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On David Weigel's resignation

A number of readers have asked me for my reaction to the resignation of Dave Weigel, who until today was the author of the blog Right Now, which covered the conservative movement for The Post. And since the liberal blogosphere, which is one of the subjects of my blog, is strongly criticizing the Post over this, I thought I should say something.

To me, the core question is this: Did The Post ask or pressure Weigel to resign?

If so, it would mean the paper was caving to conservative pressure to remove him, for offenses that are arguably less serious than ones committed by other media figures who continue to enjoy employment throughout the industry. For those who haven't followed the controversy, Weigel was caught disparaging prominent members of the movement he covers in private e-mails.

Here's the comment that Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti is giving to me and other reporters: "Dave offered his resignation and we accepted it."

I have no reason to believe that Weigel didn't offer his resignation of his own accord. I saw him last night and got no indication he was being pressured to leave in any way.

Yes, The Post accepted his resignation, so in this sense he was let go. I would have preferred that he stayed. But my sense is that this decision was initiated by him and him alone. If I thought or knew otherwise, I'd say so. You may not believe me because I work here; if so, well, so be it. And if it's proven otherwise, I'll gladly admit I was wrong.

To be clear, I think it was dumb on his part to pop off in those e-mails, if only because it risked giving the right ammo against him. But I don't believe what he did justifies the right's calls for his firing. And those of you who know me should know that I believe that it's possible to have opinions and to care about what happens in politics -- to prefer one outcome to another -- while still doing journalism with integrity.

So this isn't about whether Weigel could have continued to be fair, accurate and professional. I have no doubt that he could have.

But if he thinks that his relationship to the movement has become so tainted that he'd have a tough time with sources, if he believes he's become the story to a fault, and if he thinks he could cover other political beats more effectively, then he did the right thing in giving up the blog. And I believe this is what happened.

Weigel is a talented reporter and a great blogger, and won't have trouble flourishing in this profession. His departure also shouldn't preclude The Post from hiring someone who covers the conservative movement every bit as aggressively as he does, which I hope The Post will do.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 25, 2010; 4:04 PM ET
Categories:  Political media  
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Comments

I'm not so sure that what Dave said even in private emails wasn't true. Actually, he was spot on. That said it's interesting how thin skinned the waco right wing media is when it comes to the truth. I thought this was the "Free Speech, Constitution crowd"? There nothing but a bunch of pathetic hypocrites! As Les Payne of Newsday used to say, "Tell The Truth and Duck". Indeed!

Posted by: roxsteady | June 25, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I see here that you are trying to thread the needle between Weigel and your boss. By indulging the fantasy that it is wrong for Weigel to pop off IN PRIVATE or encouraging him to LEAVE the beat (what?), I am afraid you are leaning in a direction I can't approve of.

I will still have to think of what to do with Ezra's blog but that post has made easier my decision to boycott the WP.

Posted by: nhuixnhuix | June 25, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

nhuixnhuix

did you miss the lines where I said he could have continued reporting fairly, and that I wanted him to stay?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 25, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

If every journalist who wrote or said a disparaging thing about another journalist or public figure, there would be no more journalists.

Why is it OK for conservatives to make all sorts of totally false and malicious statements about Obama, Maddow, etc. with no repercussions?

Posted by: srw3 | June 25, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I liked Ben Smith's writeup:

"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."

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0610/Weigel_and_the_Post.html

Posted by: sbj3 | June 25, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

First let's see you and Ezra cover the progressive movement "aggressively". That's a laugh.

You aren't fooling anyone except yourself.

Dave Weigel, good riddance to bad trash!

Posted by: mitchflorida | June 25, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

He really had no choice but to quit. Just as a matter of self respect. How could he not be so embarrassed and ashamed of himself that he had to quit? He would have no credibility on anything he covered. It would be different if he was an openly liberal blogger but he had sort of a pretense of reporting. I'm sure if he hadn't quit the Post would have fired him within a day anyway.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | June 25, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sure if he hadn't quit the Post would have fired him within a day anyway."

Fired him within a day? How about within a minute?

Posted by: mitchflorida | June 25, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Compared to the deranged rantings of the rightwing blogosphere, with their coordinated distortions and other sordid weapons of mass distraction, Weigel was a pussycat.

"it would mean the paper was caving to conservative pressure to remove him". That's exactly what the WP did. The Right wing accuses the MSM of bias to protect their own extreme bias from attack. If the corporate right didn't own the 'means of production', they would be laughed at and ignored.

Posted by: thebobbob | June 25, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

Part of your job is to observe the leftwing blogosphere and report on it. What makes you good is that, among other things, you came from the leftwing blogosphere. What probably makes you great, in the minds of some of your readers, is that you enjoy perusing the leftwing blogosphere. Heck, I bet you do it off hours!

