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June 25, 2010

WaPo's Dextrosphere Reporter Has Highly Nuanced Take On Conservatives

I am speculating that it was his hatred of conservatives as revealed on JournoList-- and his endorsement by Ezra Klein as "one of our own" -- that got the WaPo to hire him.

The man's entitled to his opinions, and he's entitled to share them. That's not what I object to.

Rather, it's the impossible hypothetical of the WaPo hiring me to cover the left side of things.

To cover the right, you need to know the right, you need to talk to them. Further, you need to like reading right-ish commentary.

Why do I say that? Because anyone who's good at his job likes his job; that is to say, he uses a substantial amount of his free time actually doing job-related activities because he fundamentally likes his job. Almost anyone (except those with Batman-level discipline and willpower) who is good at his job will, if you check, be found to have a substantial advantage over his colleagues, because while they punch out at 5 to pursue their real interests, he's spending a lot of time after 5 o'clock doing his job.

Because for such a person, "pleasure" and "work" aren't really entirely separate categories. They flow easily into each other.

And that is one of the real keys for excellence.

Those Wall Street guys doing all sorts of research as they take the train into NYC? They will always do better than their colleagues reading Scott Turow novels on their way to work. They got lucky -- they found the perfect job for themselves. Something they like doing, and thus, are pretty much guaranteed to make a mint doing it.

You just can't force yourself to do a lot of down-time work for a job you don't enjoy. Well... you can. And you'll be unhappy, and it will be a constant struggle.

But if you happen to find a job you really like? You're golden.

This is why Dave Wiegel doesn't seem to really know what is going on on the right side of things, and pushes spin he finds on the left side of the blogosphere.

It's because, fundamentally, he hates us, so every minute he spends giving Hot Air or National Review a desultory glance is very much labor, and very much the sort of labor he doesn't enjoy.

And with his freetime? He uses that to catch up on the leftwing blogs he actually enjoys.

Small wonder, then, that whenever a controversy breaks, Dave Wiegel is Johnny On the Spot for reproducing leftwing blog memes.

But of course that's what the Washington Post wanted. They don't want an actual conservative writing this blog; such a person would be very much up on conservative thought, but such a person would also be eager to transmit such thought to Post readers, and that's not what they want.

The Post created this position begrudgingly and for the sake of appearances. And that's precisely what Wiegel delivers. A begrudging repetition of a few headlines he saw on the right side of the aisle, for the sake of appearances only.

Anyway, here are some of the best quotes from JournoList, as reported by the Daily Caller, but do check in there. It's often down right now due to overload, but check in later.

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.


“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.

Like I was saying: Despises conservatives and ergo despises his job.

A real conservative would love this job, and therefore be much better at, but the Washington Post doesn't actually want someone to do a good job.

They want crap, and they got it.

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.

“There’s also the fact that neither the pundits, nor possibly the Republicans, will be punished for their crazy outbursts of racism. Newt Gingrich is an amoral blowhard who resigned in disgrace, and Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite who was drummed out of the movement by William F. Buckley. Both are now polluting my inbox and TV with their bellowing and minority-bashing. They’re never going to go away or be deprived of their soapboxes,” Weigel wrote.

Of Matt Drudge, Weigel remarked, “It’s really a disgrace that an amoral shut-in like Drudge maintains the influence he does on the news cycle while gay-baiting, lying, and flubbing facts to this degree.”

In April, Weigel wrote that the problem with the mainstream media is “this need to give equal/extra time to ‘real American’ views, no matter how fucking moronic, which just so happen to be the views of the conglomerates that run the media and/or buy up ads.”


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.

After Sarah Palin claimed Obama’s health care legislation included “death panels” that would ration health care, for instance, the Huffington Post reported that many Americans believed the claim was true. Weigel suggested that reporting on the subject might be counter-productive to liberal policy aims. The Huffington Post, Weigel pointed out, ran “a picture of Sarah Palin, linking to a poll that suggests 45 percent of Americans believe her death panel lie. But as long as the top liberal-leaning news site talks about it every single hour of every day, I’m sure that number will go down.”

Is Dave Wiegel here to report, or here to decide what reportage best advances the liberal agenda?

Obviously, the latter.

Weigel seems to harbor special contempt for a type of conservative he calls a ratfucker, a favorite phrase of his.

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.

Reached by phone late Thursday and asked about the e-mails, Weigel responded, “my reporting, I think, stands for itself.”

And so it does.

If You Want An Obama-Supporting Consensus-Liberal Covering the Conservative Movement... Might I suggest T. Coddington Van Vorhees VII?

T-Cod wrote an amazing piece yesterday about his newfound doubts that "this Obama fellow is equal to the task."

Summer once again tiptoes in on crepe soles to the eastern extremities of Long Island; affording, as is its wont, fresh opportunities to enjoy the providence of nature and the financial acumen of one's forebears. Despite the looming spectre of global climate change the lawn is verdant and lush, and my gardener Hideo informs me the hibiscuses are in especially fine fettle.

I was just talking about this with a guy yesterday.

This is what I want to know from Iowahawk: What resources does he crib from to do these?

When I say "crib" I don't mean he's plagiarizing; but I mean, what old-timey stuff is he reading to so easily come up with antique expressions like "in fine fettle"?

Because if he's just coming up with that stuff off the top of his head, then I'm really pissed off and jealous.

Ben Smith: Says mostly what I just said, but with some facts in place of speculation.

Like, for example -- Ezra Klein did in fact suggest Wiegel as the conservative movement reporter, despite the fact he's an out-and-proud liberal (with some libertarian tendencies).

The current flap over Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel has its roots in a fact that suprised me when I learned of it earlier this year: The Post appears to have hired Weigel, a liberal blogger, under the false impression that he's a conservative. The new controversy over the revelation that he's liberal is primarily the Post's fault, not his, except to the degree that he allowed the paper's brass to put him in an unsustainable position.


But the Post seems simply not to have understood what they were
getting when Klein suggested they hire him. National editor Kevin
Merida told me for my story on the subject in May that he never asked
Weigel about his politics, and Klein said he presented him to the
paper simply as the best reporter covering conservatives. (Weigel's
blog is subtitled, "Inside the conservative movement.")


One thing nobody argues is that publications should misrepresent and
misidentify their own reporters. The Post set Weigel up for a fall,
and themselves for embarrassment, and that's what they got today.

One of Ben Smith's points is that Wiegel became best known for his snarky, insulting coverage of the fringe/conspiratorial right, and also, pretty much, the mainstream right too. Liberals loved reading this, he says.

But that sort of undermines Smith's assertion that the WaPo didn't know what it was getting in Wiegel.

Offers Resignation: Aw, damn. It's too bad when political spats have a human cost.

Dave Wiegel should write a column for the Washington Post. Just not this column.

More: At Cuffy Meigs, including a relevant Far Side cartoon.

Really, it was his immediate left-wing hackery in the Etheridge case -- demanding, as the wingnuts did, to know "who these 'students' are!" instead of "how dare a Congressmen assault a reporter" -- that represented the slipping of the mask.

We already have a place for that -- it's called the Democratic Underground.

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posted by Ace at 11:40 AM

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