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A little message to Jeffrey Goldberg's anonymous Post sources

Now that the smoke has cleared from the Dave Weigel mess, here's a response to the anonymous sources inside the Post who used Jeffrey Goldberg's blog to urinate on the type of opinionated journalism that Weigel, Ezra Klein and others (myself included) practice.

The sources told Goldberg that practitioners of this type of journalism are not real reporters:

"This is really about the serial stupidity of allowing these bloggers to trade on the name of the Washington Post."

"It makes me crazy when I see these guys referred to as reporters. They're anything but. And they hurt the newspaper when they claim to be reporters."

The cowardly hiding behind anonymonity is pathetic enough. But let's take on the substance of this. I submit that someone can be a "real" reporter if he or she is accurate on the facts and fairly represents the positions of subjects; if he or she has a decent sense of what's newsworthy and important to readers; and if readers come away from his or her stuff feeling more informed than they were before.

There's simply no reason why caring what happens in politics -- prefering one outcome to another -- should inherently interfere with this mission. By publicly advertising a point of view, bloggers are simply being forthcoming about their filter: They are letting readers in on what guides their editorial choices. This allows readers to pick and choose communities where they can expect discussions about topics that interest them with other, generally like-minded readers.

There's no basis whatsoever for the B.S. charge that revealing a point of view of necessity compromises the integrity of the actual information purveyed. If Ezra isn't a "real" reporter, why did readers of his stuff feel more informed about the ins and outs of the health care debate than after consuming the work of a hundred other journalists? Why did readers feel more informed by Weigel's stuff about the Tea Partiers than they did by hundreds of more "objective" articles about the topic that appeared in scores of "neutral" publications?

If the reporting on these blogs isn't "real," then why do other news orgs consistently follow up on their scoops?

If Ezra isn't a "real" reporter, why was he able to obtain Senate finance committee health proposal before other reporters did? Why was my humble opinionated blog the first to break the news that Bill Clinton had been dispatched by the White House to feel out whether Joe Sestak would be open to alternatives to running for Senate?

Is the problem that these blogs are "partisan"? Nope. While the authors of these blogs are open about preferring one outcome or another in politics, they aren't simply driven by a desire for one party to succeed at all costs. Rather, they are rooting for particular policy outcomes or are, by their own lights, pushing to elevate the discourse. Ezra repeatedly criticized the Dem leadership throughout the health care fight. Weigel sometimes defended Sarah Palin and Tea Partiers when he thought they'd been wronged. This blog regularly whacks Dems when they cravenly sell out their own principles.

Folks at the traditional news orgs, for good reason, think very highly of Ben Smith. So listen to what Smith says: That these two forms "can flourish side by side, each going places the other is unwelcome, and each correcting for the other's weaknesses."

Time for those who are anonymously dissing this form of journalism to just shut the hell up, let us all do our thing, and let the readers decide. If this type of blogging is not "real" reporting, just ignore it and readers will eventually figure out that the traditional approach is the only one that's genuinely informing them. And the new approach will just wither way. Right?

UPDATE, 7:06 p.m.: Much more on this whole dispute right here.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 28, 2010; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  Political media  
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Next: Byrd's legacy: He showed courage on Iraq -- when other Dems punted

Comments

News flash, None of you are real reporters. I thought that was a given, no? What do you report on? Giving the dems latest spin is not reporting.

Posted by: obrier2 | June 28, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Dave Weigel speaks for himself:


Hubris and Humility: David Weigel Comes Clean on Washington Post, the D.C. Bubble, & the ‘Journolist’
Posted by David Weigel Jun 28th 2010 at 3:01 am

http://bigjournalism.com/dweigel/2010/06/28/hubris-and-humility-david-weigel-comes-clean-on-washington-post-the-d-c-bubble-the-journolist/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed:+BigJournalism+(Big+Journalism)&utm_content=Twitter

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 28, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"Time for those who are anonymously dissing this form of journalism to just shut the hell up, let us all do our thing, and let the readers decide."

YES.

Yes x 1,000,000.

And screw anybody who says otherwise.

It's bad enough we have to fight against a party that cares more about its electoral prospects than it does THE WELL-BEING OF THE COUNTRY.

But to have to fight on the semantics of "journalism" at a time when Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh call the shots at the GOP is literally ludicrous.

We're with you every step Greg.

Don't take this garbage sitting down!!!

We are losing our country. We are watching it get destroyed by the GOP on a daily basis. TIME TO GET PISSED OFF. TIME TO STAND UP FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE IS RIGHT.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The myth of some objective journalistic standard has assumed a place in our discourse that does not comport with the facts. There are always good, bad and indifferent work by reporters. Unfortunately in our partisan driven climate the journalists have succumbed to pressures that have more to do with increasing circulation and keeping costs down. So sources and methods have been compromised. The White House Correspondents dinner will tell you all you want to know about the current state of this business. It is all show and glow.

Posted by: bitterpill8 | June 28, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Are these 'traditional journalists' lashing out at the likes of Sargent, Klein, et al. because they feel the sting of blame for the ever eroding old/print media? Are they angry that the highly coveted thinking man reader is abandoning the staid, predictable villager for a fresher voice on the net?

Has the criticism of the 'corporate media's' failure to filter the truth to the masses having an effect? Was Jon Stewart correct that old media is 'hurting America'?

Posted by: bmcchgo | June 28, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

If folks like Sargent, Klein & Weigel did not offer illuminating factual details in their posts I wouldn't read their blogs. There is enough substantive information to make it worth the Post's while to continue hosting these blogs.

The level of bias exhibited (albeit towards a policy outcome and not a party) does set these fellows apart from their colleagues in the A-Section, but who cares?!

They are reporters of a sort... just not the same as folks who scrupulously try to avoid bias of any kind.

Posted by: Hy76 | June 28, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"just not the same as folks who scrupulously try to avoid bias of any kind."

But I would argue that traditional journalism has FAILED for this very reason. Attempts in the traditional media to avoid bias by giving both sides "equal weight" has led to POOR JOURNALISM and slanted stories. It is not opinion that someone can be wrong on the facts, it is NEWS.

When mainstream newspaper journalists refuse to say that the stated opinion of someone is flat-out WRONG ON THE FACTS, then America suffers for lack of knowledge. One example being "Death Panels." There should have been DRAMATIC push-back by the mainstream media against that obvious lie. There was little to none. Coverage mainly centered on the GOP meme, reported as, "But critics say the Dems want to kill old people."

REAL journalism would indicate the factual veracity of those opinions.