Does anybody reasonably think that Dave was from the rightwing blogosphere, let alone enjoyed perusing it? Dave may be an exceptional guy but it was patently idiotic to expect anything like objective reporting from a guy whose only view of the right is from the outside in, and who obviously took no "pleasure" in perusing it's writing output.

Did anybody ask you what you thought about the hiring of Dave and if so, what was your response?

Now, this is all moot if the point of Dave was to highlight what the WaPpo Ed staff thought their readers would find amusing about those zoo creatures known as "conservatives". The "real, good Americans" that the wingnut Rep. Kanjorski refers to.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | June 25, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I've never seen so many morons here on the plumline. Go back to faux new's website where they welcome ignorance and stupidity. Ezra has already stated his intention to remove himself from listserve as well.

Posted by: roxsteady | June 25, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the post, Greg. This episode is a disturbing precedent. Will the Post now allow only followers of a particular political group to report on that group? Are private comments now how we evaluate journalists? The Post appears less interested in quality reporting than it does in political correctness from the reporters. But hey, maybe Sally Quinn can fill the gap left by Weigel's departure with more stories about family weddings or Robin Givhan can provide us with analysis of Palin's cleavage or David Broder could tell us about how Bush is making a comeback gain or Mark Thiessen write the BS he's been writing. The Post is a joke at this point, and you're about the only one left worth reading at this point, and my respect for you just barely outweighs my reluctance to giving the Post pageviews.

Posted by: CTVoter | June 25, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the Post will hire a bonafide conservative who will lovingly wet kiss the wacko right on a daily basis.

Posted by: lcrider1 | June 25, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Dude,

"Wow! I've never seen so many morons here on the plumline. Go back to faux new's website where they welcome ignorance and stupidity. Ezra has already stated his intention to remove himself from listserve as well."

Posted by: roxsteady | June 25, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Haven't you heard? Murdoch's now an Open Borders shill with Bloomberg. We got nowhere else to go.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | June 25, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, CT, appreciate it. Please stick around.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 25, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I concur:

"I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the Post will hire a bonafide conservative who will lovingly wet kiss the wacko right on a daily basis."

Posted by: lcrider1 | June 25, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised any leftwing blogger can sit down with all the a**chewing that goes on here!

Takeoff you wingnut freaks! Pretend you don't see us watching from the rails of your enclosure!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | June 25, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "I believe that it's possible to have opinions and to care about what happens in politics -- to prefer one outcome to another -- while still doing journalism with integrity."

Would you have an issue if The Post hired a conservative to write about the conservative movement in this manner?

Do you feel there are any on the right who can do what you try to do?

Posted by: sbj3 | June 25, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I've been waiting for your reaction. Smart, sane and respectful. Maybe journalists trash each other like Weigel did all the time (not you, Greg), but his comments came off as sophomoric and hateful, and his naievete at sending them out by email is astonishing.

Good luck to him, though, I enjoyed reading him here. I hope, too, that the Post hires a Sargent of the right. But not a Lush butt kisser. Oops, gonna leave that typo, I mean Rush.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | June 25, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The right and right wing media is full of honesty:

KYL STARTS WALKING BACK BOGUS CLAIM.... There was an odd dust-up earlier this week, with Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) alleging that President Obama had told him, privately and directly, that the White House would ignore border security unless it was part of a comprehensive immigration reform package.

In a video that made the rounds, Kyl said a town-hall meeting, "Here's what the president said. 'The problem is,' he said, 'If we secure the border, then you all won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.' In other words, they're holding it hostage."

The White House responded fairly quickly, coming awfully close to calling Kyl a liar, but the far-right senator stood by his remarks.

Every aspect of the senator's story seemed literally unbelievable, but conservatives ran with it, probably because Kyl told them a tale they wanted to believe.

Today, the far-right Arizonan decided to shamelessly walk back clarify the claims that never really made sense anyway.

Kyl tells us that the comments were "taken a bit out of context," and that the "they" he was referring to was the Left, "the president's base," and not the administration. "I did not try to start a fight...."


As Matt Finkelstein noted, "That's a far cry from Kyl's original claim, which pretty clearly implicates Obama." Quite right.

So, here's the question for Fox News and other conservative media outlets that heavily pushed Kyl's original story: will you be equally diligent in letting the public know about his revised version of the events?

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_06/024448.php

Posted by: cmccauley60 | June 25, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Nice comments Greg.

I agree with you, as well as CT.

If anyone can prove that Dave's public writings were in any way inaccurate, that would be one thing, but his reporting was thoroughly professional.

