One of the more irritating things about mainstream media outlets is that they love to hire liberals, but then, for “balance,” they like to hire a matching “conservative,” too, but not just any conservative. No, they want to hire a supposed “conservative” who tells liberals whatever they want to hear about conservatives.
Because the Left controls the mainstream media, this is actually a career field for columnists without principles — and there are plenty of people who’re happy to fill that niche. David Brooks, David Frum, Andrew Sullivan, Meghan McCain, Kathleen Parker, Joe Scarborough, and of course, Dave Weigel.
Weigel is widely disliked on the Right by pretty much everyone who isn’t personally friendly with him — and no wonder. Here we have a leftward leaning Libertarian writing a column called ”Inside the conservative movement and Republican Party with Dave Weigel.” Except Weigel isn’t a conservative, he isn’t a Republican, and he relentlessly runs down Republicans and the conservative movement. Keep in mind that Weigel’s counterpart at the WAPO is Ezra Klein, who’s comparable to Paul Begala in his slavishness to the Democratic party line.
Unfortunately for Weigel, someone leaked his commentary about conservatives from the notorious off-the-record left-wing Journo-List and it reinforced exactly what conservatives have been saying about Weigel for months,
“This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire.”
•”Follow-up to one hell of a day: Apparently, the Washington Examiner thought it would be fun to write up an item about my dancing at the wedding of Megan McArdle and Peter Suderman. Said item included the name and job of my girlfriend, who was not even there — nor in DC at all.”
•”I’d politely encourage everyone to think twice about rewarding the Examiner with any traffic or links for a while. I know the temptation is high to follow up hot hot Byron York scoops, but please resist it.”
•”It’s all very amusing to me. Two hundred screaming Ron Paul fanatics couldn’t get their man into the Fox News New Hampshire GOP debate, but Fox News is pumping around the clock to get Paultard Tea Party people on TV.”
Keep in mind that this is particularly galling because the Washington Post has actually been publicly touting Weigel as a conservative which anyone with half a brain knew wasn’t true just from reading his work,
But the Post seems simply not to have understood what they were getting when Klein suggested they hire him. National editor Kevin Merida told me for my story on the subject in May that he never asked Weigel about his politics, and Klein said he presented him to the paper simply as the best reporter covering conservatives. (Weigel’s blog is subtitled, “Inside the conservative movement.”)
“The way I explained Dave is that he’s the best reporter on the conservative movement beat,” Klein said, describing Weigel as “hard to characterize politically.”
“I have not heard him express many policy opinions,” he said.
Merida, in a web chat in April, was asked if the paper would be “adding more conservative/Republican voices to better balance what is now your predominately liberal/Democratic leaning coverage?”
He replied, “[W]e recently have added to our staff the well-regarded Dave Weigel, and also mentioned columnists Kathleen Parker and Charles Krauthammer.
Mistake #1 for the Washington Post: Hiring a “conservative” writer based on the recommendation of a far-left-winger like Ezra Klein.
In any case, Weigel apparently hoped to ride out the storm, because he wrote a half-hearted apology column. Apparently that didn’t cut it because he’s now resigned. Good riddance.
PS: WAPO, please fire Kathleen Parker while you’re at it.