We simply do not have real journalism any more in the mainstream media. It just doesn't exist. And, as I suggest, the entire reasoning for that is because the modern state of the old-style "news reporter" is such that the "reporters" don't report the NEWS anymore, just a he-said-she-said soap opera where literally any interpretation on the facts can be supported.

The media is truly disgraceful and damages the country more than any policy.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

Now you have me confused. I thought David Weigel WASN'T doing "opinionated journalism." Now you say he was?

Please at least try to get your story straight!

Posted by: mitchflorida | June 28, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Where did I say that, Mitch? I'm curious. I believe I said he could continue to do opinionated journalism with fairness and integrity.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 28, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The difference between the "real reporters" and people like Ezra, Greg and others, is that "real reporters" talk to sources in DC or, occasionally, NY and report what they say. Because they depend on access, they can't report the results of any fact-checking (lest they embarass a source who fabricates), and so they don't do any fact-checking, and the end result is that they really don't know all that much about the stuff they are supposedly reporting on. And as a result they are mostly interested in horserace and to some extent process, not substance, which makes them seem shallow to people interested in the substance of issues. These are the main reasons why they come under so much criticism, at least from the Left.

Ezra especially and Greg as well provide real value added, because they ANALYZE the results of their own, and other people's, reporting. They set it in a larger context of a problem or set of issues that need attention, and they fact-check and report the results of their fact-checking. That's why they are so much better to read--one learns much more from, for instance, on issues like health care or fin reg or most anything they write about. A lot of the others are stenographers, glorified gossips or hacks.

Posted by: Mimikatz | June 28, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The reason many of us have turned to the new journalism is that it's the only place these days to find any in-depth analysis of policy. Old media have come to focus only on "the horserace" or on being stenographers for Palin's latest Facebook musings.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 28, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you Greg. In fact, Atrios had a typically pithy comment on this about two days ago--that under the guise of objectivity, many "mainstream" journalists simply believe that their own opinions are the facts they are duty bound to report.

I find the anonymous source quoted by Goldberg, like Mike Huckabee's 'ick factor' comment, or some many right-wingers whining about the 'mean' lefties' fact-based criticism, to be obvious examples of projection. They accuse others of non-professionalism or feelings of shame, etc. while they indulge in it.

Posted by: nancycadet | June 28, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Weigel "continu[ing]" to do opinionated journalism at least imply that's what you thought he WAS doing before? Back on topic, I think the reason Weigel isn't a "real" reporter is because he is a blogger.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

YOU indeed defended "the type of opinionated journalism that Weigel ... practice[s]."

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps you are challenging Mitch for a cite re: Weigel NOT doing "opinionated journalism"? That's all that I read this weekend: "On the record, Weigel's reporting was flawless" and "He never let his 'private' opinions intrude ..."

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I have no real quibble with Ezra or Greg Sargent. They are both opinionated liberals, and don't pretend to be otherwise.


David Weigel was masquerading as someone from "Inside the Conservative Movement" when in truth he was just another liberal opining on the conservative movement.

It all boils down to truth in advertising/journalism.

Posted by: mitchflorida | June 28, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Opinion journalism is the best thing to happen to "the news" in a long time...

While I'm not as dismissive of the folks trying to play it straight as some of the other folks commenting -- as long as they don't fall into the "fair and balanced" trap that leads some to give us the equivalent of "Some say the Earth is round. Others disagree. Here to talk about it is a representative of each camp...", I'm ok with those who try to avoid slant and bias in their reporting.

But a more adversarial system, with reporters on "the left" explaining where reporters on "the right" are misstating facts, and libertarians showing up the faults of neocon opinioneers (and vice versa, of course... ...on those few occasions where that's actually possible) is doing more to get to the heart of "the truth" than so-called unbiased reporting ever did.

Anyone who claims not to've known where Weigel stood politically probably shouldn't be reading a paper, let alone writing for or producing one. But he and those like him have contributed much to the public's understanding of the stories they covered and most certainly are reporters. WaPo's loss will be some other media outlet's gain, and the public will continue being served by good solid reporting of both fact and opinion.

Posted by: repsac3 | June 28, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"If Ezra isn't a "real" reporter, why did readers of his stuff feel more informed about the ins and outs of the health care debate than after consuming the work of a hundred other journalists? Why did readers feel more informed by Weigel's stuff about the Tea Partiers than they did by hundreds of more "objective" articles about the topic that appeared in scores of "neutral" publications?"

Never read either much. Daresay missed not one jot or tittle needed to be more than adaquately informed...esp. Weigel on the TeaParty, he didn't get their rank&file at all, concentrated on the outliers, obviously apparent now for all the usual reasons.

Ezra is a human quaalude.

Posted by: tao9 | June 28, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, mitchflorida -- I would argue that his blogging about Rep. Etheridge's "hug" (aka assault and battery_ was completely biased -- the fact that LIBERALS argued that "He never let his 'private' opinions intrude ..." is telling indeed.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

mimi and Ethan, great posts and the points you make are spot on. mimi's comments on analysis and "setting things in a larger context" get to the heart of the matter.

When Weigel took the WaPo gig I expected this might happen in some form, because that medium is inherently restrictive. You can't work for the Emperor when you're pointing out that part of the Emperor's constituency has no clothes. He would be better off working for someone who shares the desire for calling things as honestly and directly as he can. That is his bias is that he's not "in favor of their policies/beliefs" is only threatening to people who are so dogmatic they can't tolerate any dissonance.

That says is all about the WaPo and the Tea Party.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 28, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

YOU indeed defended "the type of opinionated journalism that Weigel ... practice[s]."

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 12:35 PM |

Once again, Jake, your reading comprehension is pathetic.

"Mitchflorida" accused Greg of denying that Dave Weigel's journalism was "opinionated." Greg responded that he didn't say that. Greg also didn't deny defending Weigel's journalism. To the contrary, Greg plainly said that Weigel could continue to do opinionated journalism with fairness and integrity.

In other words, Jake, Greg is saying, "I never denied that Weigel's journalism was opinionated, I simply said it could be opinionated but also be fair and accurate."

Try writing less, and reading more. You need that practice.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | June 28, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"YOU indeed defended "the type of opinionated journalism that Weigel ... practice[s].""

Why are you ignoring the REAL issue, JakeD2?

That mainstream journalists have NO BASIS for attacking so-called 'new media' journalists?

Oh that's right, I forgot, it's because you PREFER fact-free reporting and being left in the dark on the facts so that your conspiracy theories take root in the GOP.

Shame on you, JakeD2, for attempting to deflect away from the real topic of debate.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Two fine posts from Jamison Foser:

Flashback: Did Washington Post reporters jeer Al Gore?