Unfortunately this is just another episode where the Right's ONLY concern is emotion and reactionism rather than facts. But we're used to that by now.

Dave, if you're reading, I'm looking forward to where you wind up. I hope you continue to cover the Tea Party/RW fringe beat as I think you were doing an EXCELLENT job and the import of your writings was growing by the day. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 25, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks much, Kathleen, I really appreciate that.

And you too, CTVoter. I sincerely hope you stick around.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 25, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

BTW Greg, I'll stick around but ONLY to read you and Ezra. I'm pretty annoyed at the Post right now.

Posted by: lcrider1 | June 25, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

And thx to you too, Ethan...I'll make sure Dave sees that.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 25, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Greg, thanks for posting your take on this. I enjoyed reading Dave Weigel, but I don't understand why the right had their panties twisted about him. Do we really require liberals to cover liberals and conservatives to cover conservatives? If no one can't step over the "boundaries," what's the point? Frankly, there should be no requirement that a writer be on the same page ideologically with who they are covering.

It's particularly sad that someone broke a pledge of confidentiality and shared private email. Pathetic.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 25, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

"...I believe this is what happened."

I do hope that is the case and as you said, there's no apparent evidence to the contrary. Should evidence surface...I do hope you'll comment on it.

However, I would like to point out that other prominent bloggers on WaPo have said pretty stupid things, not just in private emails but in public forums. In a lot of those occurances, WaPo has quickly come to the defense of their columnist.

Do you feel that this situation was different somehow? If so, how? If not, why do you think WaPo did not see fit to defend their blogger the same way they do with the likes of Krauthammer & Kristol, despite their many, many factual mistakes and disparaging commentary?

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 25, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

sue -- agreed. the product is all that should matter, right?

BBQ -- I think the difference is in this case he extended a resignation.

and thanks lcrider1, appreciate that

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 25, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

From Ezra - who didn't already know that Tucker Carlson is a real jerk:

What I didn't expect was that a member of the list, or someone given access by a member of the list, would trawl through the archives to assemble a dossier of quotes from one particular member and then release them to an interested media outlet to embarrass him. But that's what happened to David Weigel. Private e-mails were twisted into a public story.

A private e-mail list is not public, but it is electronically archived text, and it is protected only by a password field and the good will of the members. It's easy to talk as if it's private without considering the possibility, unlikely as it is, that it will one day become public, and that some ambitious gossip reporters will dig through it for an exposure story. And because that possibility doesn't feel fully real, people still talk like it's private and then get burned if it goes public.

It was ironic, in a way, that it would be the Daily Caller that published e-mails from Journolist. A few weeks ago, its editor, Tucker Carlson, asked if he could join the list. After asking other members, I said no, that the rules had worked so far to protect people, and the members weren't comfortable changing them. He tried to change my mind, and I offered, instead, to partner with Carlson to start a bipartisan list serv. That didn't interest him.

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

Posted by: cmccauley60 | June 25, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I want to believe you, Greg, but I have a very hard time believing that Dave went willingly. If so, so be it.

The problem is that what happened to him was a violation of both ethics and privacy, two things that anyone who has an opinion that opposes the of the teabaggers are not entitled to.

I enjoy your blog and Ezra's, and will continue to check in on a daily basis. However, I look forward to the day when you both are able to secure employment somewhere that the owners/executives have the courage to stand up to the right wing hate mongers - if such a place even exists anymore.

Posted by: donovong | June 25, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"And those of you who know me should know that I believe that it's possible to have opinions and to care about what happens in politics -- to prefer one outcome to another -- while still doing journalism with integrity".

Reporting facts, although with personal opinions on a story, is journalism. Being a blogger or a columnist implies a point of view and that is not journalism but simply writing your thoughts. If Dave was a reporter he should have been fired. If he was a columnist then WP must stand by his opinions in a column using accepted language, of on personal E mails no matter what language he used.

Posted by: worldweary2 | June 25, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

I should note that the questions at the end of my comment aren't me fishing for you to bash WaPo. I really am just seeking your opinion. Re-reading it, I could see how it might look like that, so I'm sorry if that's the impression those questions give.

@lcrider1

I like ready Ezra occasionally, but I should note that Journolist is a terrible, terrible thing...and Ezra created it.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 25, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Just curious Greg; were you a member of the now defunct leftwing cabal known as Journolist?

Posted by: daveredhat | June 25, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I've been following Dave Weigel for almost a year now, and will miss him. I thought he did a fine job.

