beat was to “cover liberals” then yes, it would be a problem. That was the stumbling block here — Weigel was hired by the Post to ‘cover conservatives’ and promoted as the right person for the job due to his libertarian side, linked to his past association with Reason. But when it came down to it, Dave had stronger feelings for supporting liberalism than he did for supporting libertarianism, unless you want to believe he was lying to the others on Journo-list just to show he was ‘one of the guys’.

jon1979 on June 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM

I’m happy whenever anything happens to discredit the far-left JournoList echo chamber. Personally, I’d like to see everything that’s said on JournoList so it can be compared to the nightly newscasts and what is printed in the mainstream print media and in the blogoshpere because IMO all the JournoList is, is a far-left meme creating machine that has infiltrated the “mainstream media”, which is one of the reasons the Lamestream media is failing so hard. They’ve lost their credibility because all they publish is far-left nonsense that even average people can see right through.

OxyCon on June 25, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Yeah, Ed, defend the liberal who trashes conservatives in his column.

You sure are fair and balanced, Ed. And middle-of-the-road, and moderate, and judicious…

More and more worthless by the day. You’re angling for an MSM job aren’t you?

misterpeasea on June 25, 2010 at 3:02 PM

A hood rat get’s ratf**ked. Poetic justice. Say hi to Helen Thomas Weigel.

the_nile on June 25, 2010 at 3:04 PM

But what makes anyone here think that some people on Fox News, CSN, CBN, etc. don’t think (but just not write) the same thing about some liberals? Are they disqualified from reporting on Democrats, for instance?

Um, Jimbo, you’re now a mindreader and seriously suggesting that Wiegel is the standard? That because he expressed a view to hundreds of people that somebody he didn’t like ought to set himself on fire, than everybody else probably thinks the same thing?

What nonsense. But let’s pretend you’re right- the fact that these other guys you imagine secretly think the same way as Wiegel have the self-control not to spew their imagined venom on an email list of hundreds would plainly reveal that they are more grown up than Wiegel, and thus more likely to have the self-control necessary to set aside ones personal animosities and at least try for objectivity.

Weigel wasn’t trying for objectivity. He was trying for advocacy of Democrat talking points while pretending to be something he was not.

DeputyHeadmistress on June 25, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Are they disqualified from reporting on Democrats, for instance?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Are they disqualified from commenting from “inside the liberal movement”?

Yes, they are.

Lehosh on June 25, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Bye Dave.

“If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
-Samuel Adams

poplicola on June 25, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Are they disqualified from reporting on Democrats, for instance?

Yes.

If it’s publicly revealed that they hold the people they’re covering in such contempt that they wish death upon them (or other ugly sentiments), yep, they need to be removed from that beat. Whomever they’re covering: Limbaugh or Olbermann or politics or sports or clog dancing.

And this wasn’t just a private listserv where he blew off steam. This was a listserv of fellowing liberal journalists for other publications where his views were received, I’m sure, with great sympathy.

This is just unprofessional and stupid behavior. As was said in another context, if you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog.

The Post has to think about its credibility and the credibility of the other reporters who work for it. I’m reasonably sure they most of them are appalled at Weigel’s stupidity.

SteveMG on June 25, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Weigel was hired this spring by the Post to cover the conservative movement.

But this clown belongs to reactionary leftist taking point central, Jerkolist?

What, is that like a joke or something?

N. O'Brain on June 25, 2010 at 3:09 PM

I won’t give certain personal details about myself on this blog because I’m convinced there are a few (not many) people here who would love to figure out who I am so they could “out”/harass me.

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Too late, Mr Hotshot. Everyone, you can contact Jimbo here. Just ask for Benny Stulwicz.

Laura in Maryland on June 25, 2010 at 3:12 PM

I won’t give certain personal details about myself on this blog because I’m convinced there are a few (not many) people here who would love to figure out who I am so they could “out”/harass me.
Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Don’t you have the roles reversed here, J3? After all, you’re the one who expressed a desire, nay, an eagerness, to rat out to the IRS anyone who posted here that might shirk their “duty” to purchase health insurance under Obi-Won’s magnificent plan.

ya2daup on June 25, 2010 at 3:13 PM

What, is that like a joke or something?

N. O’Brain

yes, you are. you’ve no idea what you’re talking about, quite obviously.

reactionary leftist

or you wouldn’t attempt that.

audiculous on June 25, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Weigel’s mistake was that he wrote this stuff in what was intended to be an anonymous bulletin board.