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201006280010

Wash. Post ombudsman favors the Right -- again

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201006280014

=>If there is a single legitimate conservative gripe about the Washington Post that even begins to approach the magnitude of the Post’s shoddy coverage of Clinton, the 2000 campaign, and the Iraq war, I’ve never heard it -- and I’ve never seen a Post reporter, editor, or Ombudsman cite it.<=
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | June 28, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

repsac3:

Ever hear of keeping OpEd pages SEPARATE from reporting of news? There are very good reasons for that.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Blogs are my primary news source now. Clearly there is a stated viewpoint by the blogger but that doesn't change the facts of a story. The example that you use Greg, is illuminating in that you and the other Washington Post bloggers provide the facts and then analyze a situation to help educate your readers. There's nothing wrong with that.
Within the last week,2 stories demonstrate why the traditional media reporting is deficient. First, the failure to pass an extension of Unemployment Insurance, was headlined in many media outlets as "Congress fails to pass UI extension". Technically true but certainly not the whole story the whole story; the vote to approve was overwhelming but because the minority party could block it, they did; yet the message to voters is quite inaccurate. Second, we now have a bevy of traditional media journalists coming forth to say that they never would have reported the story of General McChrystal in the manner that Michael Hastings reported it. While Hastings isn't a blogger, Rolling Stone magazine is probably not considered a traditional media outlet and likely is held in the same esteem as political blogs.
For me anyway, the traditional journalists have made their own cases, they see no problem with reporting half a story or not reporting a story at all. I'll stick with the bloggers.

Posted by: mikemfr | June 28, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010:

Ever hear of keeping OpEd pages SEPARATE from reporting of news? There are very good reasons for that.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"Ezra is a human quaalude."

By that analogy, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and the rest of the fact-free Right Wing are crack dealers.

Or better yet, they are heroin dealers who mix bleach into their product. Just enough to keep you addicted but just one fix closer to death.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

BGinCHI:

You are aware that a LIBERAL most likely leaked the Weigel email from Journolist, right? Each "anomymous" quote above is likely a LIBERAL print reporter too ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"Ever hear of keeping OpEd pages SEPARATE from reporting of news? There are very good reasons for that."

You mean like Fox News does with its "news" reporting?

JakeD2, you are a flagrant hypocrite.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"That says is all about the WaPo and the Tea Party."

BG, precisely right. This whole episode speaks more about WaPo and the TP than it does Dave Weigel or the progressive blogosphere.

Quite clearly, the FACTS don't matter any more. It's the SPIN that counts. And that move away from facts and towards spin is being applauded by the Right.

Here's the headline as I see it:

Fox News viewers demand more spin, less facts from media.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Ever hear of keeping OpEd pages SEPARATE from reporting of news? There are very good reasons for that.

Posted by: JakeD2
-------------

Here's your first clue: Dave Weigel, Ezra Klein and Greg Sargent are all listed on the OPINION PAGE as POST OPINION WRITERS. Sheesh.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 28, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

Amen! I'd additionally include citizen reporters who might not have the resources to offer continuous coverage on many subjects, but can provide a unique and powerful view that media organizations of any size are able to get at.

Secondly...this post is just another example of why I never even considered abondoning this blog because of the Weigel mess.

Keep it up the great work, and thanks!

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 28, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Opinionated journalism" certainly blurs the line between OpEd and NEWS reporting. Note that an OpEd writer can be "accurate on the facts and fairly represent[] the positions of subjects; if he or she has a decent sense of what's newsworthy and important to readers; and if readers come away from his or her stuff feeling more informed than they were before." That does not make every OpEd writer a NEWS reporter now.

Also, this "new approach" is not guaranteed to "just wither way" [SIC] since it could be the last straw to force WaPo into BK. Quite literally, blurring the line between OpEd and NEWS reporting could be what finally pushes the lamestream media off the cliff (thank God, don't get me wrong ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010:

When did I register my approval of Fox News?

suekzoo1:

Not any more ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry Jake, but did Weigel appear in the "news" section on your computer screen? (Or for that matter, does Sargent?)

Trolling is fine, but you might want to bring a little more intellectual heft into your bleatings, seeing as how you're going to all the trouble of pecking these things out...

Posted by: repsac3 | June 28, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Jake, what's the difference? My point is that the WaPo is part of the problem, tied as it is to the status quo (circa 1952) the paper, traditional media outlets, and the Tea Party want to uphold.

If it was a liberal who did the leaking and made those comments, that person's "liberalness" does not extend past their desire to keep hold on their fast-disappearing medium and its lousy record of doing the hard work of reporting.

Again, typically, you see this as a political game between two sides. Liberals and conservatives who are smart, and that ain't many of them when it comes to the latter, recognize that there is something beyond winning parochial arguments about this kind of stuff.

Bottom line: Weigel was exposing what many folks just don't want to face right now in this country. The right in this country is intellectually bankrupt, and is now just a front for corporate interests. The truest expression is the Tea Party: all anger and negativity and no idea about the issues.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 28, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"Ever hear of keeping OpEd pages SEPARATE from reporting of news? There are very good reasons for that."

In your opinion. It's not some sort of law of nature. For those of us who suspect the the "objective" reporting that was the fashion for the last 70 years or so had become something of a fraud, the distinction isn't that genuine or useful.

So Jake, you always have the option to not read news sources that don't lable or separate in the ways you find optimal - why do you seem so determined to deny those of us who like them access?

Posted by: zimbar | June 28, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

repsac3:

No.

BGinCHI:

It "matters" because conservatives were not responsible for this latest dust up at least (you and I agree that the WaPo is part of the problem, but just for different reasons). We'll have to agree to disagree about the right in this country being "intellectually bankrupt". The TEA Party, at the very least, stands for the issue of less taxes.

Don't worry, zimbar: Weigel will be writing again soon enough. If you need a quick fix, try BigGovernment.com

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"When did I register my approval of Fox News?"

Another attempt at changing the subject.

Shallow. And, as I said, flagrantly hypocritical.

"The TEA Party, at the very least, stands for the issue of less taxes."

Sure. They protest taxes after Obama has given us all biggest income tax cut in years.

Again. You are a flagrant hypocrite and the PERFECT example as to why news is dead thanks to mainstream media.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

BTW: I never heard your side complain when Mark Felt provided just the right reporters at WaPo the right info, or even when Daniel Ellsberg gave the NYT the "Pentagon Papers". Or, is a "leak" only good when YOUR side benefits?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

zimbar asked JakeD2:

"why do you seem so determined to deny those of us who like them access?"