Posted by: Ellid | June 25, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I appreciate your take on this. I read your (and used to read Dave Weigel's) blog daily. I always admired Dave's bravery in tackling the subject of his blog and covering the movement/GOP with thoughtful, unbiased, fact-based reporting. I guess that was just too professional! I see some commenters calling him a "liberal" or a "lefty"--frankly whatever his personal affliations might be, they didn't manifest themselves in his "Right Now" blog. I look forward to reading his work in his next gig, and feel sorry for the bullshit he's had to endure!

Posted by: nancycadet | June 25, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

BBQ -- I totally understand. You raised fair questions. As best as I can determine, Weigel initiated his departure for the reasons stated in the post. And then (as I wrote) the brass agreed.

And daveredhat: Yes, I was, temporarily, some time ago.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 25, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Greg, but the Post is in the wrong here. What Dave says in private is his business and if the Post is going to start firing (or accepting resignations) due to employee's private thoughts, they deserve the dreck they'll have left. You know, people like Gerson, Theissen, Kristol. Don't believe me? Turn over to Jeffrey Goldburg's blog and have a look at what some of your "colleagues" are saying. The Post is committing suicide by caring more about appearances than substance. To hell with his private thoughts, Dave's writing is objective and factual. Since that doesn't matter to the Post, why the hell should the Post matter to anyone?

Posted by: marde1 | June 25, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Deep Thought of the Moment:

I bet NONE of Scott Rassmussen's private emails indicate a hard-right bias.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 25, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

When he arrived at a party on the Huffington Post's D.C. office roof-deck on Thursday evening, Washington Post reporter/blogger David Weigel felt secure in his job. Earlier in the day, the media-focused site FishbowlDC had published a series of off-the-record emails written by Weigel in which he had disparaged members of the conservative movement that he covers.

But after checking with the powers that be at the Washington Post, it was relayed to him that they found the material not consequential enough to be a firing offense. Weigel, a well-regarded chronicler of all things Tea Party, had been an immediate success at the paper, and his offer of resignation was seen as highly gratuitous.

By Friday morning, however, things had changed. Weigel made a call to the Huffington Post at roughly 10:15 a.m. to privately relay that he was, in fact, leaving the Post. A new set of off-record Weigel emails had been disclosed to The Daily Caller disclosing even more snide quips about major conservative players (as well as comments expressing hope that health care reform would pass Congress).

The conservative-leaning website was ostensibly making the argument that Weigel was no longer objective enough to cover his beat. The Post editors agreed. The resignation he offered the night before was now viewed as the best path forward. And by noon the final deal had been struck to end Weigel's three-month run at the paper.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/25/dave-weigels-firing-the-b_n_625836.html

Posted by: cmccauley60 | June 25, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

marde1, I thought I made it clear that I thought he should stay. didn't I?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 25, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

* Will the Post now allow only followers of a particular political group to report on that group?*

Yes. The new york times was perfectly happy to hire Judy Miller, who felt it was her job to advocate for the military's and the pro-Iraq-war faction's interests, as a journalist. In fact, they probably would have fired someone who thought that the White House was full of crap on the Iraq war.

I'm sort of offended that the right is getting the vapors over the fact that a reporter thinks bad things about the emotionally unhinged members of the right who see fit to harass and insult Weigel on a regular basis. Certain members of the right-wing have to get over their sense of entitlement that they have any right to be liked or respected, particularly when they engage in such unhinged behavior and petty harassment of the sort that they subjected Weigel to.

* I should note that Journolist is a terrible, terrible thing.*

A mailing list/discussion group is something that has been part and parcel of the internet since its beginning days. I've been on several.

Posted by: constans | June 25, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't have a dog in this fight when it comes to the WashPo. The ONLY blog I read on WashPo's site is yours Greg. Still, I follow both Ezra Klein and Dave Weigel on twitter, if you follow Dave on twitter, you wouldn't be surprised at all about his political leanings. His tweets seemed neither rightist or leftist, and the few things I have read that he linked on his twitter page were as non-partisan as they get.

Anyway, your post is nice Greg. I know you are a str8 shotting guy, I've also been in the position of working somewhere where office politics were such that I wanted to tear my hair out and tell 'em fudge off, but you def can't do that and keep your job, so you can't or shouldn't come right out and say that your own boss' were stupid to accept resignation or force resignation...which ever.

Marc Ambinder over at the Atlantic, obviously don't have to worry about the bigwigs at WashPo, and his post about Dave is pretty good IMHO, and it's kinda emotes, where I fall in this debate:

"The Post Shouldn't Have Fired Dave Weigel"
by Marc Ambinder.
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/06/the-post-shouldnt-have-fired-dave-weigel/58764/

Posted by: lynell33 | June 25, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

When he arrived at a party on the Huffington Post's D.C. office roof-deck on Thursday evening, Washington Post reporter/blogger David Weigel felt secure in his job. Earlier in the day, the media-focused site FishbowlDC had published a series of off-the-record emails written by Weigel in which he had disparaged members of the conservative movement that he covers.