It wasn’t just on a private email list. I’ve been following Weigel on twitter for 6 months, something anyone on twitter can do. He tweets the same kind of stuff routinely, every day. I pointed out to many people that his attitude certainly didn’t help his credibility in covering conservatives for a major newspaper. Several friends of his on twitter told me “but he’s a libertarian!” as if that mitigated his remarks somehow.

He’s not a bad reporter, and his WaPo blog wasn’t that bad either. But he seems to have no sense of boundaries or that his comments would make people including his boss wonder about his objectivity. That’s self-destructive.

Not to mention the whole “Conservatives in the Mist” aspect of it, which was just wrong from the gitgo, unless WaPo hired a conservative reporter to do exactly the same thing about liberals.

YehuditTX on June 25, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Tommy Christopher = Weigel.
Same thing is going on.

They are equally liberal but AFAIK Tommy hasn’t been assigned to the “conservative beat” anywhere. He writes about everything, conservatives included.

YehuditTX on June 25, 2010 at 3:28 PM

redridinghood

so I guess you’re saying that Mr Morrissey lack the ability requisite to interact
with other people and you’re just helping him to understand and overcome his deficiency.

very nice of you.

audiculous on June 25, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Thanks.
I prefer to call it womans intuition.

redridinghood on June 25, 2010 at 3:39 PM

There’s just no question this can be due to one of only two reasons: 1) The leaker has some personal grudge against Weigel and decided to, ah, “ratf***” him. Or 2) Weigel didn’t properly toe the ideological line, in the eyes of another participant in one of the most ideologically rigid forums on the planet.

Either way, given the “end justifies the means” mentality of today’s left, it wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprising that the leaker considered one of these two things to be crimes worthy of attempting a total destruction of Weigel’s career.

One other note: Remember that half the point of Ezra Klein’s creation of JournoList was so that Ezra Klein would be more assured of moving in the proper circles. As a result, there aren’t many unknown names ever allowed to join. This means the leaker is almost certain to be someone whose name we all know well. Any guesses?

The Lone Platypus on June 25, 2010 at 3:45 PM

I guess Mr. Morrissey and AllahPundit will have more to commiserate about then their inclusion in the same club. Ed has been getting complaints on this thread worthy of what Allah gets on a daily basis.

Cindy Munford on June 25, 2010 at 3:49 PM

lookee here, Jeffrey Goldberg agrees with the assessment a bunch of kids are running what the media covers:

The sad truth is that the Washington Post, in its general desperation for page views, now hires people who came up in journalism without much adult supervision, and without the proper amount of toilet-training. This little episode today is proof of this.

ginaswo on June 25, 2010 at 3:56 PM

and Weigel says he secretly supports Obamacare. How the hexx is that ‘libertarian’? these kids are all the same flavor putting on different faces

ginaswo on June 25, 2010 at 3:57 PM

I’m glad you’re on “friendly terms” with Weigel, Ed. If he ever writes about you I’m sure he will be respectful and honest, until it suits him to be otherwise.

Extrafishy on June 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Oh, Dear: Ezra Klein Now Shutting Down JournoList
—Ace

TheBigOldDog on June 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Himbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Oh, look!
It’s Himbo trying to do damage control again for the Evil and Lying Left!
Who’d a thunk it?!

Jenfidel on June 25, 2010 at 4:04 PM

It is quite amazing that Ed thinks the most headline-worthy aspect of this story is that poor Dave Weigel got burned by someone on a list that was supposed to be confidential.

Missy on June 25, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Weigel’s mistake was that he wrote this stuff in what was intended to be an anonymous bulletin board. But what makes anyone here think that some people on Fox News, CSN, CBN, etc. don’t think (but just not write) the same thing about some liberals? Are they disqualified from reporting on Democrats, for instance?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

No, that is conservaitves’ whole point. There is no such thing as an unbiased reporter. Every story is going to have bias in it to some degree, more or less depending on the issue. For instance, what quotes do you include? What sources do you speak with? What stories do you cover? What stories do you not cover? What tone and verbiage do you use. Most news articles are about 1/2 opinion and/or analysis (which in politics, tends to be just opinion). How does one not include their biases in their analysis/opinion?

Instead of pretending we have a neutral media simply reporting “facts”, reporters should disclose their biases and be open, so the reader can take that into account.