Because if news organizations HAD to report facts, the GOP would be out of business permanently.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010:

I can hardly be "flagrantly hypocritical" unless I favor Fox News blurring the line (today's topic, however, is whether the WaPo should). As for taxes, that was just ONE ISSUE (in response to BGinCHI's claim) and they can always be lower ...

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

via Weigel's Response:

"But I was cocky, and I got worse. I treated the list like a dive bar, swaggering in and popping off about what was “really” happening out there, and snarking at conservatives. Why did I want these people to like me so much? Why did I assume that I needed to crack wise and rant about people who, usually for no more than five minutes were getting on my nerves? Because I was stupid and arrogant, and needlessly mean. Yes, I’d trash-talk liberals to Republicans sometimes. And I’d tell them which liberals “mattered,” who was a hack, who was coming after them."

This. This is EXACTLY the reason I cannot stand the DC media. When I watch Chuck Todd, or Morning Joe, or Blitzer, or any of the myriad of empty-headed pundits...this is EXACTLY the type of person they come off as.

I simply can't stand that sort of gossip-laden and arrogant self-importance.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 28, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

P.S. I already provided my answer to zimbar: don't worry; Weigel will be writing again soon enough. If you need a quick fix, try BigGovernment.com

You don't get to answer for me.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Golly E2010 (@12:51), I just meant Ezra puts me to sleep. I know I ain't the only one, too.

Get yourself a knee brace.

Posted by: tao9 | June 28, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"I can hardly be "flagrantly hypocritical" unless I favor Fox News blurring the line"

Okay, let's hear you condemn Fox News across the board for being the fraudulent media organization that it is. Go ahead. I'll be waiting.

"(today's topic, however, is whether the WaPo should)."

Nice try, liar. That isn't the debate and you know it. The WaPo isn't blurring op/ed and regular reporting. As has been said over and over again, these people here are IN THE OPINION SECTION. The main topic of this post is "CAN A JOURNALIST HAVE A PROFESSIONAL OPINION AND REPORT THE FACTS." And obviously, everyone here, except you Right Wing fools, thinks that YES you can have an opinion and report the facts.

Fox News DOESN'T report the facts. It relies on the he-said-she-said model, as we've been discussing, to the degree that they NEVER report honest, fact-based news.

"As for taxes, that was just ONE ISSUE (in response to BGinCHI's claim) and they can always be lower"

I'm glad you agree that the protests now are ENTIRELY political in nature and have NOTHING to do with taxes. Otherwise these same people would have been protesting taxes before January 2009, but they weren't. They are protesting against President Obama.

Once more, your arguments are built on pathetic right wing lies, the kind that REAL JOURNALISTIC REPORTING OF FACTS would reject.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on Robert Byrd's legacy:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/byrds_legacy_he_showed_courage.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 28, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

This whole episode (together with l'affire McChrystal) seems to have pulled a scab off some pretty major security issues on the part of those who fancy themselves "rePAWTAHs."

Posted by: joeff | June 28, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"I just meant Ezra puts me to sleep. I know I ain't the only one, too."

I know... All those facts and all that analysis is SUCH a bore.

Honestly Tao, between you JakeD2, you guys are a perfect illustration of how the Republican Party and its followers are destroying this country because of a disinterest in what is ACTUALLY HAPPENING IN THIS COUNTRY.

Shame on the both of you.
Shame on the Republican Party
Shame on its apologists in the media.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

http://news.google.com/news/more?pz=1&cf=all&ncl=dlR_KxCn6JOlSSMsoXY9fLmgLkYrM&topic=n

Interesting graph (on the right) of the number of different news sources covering the Dave Weigel story, day to day. It peaked at 35 on Friday.

Greg's TPL story has prominent mention, at least at the moment.

Posted by: jzap | June 28, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Well JD2, there is the matter of your principle that "news and opinion should be separate" is operative when the shoe is on the other foot, ie, when another conservative media outlet (can you call wapo liberal with an editorial staff dominated by the likes of Will, Gerson, Thiessen, Krauthammer, Parker, etc. as anything but conservative) regularly and outlandishly takes assertions from their "opinion" or "commentary" side and reports those assertions as "news"? Opinion generation that bleeds into news coverage is exactly what you are criticizing right?

Posted by: srw3 | June 28, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

If only Greg, Weigel, and Ezra could be more fair and balanced, like Fox News, none of this would have ever been an issue.

Posted by: flipyaforeel | June 28, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010 and srw3:

As soon as I see Greg Sargent DEFEND Fox News for blurring that line, I will be sure to comment (consistent with my stated "opinions" above ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

(and flipyaforeel)

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

P.S. neither do I agree that the TEA Party protests are ENTIRELY political in nature and have NOTHING to do with taxes.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"As soon as I see Greg Sargent DEFEND Fox News for blurring that line"

Sorry, but the WaPo is NOT blurring the line.

As we've REPEATEDLY SAID: Weigel, Klein and Sargent ARE IN THE OPINION SECTION!!!

If you can't understand this FACT and major major point of conflict with your "opinion" and continue to compare what the WaPo is doing with Fox News, then you leave me no choice but to assume that you are a freaking idiot.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2: "I can hardly be "flagrantly hypocritical" unless I favor Fox News blurring the line""

Well.

Let's hear you condemn Fox News for blurring the line.

Still waiting..........

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"neither do I agree that the TEA Party protests are ENTIRELY political in nature "

So it's just a HUGE coincidence that the Tea Party is protesting during Obama but NOT Bush?

If you actually think that is the case, you are way dumber than I previously thought.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse


Greg Sargent thinks it's just wonderful that Ezra Klein has such ready access to policymakers in the health care debate. But that access was gained as Klein honed his skills for years as a policy pimp. Who knows what kind of quid pro quos he's been trading with his sources over that time?

That doesn't make him a good reporter, it makes him a corrupt reporter. The Washington Post's reputation in the long run does not benefit from such "reporting".

Posted by: twospiritbear | June 28, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

As if I could get any "dumber" than you already thought I was?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"Who knows what kind of quid pro quos he's been trading with his sources over that time?"

Twospiritbear is FINE with Glenn Beck selling gold in his program, as advertisers on his show, and as spokesman on their website. THAT conflict of interest is okay.

But the fact that WaPo's OP-ED bloggers use FACT-BASED arguments, THAT is "corrupt."

Based on the clear pattern of comments, the Right is totally and thoroughly intellectually bankrupt.