But after checking with the powers that be at the Washington Post, it was relayed to him that they found the material not consequential enough to be a firing offense. Weigel, a well-regarded chronicler of all things Tea Party, had been an immediate success at the paper, and his offer of resignation was seen as highly gratuitous.

By Friday morning, however, things had changed. Weigel made a call to the Huffington Post at roughly 10:15 a.m. to privately relay that he was, in fact, leaving the Post. A new set of off-record Weigel emails had been disclosed to The Daily Caller disclosing even more snide quips about major conservative players (as well as comments expressing hope that health care reform would pass Congress).

The conservative-leaning website was ostensibly making the argument that Weigel was no longer objective enough to cover his beat. The Post editors agreed. The resignation he offered the night before was now viewed as the best path forward. And by noon the final deal had been struck to end Weigel's three-month run at the paper.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/25/dave-weigels-firing-the-b_n_625836.html

Posted by: cmccauley60 | June 25, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"I should note that Journolist is a terrible, terrible thing."

Why? My understanding of Journolist is just an electronic version of getting together with your buddies for a beer and talking shop.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 25, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Just so I understand, are we all now in agreement that any private Emails should not be fodder for the media and/or public? Or is our outrage still reserved for the "good, real Americans" and not the "defects", to partially paraphrase that wingnut Kanjosrki.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | June 25, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Whatever the case Greg, just gonna say watch your back my friend.

BTW, from Dave's twitter:

"And now, a special comment..."
http://twitter.com/daveweigel/status/17043203394

On To The Next One, you can never go bad with Jay Z

Posted by: lynell33 | June 25, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

thanks, lynell, appreciate that. and your advice is well taken :)

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 25, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

i think the point was that he was supposed to blog from within the conservative movement, not criticize it from the left. thats what milbank, klein, dionne, meyerson, king, and so on and so forth and so on are here to do.

Posted by: batigol85 | June 25, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

OT:

Jon Kyl walks back White House border story

Earlier this week, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) caused a stir when he was quoted saying that President Obama personally told him the administration will not support stricter border enforcement until Republicans back broad immigration reform. The White House denied the claim. Now Kyl is saying that's not what he meant.

In an interview with National Review, Kyl explained:

Kyl tells us that the comments were "taken a bit out of context," and that the "they" he was referring to was the Left, "the president's base," and not the administration. "I did not try to start a fight.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/06/jon-kyl-walks-back-white-house.html

Republicans are such liars. You'd have to be pretty dumb and/or deluded not to realize that by now.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 25, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Weigel had long been critical of the right and made any number of disparaging remarks about tea partiers, etc. What set this inicident apart was the fury with which he reacted when he got negative comments directed back at himself. He's just too thin-skinned to be in this business, particularly when covering a hostile beat.

Posted by: tomtildrum | June 25, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I thought the guy was way too supercilious and sneery, the JL posts merely affirm the way his attitude leaked. That the Post chose someone so overtly hostile to cover the TP et al phenomenon again affirms the reasons why so many of the conservative persuasion no longer support legacy media.
He won't be particularly missed. Perhaps the Post should hire two part-timers to resuscitate the blog and cross check one another? You know, a genuine Republican sort and a real liberal in a competition to dig dirt to either lift or bury the ideas put forth by Tea Partyism?
Nah....that would make sense and be fair.

Posted by: daskinner | June 25, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

now that i see the list, i might as well continue: sargant, zakaria (even if he pretends not to), vanden Heuvel, robinson, marcus (she's a good one, at least), milloy, capart and tom toles. don't forget about froomkin, who was canned for pretty much the same thing. Throw in Janine Zakaria on Israel and 75% of the post editorials, too.

Clear trend: super liberals posing as anything but leave.

Posted by: batigol85 | June 25, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

OT:

Marco Rubio on VIDEO touting HCR Provisions

REPORTER: So you wouldn't scrap pre-existing conditions?

RUBIO: No.

REPORTER: You would keep that in?

RUBIO: Yeah. And I think there's broad support for that.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/6/25/879332/-FL-Sen:-Rubio-on-video-touting-widespread-support-for-key-provisions-of-health-reform-bill

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 25, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Greg,
Yes, you made it clear you wanted him to stay, but didn't say that the Post should have refused his resignation and stood behind him. Now, that may not be your opinion, which is fine, of course. But what I was trying to say was that the Post's failure to do that condemns the newspaper as a second rate publication.