Yes, some liberals can cover conservatives very fairly. Some conservatives can cover liberals very fairly. But, even the most fair reporter is going to have their bias creep in.

It always astonishes me that liberals, who claim that everyone is a latent racist/bigot/discriminator such that we need ever more catagories of protected classes in employment law, believe that the one area where people have no biases effecting their behavior is reporting. Liberals always argue that anyone with the least connection to a corporation, be it only a passive investment in a portfolio, cannot be honest in any way with anything that effects that corp, but reporters are completely unbiased in all they do.

It is arguments like that which make me think almost all liberals are inherintly dishonest. Either they are lying to themselves, or to everyone else.

Monkeytoe on June 25, 2010 at 4:06 PM

To me, the real sin is not what he said, but where he said it. Writing on the Juicebox Mafia listserve is a huge red flag.

Brainster on June 25, 2010 at 4:12 PM

It is arguments like that which make me think almost all liberals are inherintly dishonest. Either they are lying to themselves, or to everyone else.

Monkeytoe on June 25, 2010 at 4:06 PM

They think they’re doing Gaia’s work, and so that makes any transgression acceptable.

DFCtomm on June 25, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Oh, Dear: Ezra Klein Now Shutting Down JournoList
—Ace

TheBigOldDog on June 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Have no fear. Merely a rebranding and distillation. It’s time to make journolist X as exclusive as it once was.

DFCtomm on June 25, 2010 at 4:17 PM

No, that is conservaitves’ whole point. There is no such thing as an unbiased reporter. Every story is going to have bias in it to some degree, more or less depending on the issue. For instance, what quotes do you include? What sources do you speak with? What stories do you cover? What stories do you not cover? What tone and verbiage do you use. Most news articles are about 1/2 opinion and/or analysis (which in politics, tends to be just opinion). How does one not include their biases in their analysis/opinion?

Instead of pretending we have a neutral media simply reporting “facts”, reporters should disclose their biases and be open, so the reader can take that into account.

Yes, some liberals can cover conservatives very fairly. Some conservatives can cover liberals very fairly. But, even the most fair reporter is going to have their bias creep in.

It always astonishes me that liberals, who claim that everyone is a latent racist/bigot/discriminator such that we need ever more catagories of protected classes in employment law, believe that the one area where people have no biases effecting their behavior is reporting. Liberals always argue that anyone with the least connection to a corporation, be it only a passive investment in a portfolio, cannot be honest in any way with anything that effects that corp, but reporters are completely unbiased in all they do.

It is arguments like that which make me think almost all liberals are inherintly dishonest. Either they are lying to themselves, or to everyone else.

Monkeytoe on June 25, 2010 at 4:06 PM

So your suggestion is to require each reporter/newscaster to disclose his/her voting record every X months, much like financial reporters and commenters are required to say if they own shares in the companies they are reporting on?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Himbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM
Oh, look!
It’s Himbo trying to do damage control again for the Evil and Lying Left!
Who’d a thunk it?!

Jenfidel on June 25, 2010 at 4:04 PM

How is asking that question damage control? Oh, and please let us know which law school you attended you French-speaking person.

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 4:50 PM

For quite some time now, I’ve been asking ..
“who are Jon and Kate and why should I care ?”

The same goes for Dave Weigel.

J_Crater on June 25, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Weigel must have been on the WAPO’s craplist to get the assignment in the first place. More people will hear about him now than ever read his stuff.

gbear on June 25, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Ed, you are weak. Just because you are on friendly terms with someone doesn’t mean they aren’t an a**hole. You remind me of these battered conservatives who just want to be accepted and liked by the media elite. Trust me, Wiegel and his ilk can’t stand you.

echosyst on June 25, 2010 at 5:09 PM

So your suggestion is to require each reporter/newscaster to disclose his/her voting record every X months, much like financial reporters and commenters are required to say if they own shares in the companies they are reporting on?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Don’t be purposefully obtuse. The history of newspapers was that certain papers were openly aligned with certain political parties, so you knew reading that paper what their biases were. In my scenario, the reporter would simply put “registered democrat” or “liberal” or something similar next to their byline – or the publication would state it’s affiliation.

Of course, there would still be those who would pretend to be “moderate” while purposefully advocating a bias toward liberalism, or pretending to be “conservative” and doing the same.

Most reporters believe they are advocating in their stories. You can read it in Weigels comments on Journolist that he believed it was his job to advocate for the dem party in the way he reported.