What we are witnessing is a systematic attack, by the Right Wing, on fact-based reporting.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I hereby condemn Fox News if they blur the line between Op Ed and news too. There, are you happy?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

You are a Democrat hack opinion writer. You don't report anything. I'm surprised you would even fancy yourself a reporter. No wonder the newsroom thinks you're a joker. No one is under any illusions that your a journalist.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | June 28, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

So, JakeD2, you've been annihilated by my arguments and now you're trying to prove me right by questioning my grammar? Dumber is a recognized adjective.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dumber

"I hereby condemn Fox News if they blur the line between Op Ed and news too. There, are you happy?"

Yes. I am happy that I forced you to stop posting disingenuous comments. But there is no "if," it is FACT that Fox News editorializes its "news reporting."

Here is a huge list of examples:

http://mediamatters.org/research/200910130047

Okay? So it is a FACT that Fox News blurs the line. Just get that FACT into your little head.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Who is "dumber", me or YOU for responding?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Interesting spin. But it is spin, and pretty kludgy spin at that.

If you're a public policy advocate, you don't look for or consider facts that would not support your viewpoint, or cultivate sources that are not friendly to your point of view.

That makes Ezra Klein's vaunted expertise of limited usefulness in trying to report health care issues. And since the WaPo has been his only job as a journalist in his entire career, he can't possibly have a deep understanding of his ethical responsibilities as a journalist.

Posted by: twospiritbear | June 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

ETHAN!!!

Ezra's not the HCR ne plus ultra for Goodness sake. There are plenty other sources of both sides.

Disinterest my eye. I'll go a round w/ you on HCR, and I think one is all I'd need.

Cut the "Shame" mongering, stow the faux superiority, and take off the "destroying the country" girl pants.

Posted by: tao9 | June 28, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"Who is "dumber", me or YOU for responding?"

You are dumber. Because you are WRONG. And facts are what they are.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"""you don't look for or consider facts that would not support your viewpoint, or cultivate sources that are not friendly to your point of view. That makes Ezra Klein's vaunted expertise of limited usefulness in trying to report health care issues"""

That's utter garbage.

If you're a true policy wonk and journalist or advocate you explore all avenues and appropriately discuss negative aspects as well as positive aspects of policy.

It is only BIASED, unprofessional or ethically-challenged reporters and advocates who suppress evidence.

Obviously, twospiritbear, you don't know the first thing of what you're talking about because Ezra certainly DID discuss positive and negative aspects of HCR in a factual manner. You never read his pieces, and yet you're fine with disparaging his work based on your own false assumptions and partisan talking points. Real nice.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, you will note that I do not resort to name-calling or ad hominem personal attacks.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"Disinterest my eye. I'll go a round w/ you on HCR, and I think one is all I'd need.

Just going on what you gave me. You're bored by Ezra's factual analysis. Leads me to believe that you're just bored by factual analysis period. I've never read anything from you that suggests otherwise.

""Cut the "Shame" mongering, stow the faux superiority, and take off the "destroying the country" girl pants."""

Tao: SHAME ON YOU. SHAME ON REPUBLICANS. SHAME ON REPUBLICAN APOLOGISTS IN THE MEDIA.

You people are bent on destroying President Obama and bent on destroying the Democratic Party with the SOLE INTENT of taking the government over to continue Bush's destructive economic, foreign, and domestic policies. SHAME THE -F- ON YOU.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"Well, you will note that I do not resort to name-calling or ad hominem personal attacks."

Calling you -- a liar -- a liar is not an attempt to deflect from my argument by so-called "name-calling." It is a factual assertion, based on your comments, which proves that my argument is correct.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Nor do I use circular reasoning.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@tsb: you don't look for or consider facts that would not support your viewpoint, or cultivate sources that are not friendly to your point of view.

Well the proof is in the pudding. Ezra consistently criticized HCR's shortcomings and consistently pushed the Wyden-Bennett bill as a better alternative. So clearly he was looking at alternative viewpoints. He looked at the republican proposals, both of which were so vague as to be useless, and he said so. You will have to point to places where Ezra didn't actually consider a viable alternative viewpoint (not a batsh*tcrazy, rightwingnut idea to say go back to the gold standard). There are plenty of examples that show that Ezra has considered alternatives that were not part of the Obama administration line.

As for Greg, I see him reporting more on the political ramifications of policy arguments and not as much on the arguments themselves (although there is enough of that to understand what the arguments are).

Posted by: srw3 | June 28, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

i agree that there is nothing wrong with this type of journalism. as both jon sewart and hastings himself has argued, traditional, self styled 'objective' journalism has been broken a long time.

most -- not all, but most -- of those type of journalists have no qualms about writing puff pieces in order to protect access.

and they have the gall to criticize -- while cowardly demanding anonymity -- sargent, weigel and klein?

they are below being pathetic.

as for the brither trolls who migrated here from weigel's old blog -- ignore them. they are here to threadjack and goad and spread their sily birhter nonsense, not to engage in real debate and discussion.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | June 28, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"Nor do I use circular reasoning."

Nor do you use LOGIC, nor do you use FACTS!

But by all means, continue posting on this topic even though your argument has dissolved into whining and you're not even making an attempt to be substantive any more.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Truthteller12:

Mr. Weigel also insists that he is a "reporter" not just a blogger.

http://bigjournalism.com/dweigel/2010/06/28/hubris-and-humility-david-weigel-comes-clean-on-washington-post-the-d-c-bubble-the-journolist/?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

blahgblogwordpresscom:

Please PLEASE "ignore" me! I dare you.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

ethan,

remember, jake was caught numerous times by other bloggers and myself at right now in flagrant lies about his own commenting history. we quoted numerous comments in which he wrote exactly what he later claimed never to have asserted. even then, he obstinately denied the clear evidence. his birtherism is an indicator of how impervious to facts he is.

it's important to refute him for the record, but don't expect him to ever accept the facts as they are.

he clearly does claim, unabashedly, entitlement to his own facts as well as his own loony opinions.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | June 28, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks blahgblog, I wasn't aware.

I'm done eviscerating his pathetic fact-free comments anyway!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

So much for "ignoring" me (I knew it was too good to be true).

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

FACT #1 David Weigel declined to say where he thought his next move would be, he made it clear that he is in talks to start a new job, that his subject won’t change, and that for him the issue is the leak of his supposedly off-the-record email.

“I am going to continue to do the work I have been doing,” he said. “I am not planning on being as abrasive as I was before. I really think the important thing to note here is that my problems are based on my being kinda bratty in private, but there is somebody [out there] who broke their moral code in this industry.”

FACT #2 Tucker Carlson said about all of this: "I've always liked Dave Weigel and I think he's talented," but that the email messages "struck me as the kind of thing you might like to know if you're reading his stories."