Posted by: marde1 | June 25, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

batigol85, you list journalists "posing" as, um, journalists.

But you're leaving out the conservative "journalist" posing as a pimp and telephone repairman.

I guess that's more your style than reporting facts. Talk about "posing." Hilarious.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 25, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Shame on the Post.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | June 25, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

it's possible to have opinions and to care about what happens in politics -- to prefer one outcome to another -- while still doing journalism with integrity

------------------

Possible, but extremely rare. The key here, I suppose, is that we each have differing interpretations of "integrity."

Posted by: foldingtime | June 25, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

As smart a commentary as I've seen anywhere, from Julian Sanchez:

"If the Princess-and-the-Pea brigade now cheering [Dave] departure would bracket their persecution complex for five minutes, they'd realize that he was consistently delivering coverage about as fair and sympathetic as could reasonably be hoped for. What they apparently wanted was a movement hack to dole out indiscriminate praise to anyone claiming the mantle of conservatism--whereas Dave took the right seriously enough to make distinctions between what he saw as its credible thinkers and its nuts and opportunists. Memo to my friends on the right: If you bristle at being stereotyped as an undifferentiated bloc of racists and crude blowhards, maybe you shouldn't take automatic umbrage when someone points out particular individuals who are."


http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/06/weigel-wapo-and-the-tracy-flickization-of-public-life/58748/

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 25, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"Rolling Stone broke interview ground rules with McChrystal, military officials say"

A parallel to the Weigel story?

Greg asserts that it is possible to post these disparaging remarks and yet still report fairly. Would we agree that Mac could disparage his civilian leaders in private while still executing the mission?

Posted by: sbj3 | June 25, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to seeing the Post request resignation of a Republican blogger.

I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: Alex3 | June 25, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm way off base on this but it seems that the Post caved to the pressure of right wing critics rather than stick up for the integrity of their own policies and journalists. It kind of feels like a re-play of David Frumm in a weird way. Who cares about his personal emails if his reporting is and has been successful for the Post. Too bad they took this step of accepting his resignation, it's not like they're the President and he's a General.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 25, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to seeing the Post request resignation of a Republican blogger.

I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: Alex3 | June 25, 2010 6:08 PM

Any rightwinf blogger? Cause there ain't none here!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | June 25, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to seeing the Post request resignation of a Republican blogger.

I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: Alex3 | June 25, 2010 6:08 PM

Any rightwing blogger? Cause there ain't none here!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | June 25, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

"Would we agree that Mac could disparage his civilian leaders in private while still executing the mission?"

Yeah, because journalism and being a 4-star General in the military during wartime are... EXACTLY THE SAME THING.

*eyes roll*

Seriously SBJ?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 25, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

If the post hired a conservative as a "liberal blogger", the left would be shrieking like a scalded cat yet the right is supposed to accept Weigel as having his finger on the pulse of the conservative movement. Sorry, you can tell us it's raining all day long but those of us who read the Washington Post know what p*ss smells like.

Posted by: wave41 | June 25, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Friedersdorf at the Atlantic notes the thing that grates here:

"I submit that seeing these two staffers [Klein, Weigel] -- who are intellectually honest and talented, whatever their flaws -- as the problem at The Post is to miss the Mark Thiessen for the trees."

Posted by: bernielatham | June 25, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

sbj3, I wasn't aware that WaPo functioned using the UCMJ. The situations are not even remotely similar. MC and his aides were talking TO A REPORTER FOR THE ROLLING STONE. Weigel was posting on a theoretically private listserv. Now, everything ever written on a computer is archived somewhere, so Dave should have known better, but it is not a firing offense and it has nothing in common with a general disparaging the civilian leadership of his country.

Posted by: srw3 | June 25, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Great idea. Let's have Ann Coulter write a daily blog about the Progressive Movement and Obama.

I am sure Greg Sargent will support is as long as she is "aggressive" enough.

Posted by: mitchflorida | June 25, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/happy_hour_roundup_37.html

apologies for the delay, long day.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 25, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Weigel's last spot before the Post was TWI, so I don't think it should have been much of a shocker to anyone that he had substantive disagreements with movement conservatives. My understanding was that he has libertarian roots, and this was common knowledge.

At the same time, he was/is committed to presenting an accurate view of where the conservative movement is at, and that's what matters. Considering all that has been painfully apparent since last year, it seems that, if anything, Weigel held back.