Indeed, if I recall correctly, you claim to be an attorney, As such, you should know that even in the “facts” portion of a brief, you advocate in the way your write the facts. You want to write in such a way as to seem like you are not advocating but just presenting facts. That is what most reporters do, consciously or subconsiously.

Monkeytoe on June 25, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Uuh, Monkeytoe, I wasn’t being purposefully obtuse. Here’s what you wrote:

Instead of pretending we have a neutral media simply reporting “facts”, reporters should disclose their biases and be open, so the reader can take that into account.

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 5:17 PM

How is asking that question damage control? Oh, and please let us know which law school you attended you French-speaking person.

Himbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Southern Methodist University School of Law (now called Dedman School of Law), the same alma mater as erstwhile SCOTUS nominee and Bush Counsel Harriet Miers.

I started learning French in 1st grade and continued on from there, Merci for asking!

And where did you go to law school, Himbo?
University of Wikipedia?

Jenfidel on June 25, 2010 at 5:20 PM

So your suggestion is to require each reporter/newscaster to disclose his/her voting record every X months, much like financial reporters and commenters are required to say if they own shares in the companies they are reporting on?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 4:48 PM

At the very minimum, a “journalist” shouldn’t pretend to be able to “fairly and objectively cover” conservatives and conservative Republican events when one is a flaming Lefty Liberal…like Weigel did.

Jenfidel on June 25, 2010 at 5:23 PM

The guy has no friends left I guess. I saw him getting ripped in a thread over at Reason…a thread that he was posting in, no doubt.

Asher on June 25, 2010 at 5:25 PM

What he said in private expressly reveals that he has a specific agenda- to advocate for Democrat policies:

After Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat, threatening to kill the health care legislation by his presence, Weigel stressed how important it was for reporters to highlight what a terrible candidate his opponent Martha Coakley had been.

“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,” Weigel wrote.

Imagine how it would play if another reporter was caught explaining that a story needed to be covered a certain way and a particular point stressed specifically to achieve the goal of helping Republicans.

You nailed it. This bit was very damning for him as a supposed professional. Aside from all the childish garbage betraying an extreme personal & political animus against the people & ideas he was supposed to be covering from ‘the inside’, aside from his active support for Obamacare & his bizarre apologia for Etheridge obliterating the charade he was a libertarian, this man was actively colluding with his fellow leftist J-listers over there to sabotage the impact of Republican gains & actively help promote the Democrat Party’s agenda in opposition to the very party & ideas for which the Washington Post was passing him off as a reputable & authoritative advocate to provide balance to Ezra’s advocacy for the Democrats.

No matter how you try to pretty it up, that is not a professional journalist, that’s a dishonest partisan propagandist who, by misrepresenting himself personally & professionally, has forfeited forever his credibility to write about politics, ironically enough, as an ‘outsider’.

Because whenever it was that he chose to breach that line, and whether he realized it or not, he burned his journalist’s hat & became just as much a pol as Nancy Pelosi or his reviled r-f’er Newt Gingrich are.

leilani on June 25, 2010 at 5:27 PM

oops, I meant to quote above DeputyHeadmistress on June 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM but left her name off. Sorry, Dep. HM!

leilani on June 25, 2010 at 5:29 PM

“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,” Weigel wrote.

DeputyHeadmistress on June 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Unbelievable, if Ed has seen that quote and is still defending this guy, well, sad – very sad…

Ed, if you are reading these comments, please respond.

mockmook on June 25, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Quite literally, Weigel IS off the record now.

maverick muse on June 25, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Southern Methodist University School of Law (now called Dedman School of Law), the same alma mater as erstwhile SCOTUS nominee and Bush Counsel Harriet Miers.

I started learning French in 1st grade and continued on from there, Merci for asking!

And where did you go to law school, Himbo?
University of Wikipedia?

Jenfidel on June 25, 2010 at 5:20 PM

U of Michigan. Are you a practicing lawyer?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 5:30 PM

This was a most disturbing effort, Ed. The WP got what it hired, a disengenuous hitman, and now that he’s been outed, good riddance.

Laddy on June 25, 2010 at 5:30 PM

mockmook on June 25, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Glenn Reynold’s linked a “congenial” post regarding Weigel early this morning that set a tone.

maverick muse on June 25, 2010 at 5:31 PM

What a shame. The zit faced journalist joined the Charmin Daily for his next smear job.

Liberals are reall all alike, aren’t they?