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

jake,

while i did say it's best to ignore you, attempting to turn that into a guarantee to never respond to you is clearly unsupported. but that just demonstrates my claim that you are not here for serious discussion or debate.

i never promised to ignore you. i did however say it's important to refute your birtherism and other nonsense.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | June 28, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Goldberg's report is not accurate. It wouldn't be the first time. Maybe there was no Washington Post reporter. Maybe it was a college intern who let Goldberg put words in his mouth.

If that's true, look what Goldberg accomplished. He changed the conversation from being about intolerant conservatives (like him) to being about old school reporters.

Until Goldberg produces a name, I prefer the simpler explanation.

Posted by: congm | June 28, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

blahgblogwordpresscom:

I never claimed that you "promised" to ignore me -- nor do I "lie" (here or on any other thread) -- I only PRAYED and DARED you would:

"Please PLEASE "ignore" me! I dare you."

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 3:06 PM

Alas, my prayers were answered.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

congm:

Isn't the "simpler" explanation (at least in terms of Ockham's razor) that actual WaPo reporters -- as opposed to FORMER WaPo bloggers -- in fact said the following to Mr. Goldberg:

"This is really about the serial stupidity of allowing these bloggers to trade on the name of the Washington Post."

and

"It makes me crazy when I see these guys referred to as reporters. They're anything but. And they hurt the newspaper when they claim to be reporters."

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

here jake again demonstrates not only his abject denial of being caught by other commenters and me flagrantly, and poorly, lying, but also the futility of engaging him in a serious and intellectual manner.

though he claims to be retired, he cannot seem to rise above juvenile pedantic sophistry.

so again, it's important to refute his birtherism and other lies and conspiracy theories, but never expect him to engage in serious debate or discussion.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | June 28, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

No doubt, some like Sargent, Klein, and Ross Douthat (over at NYT blog) still think that "FishBowlDC and The Daily Caller had no business publishing private e-mail correspondence, and [they are] morally certain that worse things were said on JournoList by reporters and writers much more high-profile than Weigel, who still have their jobs today."

Where's THAT story?!

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

And Some of those calling themselves "Real" Journalists - were the same politically-motivated partisan idiots that screamed in their writings about Imminent WMD in Iraq - and Must Attack Now.

Weigel was popular in his reporting with a more subjective view of the Conservs and Tea Partiers.

And those established "Conservo" people reporting were jealous of that popularity - and the fact that they must all conform to the Fox-like "Conservo" rules of that reporting of nothing.

Wash Post is the biggest loser in this - not surprised while those like Broder and Fred Hiatt are still in charge.

Posted by: fair001 | June 28, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. Is the blogger suggesting that anonymous sources aren't kosher when such sources are being used against bloggers? Seriously, is Sargent suggesting thzt anonymous sources and journalism are somehow incompatible? Really?

Posted by: bslev22 | June 28, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I am the ONLY ONE to note that an OpEd writer can be "accurate on the facts and fairly represent[] the positions of subjects; if he or she has a decent sense of what's newsworthy and important to readers; and if readers come away from his or her stuff feeling more informed than they were before." THAT is the thread topic. Also, this "new approach" is not guaranteed to "just wither way" [SIC] since it could be the last straw to force WaPo into BK. Quite literally, blurring the line between OpEd and NEWS reporting could be what finally pushes the lamestream media off the cliff.

If anyone else wants to "debate" those points in a civil manner, please let me know.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"This is really about the serial stupidity of allowing these bloggers to trade on the name of the Washington Post."

yes, it would be a shame to let some "bloggers" tarnish the good name of the paper that regularly publishes stuff from half-wit neo-con war-mongers like Krauthammer and Kagan and Deihl.

Posted by: smallest | June 28, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

jake,

i know don't like it, but pointing out your history of documented lying, abject denialism as well as your birtherism and general fringe beliefs is relevant to the discourse -- it clearly goes to your ethos.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | June 28, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Are you trying to say that I don't like it?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

again, jake demonstrates the pedantic level of discussion he wishes to engage in.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | June 28, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

On the contrary, I very much like it when someone resorts to ad hominem personal attacks. Even a "birther" -- with a history of documented lying and abject denialism -- can be right about Greg, Ezra and Dave not being "real" reporters. Hence, why your attack is a logical fallacy to said argument. I win by default (not very satisfying, but still a "win").

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"with a history of documented lying and abject denialism"

At least you admit that you are a serial liar and, thus, have no credibility.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

LOL!!! What part of "nor do I 'lie' (here or on any other thread)" are you having trouble understanding?!

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

E,

Ever read this:

Office of the Actuary
DATE: April 22, 2010
FROM: Richard S. Foster Chief Actuary
SUBJECT: Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Amended

Posted by: tao9 | June 28, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Here's the link:

http://www.cms.gov/ActuarialStudies/Downloads/PPACA_2010-04-22.pdf

Ezra's a Journolist filter for partisans that can't or won't bother with primary sources.

And he's a WAPO prophet!

Posted by: tao9 | June 28, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

A reporter is someone who finds a fact and makes it known. Provided the fact agrees with objective reality, and it wasn't widely known, it doesn't matter HOW ideological the reporter is.

The Problem the right had with Weigel, and has with the Washington Post more generally, is that he, and it, provide a forum for such facts to be reported and discussed. Hence so many bloggers whose submissions are totally non germane to the thread, are totally bogus attacks on the thread, or are massive unreadable eructions of bile and spite. And of course there are the posters who must waste as much vertical space on a column as physically possible.

They want to drive the posters who try to have reasonable discussions, or point out bits of objective reality that might not be being considered in the thread off the threads and out of the public arenas.

The e-verse theory that all the garbage somehow makes the internet a freer and more creative place is just a marketing strategy for [people who want to make money and don't care what damage they do to the e-ecology in the process. And if they do to the internet what the jammers did to CB Radio, well they just don't see why they are responsible for destroying the market place of ideas.

Better and more rigid editing of blogs by their owners is a start. Finding a way to have those of us who value the blogs pay for the access to the blogs would help, because the trolls would have to keep buying new personas when their old persona was barred without refund of the persona's access fees. Where the Newspaper is available in print as soon as it can be put in print, requiring a local subscriptionto the paper with an additionaltracable subscription to the e-pages would give the newspapers more editorial control, and also a new source of revenue. Having the paper available in print so one could peruse all the articles to decide where one wants to comment would be quite convenient to an awful lot of people, and the papers might also make money off abandoned print papers by having a pay as you post feature for people who don't subscribe to the paper and comment service. You read something in Wendy's and it gets you all worked up, you log on to the per post section, pay your trifle to post your two cents worth, (and maybe the post would normally cost two cents)and post your piece.

