Posted under Media
His recent termination from the Washington Post thanks to the hit done by his fellow Orange Line Mafiosi hasn’t driven Dave Weigel underground as he wrote a recent piece for one of Andrew Breitbart’s online pubs. One juicy tidbit: Apparently Weigel’s departure from Reason as a regular reporter wasn’t so amicable as we were lead to believe:
“After the 2008 election, I drove up from Atlanta to D.C. and was greeted by my editor, Matt Welch, with surprising news. It would be better, he said, if I worked somewhere else. I’d voted for the Obama-Biden ticket (having joked, semi-seriously, that I was honor-bound to vote for a ticket with a fellow Delawarean on it) and wasn’t fully on board with the magazine’s upcoming, wonky focus on picking apart the new administration. “
Again what you have here is the world’s biggest high school (Beltway High) where one faction of the student council, in this case Cosmotarian Cool Kids Club, decides to cast off the geek who follows them around because he won’t join in on their planned attack to undermind the new student body president.
To me Weigel’s problem as a journalist was not that he voted for Obama, it’s that you could never quite figure out from what angle he was coming from and thus were pissed off whenever he wrote something that seemed out of line from what you thought he was. That plus an edge of snarkiness too (I still remember how he trashed a friend of mine for his wardrobe at the Iowa Straw Poll) probably didn’t endear him within his new clique at Beltway High, so they published embarrassing info like one would publish “sexting” pics and got him fired. Did WaPo hire him to cover “conservatives” like one would observe monkeys at the zoo (I’m sure he probably thought so)? Or did they feel he was a “insider” within the movement which could provide information, background, and context to what they were thinking? (which he definitely was not). Because this wasn’t clear, his work wasn’t clear and in some cases incredibly shoddy.
Case in point, the whole Ron Paul “newsletters’ issue. Weigel never dealt with the main question in his article about them, whether Paul himself actually wrote things himself. Instead he delved into the internecine world of libertarian factionalism, no doubt at the request of his bosses at Reason in order to strike at the provo Rockwellians. But if Paul didn’t write them as he has always claimed, then what does it matter who wrote them? As I said before, fault RP for negligence if you wish but if he’s not a racist then don’t insinuate it. Just answer the question yes or no. But he never did, a fact he went back to time and time again, betraying a Cosmotarian fetish to expose racism (Stomfront blogger in Paul’s tent at the Iowa Straw Poll, avowed Nazi gives money to Paul, all unsolicited) and “kookism” (Truthers, Jesse Ventura and John Birch Society at Rally for the Republic, eek!) wherever it showed itself around the campaign.
Oh, then there was his article he wrote about Kentucky’s annual Knob Creek Gun Show for the Washington Independent, which was a course in itself at David Weigel School of Journalism. This school is where a reporter attends an event, finds the craziest people there and interviews them, then portrays whole event as tainted because crazy people just happen to be there. I assume most people went to Knob Creek just to fire off some rounds, not buy Wermacht uniforms or listen to Orly Taitz but apparently Weigel thought this was important to mention. He did virtually the same thing with his article on the Rally for the Republic.
Neither myself nor most people really have a problem with what a reporter’s political views are so long as they are up front about it so the reader can take such information into consideration when reading the reporter’s work. With Weigel it certainly felt like the knife was being stuck into Paul’s back despite the number of favorable articles he wrote about Paul’s candidacy for Reason, far more than any other reporter, when he accused Paul of “pandering to racists” or being “leader of the fringe”. All of this one can read in his email comments on the very people he is supposed to be covering which was why he was canned. His work at Reason foreshadowed what was eventually coming for him.
They teach you at J-school a reporter is supposed to be objective and yet you find out in the real world of journalism there is no such thing. Fact are facts of course but we all have our way of telling the tale. We are human beings not robots spewing out data. Dave Weigel is certainly entitled to his opinions and write what he wishes, but he’s not entitled to being something he isn’t just to get a quote or a news tip.