The notion of a netroots boycott of the Post isn't for me.
I'll replace the Weigel bookmark with his new home, wherever that may be. I'll keep my Plum Line RSS feed right where it is, and keep reading the people at "Wa Po" who have been in my "Favorite Voices" folder long before this episode, and almost certainly will be there long after -- Robinson, Meyerson, and Dionne. I'll still check out Klein and Cillizza, who had some really good coverage of the PA - Sen race while most others slept on it.

Losing Dave Weigel is a serious blow to the Post. Whatever Weigel does next is going to be really good and either just as or more popular. And yes, there's some people at the Post who are really lame (Will, Broder, Milbank, Cohen), but that's par for the course.

I wouldn't stop reading Krugman, Herbert, and Greenhouse just because the Times does something remarkably stupid (again)... and is home to the hopelessly facile Matt Bai, and David Brooks and Applebee's Salad Bar.

I'll keep reading The Plum Line for a simple reason: I think the content is excellent.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Go multi - tasking sleepy meta.

One more thing. Who among us doesn't have moments where we express the kind of frustration Weigel did? I got maybe an hour of sleep last night... and even in my half - stupor, my inner monologue is capable of being as angry as the Weigel excerpts... and that's after spending maybe five minutes at The Daily Caller.

Posted by: michael_conrad | June 25, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

@michael - yes, those of us who have come to depend upon Dave's excellent reporting will now follow him elsewhere. It is a loss for the WP, no question.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 25, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Let's try to think of journalists/thinkers on the right that Greg would think could right 'fairly' about the left:

Malkin, O'Reilly, Drudge, Breitbart, Kristol, Buchanan, Sowell, Krauthammer, Morrissey, Stossel, J Goldberg, Allahpundit, Medved, Imus, Schlafly, Carlson, Will, Prager, Noonan, B Goldberg, Fund, Barone?

Any of 'em?

Posted by: sbj3 | June 25, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

@w41: If the post hired a conservative as a "liberal blogger", the left would be shrieking like a scalded cat yet the right is supposed to accept Weigel as having his finger on the pulse of the conservative movement.

1) Weigel is not a liberal, in any meaningful sense of the word. He is a eclectic libertarian who would consider voting for bobby jindal and defended ron paul when his beliefs got him in hot water.

2) Fred (lets kill and torture some arabs) Hiatt is the editor and chief of the allegedly liberal WaPo.

Posted by: srw3 | June 25, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

@sbj - Boy, when you lay it out like that, one gets even more despairing re the integrity of modern conservative voices.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 25, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

You're right, Bernie. Only the right has fair voices while those on the left are all crazy.

Oh wait - is it the other way around?

Out of a list of 22 popular writers/talkers from the right, you can't bring yourself to call even one of them fair. That, my wordy friend, doesn't tell me anything about the "integrity of modern conservative voices" - but it tells me a lot about the "integrity" of Bernie.

Posted by: sbj3 | June 25, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I'll miss Dave's blogging here at WaPo. I followed him over from The Washington Independent. He presents an interesting and definitely non-doctrinaire perspective. My only criticism of his blogging is the particularly low class of trolls he seems to attract: birthers and Palindrones, in particular.

I look forward to seeing where Dave goes next, and I will read what he has to say.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | June 25, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Seems I am missing something. Aren't Coulter, Kristol and the rest of the right wing brigade constantly writing about the President and liberals?

What's your point, sbj?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | June 25, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Sbj,
I notice you didn't list Frum? Or Larison? Or Bruce Bartlett? I think the problem is with the names you're suggesting. Buchanan thinks the Holocaust was Churchill's fault, Malkin thinks it was just fine to lock up Japanese Americans for no good reason, Sowell thinks an escrow fund is just like Hitler, etc etc etc. I would/do read each of the three conservatives I listed, however. Does that answer your question?

Posted by: marde1 | June 25, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

By the way, is there a reason WaPo has deleted the thousands of comments that were posted on Dave Weigel's blog? I've gone back through "Right Now" even to his first post on April 4, and all of the comments are gone.

Every. Single. One.

Did WaPo fire all of us commenters, too?

Does WaPo view the "comments" as inconsequential?

Posted by: bearclaw1 | June 25, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, it is obvious he was asked to resign. Some corporate suit got nervous or more likely someone he skewered in these private emails used their lofty power and influence to get back at him.

I don't see why Wiegel had to be a party loyalist and cheerleader off the record or even on. He was paid to cover a beat professionally not march to a beat like a drone.

He did his job and he did it well. His private emails are none of my business and I wish him the best.

Posted by: mutebutton | June 25, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

"If anyone can prove that Dave's public writings were in any way inaccurate, that would be one thing, but his reporting was thoroughly professional."

Uh huh. It is not just a matter of getting a story right, but deciding what story to cover. Weigel was a wonderful reporter if you think it was his job to provide daily reassurance to libs that the right was even more dysfunctional than the left.