But to demand that a Reporter is only a Reporter if you perceive him as unbiased by your standards is flatly nonsense.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 28, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I would not mind paying $0.02, but who gets to decide which "troll" gets banned without any refund?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Isn't "opinionated journalism" kind of a logical contradiction? I've always understood (or thought I did) that:

objective : journalism :: opinionated : editorializing

Perhaps I define the term too narrowly, but I'm certain regardless that others define it much too broadly.

Posted by: CalD | June 28, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"Isn't "opinionated journalism" kind of a logical contradiction? I've always understood (or thought I did) that: objective : journalism :: opinionated : editorializing Perhaps I define the term too narrowly, but I'm certain regardless that others define it much too broadly. Posted by: CalD"

Well, let's examine some famous Journalists and see:

Joe Pulitzer, William Lloyd Garrison, Horace Greeley, William Randolph (you provide the words, I provide the war) Hearst.

Tell me which of them ever feigned objectivity.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 28, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

"SUBJECT: Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Amended"

Tao,

What does that have to do with the cost of bread?

Are you trying to suggest something by posting that?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Ezra NAILS IT:

What I can do is explain why I think what I think about the policies Republicans offer, the policies the Democrats offer, and which will do more good for people out in the real world. People can disagree with these judgments, of course. But trying to figure out how legislation will affect people and then arguing in favor of the policies likely to have a positive impact is not, I imagine, a type of partisanship most people would find very alien. To say you're a partisan of good things rather than bad things isn't to say you're much of a partisan at all. And to explain why you think some things are good and some things are bad, well, that's just being transparent. And journalists are supposed to like transparency.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/06/partisanship_and_policy.html

Great article, well worth a read as a companion to Greg's.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Ethan,

It's the freakin' report from the President's own HHS Chief Actuary for Medicare & Medicaid.

It's kind of relevant to HCR, dontcha think?

It also doesn't quite slide up to the PatientParadise that Ezra's been hacking up for months.

& Obviously you haven't a clue what it is, so cut the "...bored by {effin' Ezra's effin' deep} factual analysis" crap. I don't need the presumptuous, dishonest, partisan tyro to Grok HCR.

Cheers!

Posted by: tao9 | June 28, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@JakeD2 : Without attribution for his nasty quotes, Goldberg is just a second rate gossip columnist. It is the ultimate irony that he is whining about how bloggers don't have journalistic chops when he extols and exemplifies the ultimate hackery of publishing negative unattributed quotes.

What kind of journalist allows sources to hide from accountability by quoting them anonymously? Is there any good reason why those "reporters" from wapo should be allowed to trash others with no way to evaluate the "reporters'" credibility? Their whining sounds more like they are jealous of Ezra and Greg's popularity on the wapo site, while they toil in trenches of "real" journalism. If they won't come forward and say those things on the record, they should just be ignored.

Posted by: srw3 | June 28, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

"""It's the freakin' report from the President's own HHS Chief Actuary for Medicare & Medicaid."""

Yeah, I see that.

"""It also doesn't quite slide up to the PatientParadise that Ezra's been hacking up for months."""

Um, yeah, whatever. If you can't make a specific fact-based argument then please don't waste my time.

"Obviously you haven't a clue what it is, so cut the "...bored by {effin' Ezra's effin' deep} factual analysis" crap. I don't need the presumptuous, dishonest, partisan tyro to Grok HCR."

Try a combination of the English language + Facts. Great combination when trying to make a case. Paranoid conspiracy hyperventilation, not so much.

I am still under the impression that you "don't do" factual analysis.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 28, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

srw3:

You only liked "publishing negative unattributed quotes" when the targets were GWB or Cheney?

CalD:

Keep in mind that Pulitzer, Garrison, Greeley, and William Randolph Hearst were publishers foremost (so, of course, they published their opinions) unless Greg and Ezra are arguing for the return of provably FALSE yellow journalism again. If Ezra was REALLY "supposed to like transparency" then he would have opened Journolist for all to see rather than deleting it.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

One person whose role in the Weigel affair was of particular interest to me was Tucker Carlson, the editor of the Daily Caller and not a guy given either to media criticism or to calling for people to be fired over a few harsh words.

Carlson told me that he printed the story because "it was interesting."

"I’ve written all kinds of things in private emails I would be horrified to see in print," he said. Of course, it’s not clear to me that a group of 400 people is very private."

Carlson also said he'd talked to Weigel about hiring him before last week's stories.

"I like Dave Weigel and I think he's very talented," he said. "I don't think he'd be interested in working here."

Carlson said that he didn't think the Post should have fired Weigel. "I've been fired enough not to ever root for anyone's firing," he said.

He blamed the paper, and the media establishment generally.

"The Post never made it clear what role Weigel was supposed to be occupying," he said "It’s just a very confusing set-up to me as an onlooker. How is the online Washington Post different from the print edition? And these bloggers -- some of them are called reporters but they’re expressing their opinions? I’m not saying its illegitimate, but it’s certainly confusing."

"The anger I feel is real isn’t directed against Dave Weigel or the Washington Post," he said, calling the private listserv on which Weigel wrote his emails "uncomfortably close to activism."

"It’s against the general collusion between the press and the Obama administration," Carlson said. On Journolist, "you’ve got conventional news reporters participating on a site whose focus is to help the administration," he said.

(I disagree with Carlson here, and told him: There's no reason reporters, when allowed, shouldn't politely listen in on conversations among partisans of either side, and I do whenever I can. And Journolist, as Jonathan Chait writes, was more of a "chat group" than some kind of central command.)

One thing Carlson wouldn't let on: Whether he and his reporter, Jonathan Strong, had just been leaked Weigel emails, or had access to the entire Journolist archive, which list creator Ezra Klein deleted in the wake of the flap.

FishbowlDC's Betsy Rothstein confirms that she only had the Weigel emails; it's unclear whether the Caller had access to everything written on the list, which Carlson had sought to join before Strong's piece appeared.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0610/Carlson_on_Weigel.html?showall

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"{A}nother provision that would tend to moderate health care cost growth rates is the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health insurance coverage (section 9001), which is described in more detail in the section of this memorandum on national health expenditures. In reaction to the tax, which would take effect in 2018, many employers would reduce the scope of their health benefits. The resulting reductions in covered services and/or increases in employee cost-sharing requirements would induce workers to use fewer services. Because plan benefit values will generally increase faster than the threshold amounts for defining high-cost plans (which, after
2019, are indexed by the CPI), additional plans would become subject to the excise tax over time, prompting many of those employers to scale back coverage. This continuing cycle would have a moderate impact on the overall growth of expenditures for employer-sponsored insurance. It should be noted, however, that an estimated 12 percent of insured workers in 2019 would be in employer plans with benefit values in excess of the thresholds (before changes to reduce benefits) and that this percentage would increase rapidly thereafter. The effect of the excise tax on reducing health care cost growth would depend on its ongoing application to an expanding share of employer plans and on an increasing scope of benefit reductions for affected plans. Since this provision is characterized as affecting high-cost employer plans, its broader and deeper impact could become an issue."