Cleveland Steamer on June 25, 2010 at 5:32 PM

U of Michigan. Are you a practicing lawyer?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 5:30 PM

I’m not going to tell you whether I am or not.

Jenfidel on June 25, 2010 at 5:32 PM

U of Michigan. Are you a practicing lawyer?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 5:30 PM
I’m not going to tell you whether I am or not.

Jenfidel on June 25, 2010 at 5:32 PM

My guess is that you probably are, or have gone into politics in some way.

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 5:35 PM

Apparently Ed got lost in his little blogger world and now fails to comprehend that
a) Weigel is a nasty, buttsniffing little liberal who hates conservatives and wears the beard at WaPo,
2) Weigel is a crappy writer, and
C) Weigel is apparently really stupid.

Jaibones on June 25, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Oh I see. This isn’t really a story illustrating, in vivid color, the lefty media bias we conservatives so often talk about. It’s really a cautionary tale about the lack of privacy relative to electronic communications.

I know it’s a Friday Ed, but Jesus.

Infidoll on June 25, 2010 at 5:39 PM

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.

With a due respect, Ed, I believe your analysis here is flawed. Would you have said about the climategate emails that all that mattered were the results of the studies? Dave was hired to be a reporter– a trusted source of information. Reporters have inherent editorial powers: which stories to pursue, which ones to ignore– not to mention how to frame the story, who to interview and which quotes to include. Because we’re not there ourselves, we have to trust that reporters are giving us the full story in an objective light. The same way a confirmation bias can influence scientific studies, so can they taint “reports.”

Second, his reportage was questioned before these emails were leaked, much the same way the climategate emails were leaked to expose the biased and unprofessional attitudes of the people involved. The fact that he revealed his bias “off the record” doesn’t absolve him anymore than it should those scientists.

Lastly, if it’s unfair to judge someone for something they never intended to be public knowledge than it would be unfair to judge John Edwards for his affair. Weigel isn’t the victim of a leak anymore than Edwards was the victim of the National Enquirer. He’s the victim of his own hateful, prejudicial attitudes.

Heywood U. Reedmore on June 25, 2010 at 5:39 PM

This thread reminds me of a frenzied lynch mob, who, after stringing up the horse thief, hangs one of their own for merely muttering, “Gee, I thought he was a nice guy.”

That or a room full of chimpanzees all furiously beating their chests and flashing their yellow teeth in futile attempts to de-throne the big kahuna monkey.

(Guess I better join in if I know what’s good for me)

“Yowl! Yeowl! String him up! How dare he defend that horse-theiving bastard!! Yeowl! Ooga Booga! Off with his head!”

Rod on June 25, 2010 at 5:54 PM

U of Michigan. Are you a practicing lawyer?

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 5:30 PM

I’m not going to tell you whether I am or not.

Jenfidel on June 25, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Good for you, Jenfidel. I wouldn’t admit to being a lawyer either.

(You are though, aren’t you? Go ahead, you can tell me, I won’t tell a soul)

Rod on June 25, 2010 at 6:09 PM

This thread reminds me of a frenzied lynch mob, who, after stringing up the horse thief, hangs one of their own for merely muttering, “Gee, I thought he was a nice guy.”

That or a room full of chimpanzees all furiously beating their chests and flashing their yellow teeth in futile attempts to de-throne the big kahuna monkey.

(Guess I better join in if I know what’s good for me)

“Yowl! Yeowl! String him up! How dare he defend that horse-theiving bastard!! Yeowl! Ooga Booga! Off with his head!”

Rod on June 25, 2010 at 5:54 PM

There’s a lot of frustrated historic suspicions that were confirmed about the leftwing media, method and Weigel with those leaked mails. It’s a vicious false flagging cabal.

the_nile on June 25, 2010 at 6:09 PM

I for one am sorry to see that Dave Weigel will no longer be giving us the “inside scoop” on conservatives for the Washington Post. I would have preferred he stay on, as a constant reminder that the majority of journalists working for the MSM, as well as the majority of progressives in this country, really would like to see all conservative politicians, pundits and (presumably) voters be set on fire.

At least then we’d have a little bit of honesty from them, for once.

Gator Country on June 25, 2010 at 6:14 PM

There’s a lot of frustrated historic suspicions that were confirmed about the leftwing media, method and Weigel with those leaked mails. It’s a vicious false flagging cabal.

the_nile on June 25, 2010 at 6:09 PM

With all due respect you have got to be kidding me.