In some parallel universe, if the WaPo hired an obvious righty to cover the left, and that reporter wrote story after uncannily accurate story about Blagojevich, would anybody think he/she was doing a good job?

Bobby Jindal was talked about as a Republican VP pic in 2008 and had visibly led the charge in Louisiana during the gulf oil spill. How many posts has Weigel had on this rising right-wing star in the last few months? None. But if a Tea Partier or birther burps, Weigel is there with a microphone. Yeah, that is great reporting.

Bonus Point: In his initial apology/explanation, Weigel explained that he was lashing out after a brutal day in which Drudge linked him for defending Etheridge and a gossip columnist panned his dancing.

Yet later the Daily Caller released similar venting going back months.

Is that sort of lying even a little bit problematic?

From Weigel:

" 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."

Cry me a river.

Tom Maguire

Posted by: tom10023 | June 25, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

@bernie

I second your comment about the modern conservative voices mention. The list from sbj is pathetic. For the most part, they just don't "do" honesty.

Why keep giving intellectual welfare to fundamentally dishonest conservatives?

Posted by: michael_conrad | June 25, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

@bernie

I second your comment about the modern conservative voices mention. The list from sbj is pathetic. For the most part, they just don't "do" honesty.

Why keep giving intellectual welfare to fundamentally dishonest conservatives?

Posted by: michael_conrad | June 25, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Sargent: "So this isn't about whether Weigel could have continued to be fair, accurate and professional. I have no doubt that he could have."

Of course YOU have no doubt — you agree with him! The point is that no fair-minded person could possibly believe that the individual responsible for those vicious, hateful rants would ever really be fair and impartial.

As for the Post "hiring someone who covers the conservative movement every bit as aggressively as he does," what about agressive coverage of those actually in power — starting with the Messiah?

Posted by: thebump | June 25, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Weigel wrote some of the most vile, malicious stuff out there. It ought to be condemned, even if it is legal under the First Amendment. The argument that other liberals, or some conservatives, may write worse, is irrelevant. He richly deserved to be canned.

Posted by: yourstruly1991 | June 26, 2010 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Dave Weigel will come out of this okay -- just fine. WaPo, though, has been getting less and less reliable, less credible, less honorable. Maybe -- for just those reasons and given today's politics -- the Post will survive a bit longer. For the time it has left,the Post still has some good writers. It's the paper's publisher and editors who seem hellbent on self-destruction.

Posted by: texassideoats | June 26, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

@sbj3 : short answer None of those you list have any credibility. Some examples George (I feel fine distorting findings on climate change even when the organization I quote from says I am misrepresnting their data)Will. Thomas (Obama is like hitler because he is holding BP accountable) Sowell. Patrick (White Americans are losing the country to brown skinned unworthy people) Buchanen, M Malkin (too many lies to list), etc. I don't think there is one of those you list that didn't buy the Iraq/Alqaeda/WMD load of poo-poo that Bush fed them (if they didn't actively make up other stuff, Saddam's drones anyone?), Charles (lets drive the palestinians out of greater Israel) Krauthammer, Don (nappy headed hos) Imus) P (women should be barefoot and pregnant, except for me) Schlafly, Bill (kill health care reform so the dems will lose an election) Kristol, etc. I don't have time to go through all of these embarrassments to serious journalism/commentary, but it wouldn't be hard.

Posted by: srw3 | June 26, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line is that the right wing believes Truth is intimately connected with ideology or religion. It denies that objectivity exists, or fairness, or science. One is a believer or one is not.

And so within this worldview anyone who expressed the least bit of skepticism about conservatism was immediately deemed unfit to write about the conservative movement except as a hostile critic, for whom the right never pays much attention or gives the least credibility.

Therefore, if the Washington Post was hoping to use Dave's blog as a way of attracting a right wing audience that liked reading about itself, Dave's heresy forever compromised him with this crowd and he became worthless to the Post's need for a larger readership.

Posted by: TedFrier | June 26, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

So why did they need another right wing hack at the Post? They already got Gerson, Krauthammer, Will, Broder,Lane, etc. Funny I never heard of somebody getting fired for being to right wing at the Post? It would seem truth telling would be more important than ones own political views. Did Mr. Wiegle ever tell any falsehoods? Krauthammer and Gerson are totally full of it, and they are still here. They also fired Froomkin too, for accurate reporting. The post has become worthless.

Posted by: jimbobkalina | June 26, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

He blinks too much on tv.

Now maybe he won't ruin my tv watching time.

Posted by: JeffBarea | June 27, 2010 2:37 AM | Report abuse

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