L'il Ezra aka Ethan:

E-mail your WAPO/Sensei and ask him what "broader and deeper impact could become an issue" means.

Here's a hint: get out your wallet... (actually probably not your wallet as to it's likely condition).

Posted by: tao9 | June 28, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

LOL

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

There is no such thing as objectivity. I prefer to know the reporter's baseline and judge from there. I agree 100%, Greg!

Posted by: gophypocrisy | June 28, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Nicely said.

Posted by: mcaicedo | June 28, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

All, come check out our Happy Hour Roundup:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/happy_hour_roundup_38.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 28, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Damn! Goldberg just capitulated:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/06/greg-sargent-on-the-divide-between-reporters-and-bloggers/58862/

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, sweet christ.

Now that Weigel's gone, JackassD2 is going to inflict himself on the Plum Line community?

Here's what we have to look forward to, folks: endless ranting about birth certificates, liberally peppered with claims about how Mr. Densa is an attorney who graduated from Stanford.

You know, that prestigious school where they teach law students that the rantings of anonymous unhinged sources on the internet have more validity than certified documents issued by state governments.

He'll be here daily, spamming the comments threads the way he has with this one. Enjoy.

Posted by: JennOfArk | June 28, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

To the leakers who think they're real reporters, they're the reason Nelson had it right, "Haw Haw, your media's dying."

Posted by: DrSquid | June 28, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

DrSquid:

Did you think that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein weren't "real reporters" for relying on leaks from Mark Felt?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 28, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2:

"Ever hear of keeping OpEd pages SEPARATE from reporting of news? There are very good reasons for that."

I'm sure that will work about as well as keeping the business side of news separate from reporting.

"BTW: I never heard your side complain when Mark Felt provided just the right reporters at WaPo the right info, or even when Daniel Ellsberg gave the NYT the "Pentagon Papers". Or, is a "leak" only good when YOUR side benefits?"

Actually the leak isn't really an issue (well, it's a personal ethical issue amongst the people on Journolist in that somebody violated their agreement but in a strictly journalistic sense, leaks are an accepted part of the game).

The real issue is about the Washington Post's management and their cowardly decision to cave to right wing howling over something that while it might be personally unattractive (making a nasty suggestion about Drudge) is not a violation of journalistic ethics. Reporters says all kinds of nasty stuff about people they cover all the time in their personal lives and unless they do it in a column or some other journalistic forum, there is no need to fire them. If you are trying to say this proves that he's not objective, well, I would say that your definition of objectivity is bogus and that by that definition no human being is objective.

If you want to see this as an issue of sides, it's less about liberals v. conservatives than about management weenies who want to appease unappeasable wingnuts v. reporters who actually want to uphold real journalistic standards, not bogus ones.

Posted by: seldomused | June 29, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

There is a further corrosive eating at contemporary journalism in that the important convention to be "fair, balanced and objective" in an age of polarized partisanship and well-financed propaganda -- where balkanized media permit parties to distort the truth or lie outright without fear of discovery or consequence -- too often requires that reporters treat as credible sources the partisan hacks who don't deserve it because they don't respect the repoter's audience enough to play fair with the truth.

And I am thinking, in particular, of the groveling deference paid to a buffoonish figure like Newt Gingrich who appears regularly on the Sunday morning shows spewing nonsense about "secular, socialists machines" and warning darkly that the Obama administration is an existential threat on par with the Nazis.

If the "mainstream," "objective" media lack the standards and resources to make judgments that would relegate a deranged demagogue like Gingrich to the political fringe, then by all means let's cheer on the new class of "opinionated" journalists like Greg, and Dave and Rachel Maddow who can call out Gingrich for the threat to our "deliberative democracy" that he is, and think it is OK -- indeed, essential -- in a climate where the manufacturing of alternative realities goes on everyday, for reporters to take a point of view, to give us their best judgment -- provided they do it intelligently, with honesty and integrity, based on documented facts and the public record, and foreswear the rhetorical sleights of hand and emotional manipulations over vague abstractions like "freedom," "liberty" "war on terror" and "support the troops" that are used elsewhere in the media in order to bend the public to its agenda.

Posted by: TedFrier | June 29, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"If Ezra isn't a "real" reporter, why did readers of his stuff feel more informed about the ins and outs of the health care debate than after consuming the work of a hundred other journalists? "

Omg. Are you really so stupid?? They felt "more informed" because his liberal bias confirmed their own thoughts.

He's no healthcare expert, or even a neutral economist. He was a liberal pushing his preferred result in the healthcare debacle.

He, like Weigel, thinks he "won" when it passed.

Uninformed readers, unlike the majority of the American public might like Klein's coverage because they haven't figured out yet what a bill of goods they've been sold.

Give Klein time, and then see how his preferred positions turn out for the nation. They come to me and tell me there's no need for unbiased journalism -- where if you can't check your opionions and preferred outcomes at the door, please don't call yourself a "real" reporter.

An entertaining policy pusher, perhaps. But the vulgarities in the news realm turned a lot of us off to that kind of news coverage.

And don't get me started on Mr. Klein's continually linking to his girlfriend/expert as a credible source either. Real reporters know better than that, and develop other sources than their bedfellows.

Posted by: Mary42 | June 29, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

"If Ezra isn't a "real" reporter, why was he able to obtain Senate finance committee health proposal before other reporters did? Why was my humble opinionated blog the first to break the news that Bill Clinton had been dispatched by the White House to feel out whether Joe Sestak would be open to alternatives to running for Senate?"

That puts you in the mold of Judith Miller. You can decide if your sources allowed you to break that story because you would put their spin on it for them or because you would run with it uncritically. It's your call.

But it does not give you legitimacy. You're an opinion writer masquerading as a journalist. It's not the 'opinion writer' part of that sentence that is troubling - it's the 'masquerading' part.

You can wear your opinion hat or your journalist hat whenever you deem fit, but you look foolish if you're wearing them both at the same time.

Posted by: ryan_mn | July 4, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

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