If this event “just confirmed” for you that the media is biased and dishonest perhaps you had not been born yet when Cronkite single handedly ended the Vietnam war by declaring the VietCong winners.

The MSM has been dishonet and biased long before this soon-to-be-forgotten-yahoo was ever born.

Rod on June 25, 2010 at 6:25 PM

Mr Morrissey needs to expound a bit, respond to folks’ questions and criticisms, and explain how he was misled by this cretin. Or wasn’t, as the case may be. But he needs to follow-through on this somehow.
This is as stunningly stupid as PJM engaging that clown David Corn.
Who’s the pet in these situations? The token “conservatives” of the MSM, or the fringe media types trying to break in by sucking up them?

rayra on June 25, 2010 at 6:39 PM

http://reason.com/blog/2010/06/25/weigels-trials

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. [...]

Nice guy..

the_nile on June 25, 2010 at 6:41 PM

Wiegel was all set to ratfvck us some more. Someone got him first. Good.

SurferDoc on June 25, 2010 at 6:47 PM

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh famously said he hoped President Obama would “fail” in January, 2009. Almost a year later, when Limbaugh was rushed to the hospital with chest pains, Washington Post reporter David Weigel had a wish of his own. “I hope he fails,” Weigel cracked to fellow liberal reporters on the “Journolist” email list-serv.

“Too soon?” he wondered

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/06/25/emails-reveal-post-reporter-savaging-conservatives-rooting-for-democrats/#ixzz0ruNciqum

Nice guy..

the_nile on June 25, 2010 at 6:56 PM

Obviously, as an acquaintance of Mr. Morrissey’s, Mr. Weigel is reading this thread. So I will address my remark to you, sir.

Dear Mr. Weigel,

I hope that, if the situation had been reversed, that you would have honored your friendship with as much grace and loyalty as our cordial Mr. Morrissey has done.

Some men are about polarizing; other men are about uniting. Some men rejoice in tearing others down, then kicking them for good measure. Other men fight honorably and can accept their opponent’s defeat without gloating.

One of your secret buddies betrayed you, but Ed Morrissey did not. Today, all Hot Air readers can be proud of Our man.

Mr. Weigel, Our man is a righteous guy, and I reckon that he can see redemption even in your future. I happen to trust Ed, so my parting sentiment for you is canon you should recognize:

Peace.

RushBaby on June 25, 2010 at 7:09 PM

Ed you completely missed the point. The Washington Post tried to pass this idiot off as their “conservative” blogger. To those of us who follow politics, we knew he was liberal, but for most he was simply the “conservative” blogger for the Washington Post. That is the real crime here, and that is why he resigned. I can’t believe you’re not smart enough to see that, but apparently you’re not. He showed the inner workings of the Washington Post and their incredible dishonesty. The fact of the matter is, the Washington Post tried to discredit the conservative movement by putting a radical left wing liberal on their blog and calling him a conservative so that he would have some “credibility” or “authenticity” in his tea party opposing view points. Bias doesn’t even begin to describe this. His blogs were nothing more than Democrat propaganda. The really sad thing about this is that this site will still link to the Washington Post every single day. Makes me wonder what we’re going to find out about you and Allahpundit in the days to come. “Conservative” blogger of the year? I’m not so sure about that any more.

wickedcurveball on June 25, 2010 at 7:11 PM

wickedcurveball on June 25, 2010 at 7:11 PM

Exactly ,Weigel was a false flag operation to discredit the conservative base and grassroots.

the_nile on June 25, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Now if only the rest of the dishonest hacks at the WaPo would follow him and resign too, we would all be better off.

Brian1972 on June 25, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Rod, you are a moron. The only poo flinging monkey I see here (besides jimbo) is you.

You try to spin your false analogy by saying we are lynching some poor guy because he said he thought their “victim” was a nice guy.
If you were interested in being honest instead of an *ss, you’d have mentioned the fact that he went beyond your dishonest claim. Ed’s judgement is clouded by his relationship and it is repulsive to see him defend such a person. I guess you thought you’d get brownie points for defending him. All you’ve done is shown us what type of “rod” you are.

Hard Right on June 25, 2010 at 8:00 PM

But the WaPo won’t, you see.

I used to think that the WaPo was the more serious and weighty paper, that the NYT was the more ideological and driven cheerleader for the Dems.

Boy was I foolish. I won’t make that mistake again.

victor82 on June 25, 2010 at 8:00 PM

When this clown Weigel spent column after column defending Sarah’s creepy stalker McGinnis, and attacked her for being pissed off, that did it for me.

This is like poetic justice.

Oddly, this sort of thing seems to happen to a lot of people who try and hurt Palin. Hmmm. Divine intervention, or just a fun coincidence?

gary4205 on June 25, 2010 at 8:06 PM

I am amazed that Ed defends Weigel’s reportage. His Etheridge piece was nothing more than Dem propagandist spin and damage control talking points, period. It was not an isolated incident, either.

Weigel has been whining about hate mail for days now, just like McGinnis did. Yet they and their ilk accuse Palin of whining about negative media coverage. If any of them suffered a tenth of the hate mail and media assault that Palin has for the last 2 years he would curl up in a fetal position, thumb firmly in mouth.

Fluffy McNutter on June 25, 2010 at 8:22 PM

It’s about character Ed and I cannot fathom you defending the indefensible. Drudge set himself on fire?? Give me a break. I may well look elsewhere for my blog fix. This place is getting way out of bounds.

wepeople on June 25, 2010 at 9:09 PM

I guess you thought you’d get brownie points for defending him. All you’ve done is shown us what type of “rod” you are.

Hard Right on June 25, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Thanks for standing up, puffing out your little chest, and squeaking out your self-righteous indignation.

You’re a fine example of my point about small, narrow minds and the propensity of many on the right to adhere to their own set of politically correct values just as most idiots on the left do to theirs.

Heaven forbid anyone utter a nice word about anyone on the enemies list. Right, Mr. Hard Right?

By the way, how old are you? 12? It’s been nearly 45 years since anyone made fun of my name. Did you giggle when you wrote it? I hope so. You strike me as the kind of guy that doesn’t laugh much.

Rod on June 25, 2010 at 9:26 PM

Weigel deserved what he got, and Ed’s defense of him is truly nauseating. I am certain that Ed’s take would be much different if Weigel was not a personal acquaintance of his.

JannyMae on June 25, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Heaven forbid anyone utter a nice word about anyone on the enemies list. Right, Mr. Hard Right?

Rod on June 25, 2010 at 9:26 PM

Excuse me, Rod, but what “nice words” has Mr. Weigel uttered about the people on his “enemies list,” about whom he was supposed to be reporting objectively?

You can defend Ed all you want as “just defending a nice guy.” It won’t pass the smell test. Lynch mob? LMAO!!!

JannyMae on June 25, 2010 at 9:33 PM

When this clown Weigel spent column after column defending Sarah’s creepy stalker McGinnis, and attacked her for being pissed off, that did it for me.

This is like poetic justice.

Oddly, this sort of thing seems to happen to a lot of people who try and hurt Palin. Hmmm. Divine intervention, or just a fun coincidence?

gary4205 on June 25, 2010 at 8:06 PM

This is an interesting thought. Some Hillary supporters also think Sarah got a raw deal. Perhaps the lefty that threw Weigel under the bus is a Hillary-supporting lefty with a soft spot for Sarah.

trigon on June 25, 2010 at 10:40 PM

I should note that Dave and I are on friendly terms,

Wait until more emails are leaked, Ed..

The ones where he called you ratf*cker.

Grow some balls and stop defending the libtard.

DaveC on June 25, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Norwegian on June 25, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Ditto. Ed, you can be insufferable at times.

HA doesn’t feel the same anymore, not just the content, but the ads are becoming unbearable. As I type, I have a lady shouting at me about Lysol products… there’s no “pause” or “volume” control button on it anywhere and I certainly can’t close it (I had to scroll alllll the way back up to see if I could shut it off). I have to go into my volume panel and mute it that way. I also have found recently that I sometimes have to hit “refresh” a dozen times before the pages load up. Sometimes, it’s so bad I have to leave for awhile and come back later. Tonight was one of those times…

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on June 25, 2010 at 11:02 PM

LMAO!!!

JannyMae on June 25, 2010 at 9:33 PM

Good for you, JannyMae! Nothing like a good laugh!

However, in your case, you might want to consider changing the “L” to “C” as “cackling your as.. off” would likely be more appropriate.

Rod on June 25, 2010 at 11:10 PM

Journolist is shutting down. Delete archives. Maaaaaan, I’d love to see those discussions dating from after August 29, 2008.

ddrintn on June 25, 2010 at 11:11 PM

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