Dave Weigel resignation and Washington Post credibility

Some time ago, the Washington Post assigned Dave Weigel (formerly of Reason magazine) to cover the conservative “beat”. Weigel pretended to cover his beat from a neutral or even symathetic perspective, but was apparently anything but that. The Daily Caller got hold on what he wrote on fellow WaPo blogger Ezra Klein’s “Journolist” private discussion list of liberal journos.

Here it is, in all its dubious glory (warning: some NC-17 language, especially variations on “rat[bleep]”).

Insty has been all over the story. Some links gleaned from his blog (and the twitter feeds I follow):

POLITICO: Why the Weigel mess is the Post’s fault.

UPDATE: Hot Air: “I’m actually surprised and disappointed that the Post didn’t do more to defend Dave in this instance. The real problem, as I note above, is the lack of balance in the paper’s approach, and not any of the reporting that Weigel has done.”

Will Collier: “I still don’t think Weigel’s obnoxious JournoList rants were a firing offense, although failing to disclose his membership in Ezra Klein’s invitation-only Leftie club was a much more serious offense against Weigel’s readership. That said, I can understand why Weigel would leave at this point, and why the Post wouldn’t argue with him. Prior to yesterday, Weigel could claim to be something other than just another hostile Leftie journalist thanks to his previous stint at Reason. Once the mask was ripped off, though, the odds that anybody to the right of David Gergen would take Weigel’s calls dropped to somewhere around absolute zero.”

MORE: Jeffrey Goldberg: An Unhappy Day At The Washington Post.

Put aside the controversy over whether the Post, which was advised by its star blogger, Ezra Klein (who once advised parties unknown, via his Twitter account, to “fuck tim russert. fuck him with a spiky acid-tipped dick”) that Weigel would do an excellent and balanced job of reporting on conservatives, even understood that it was hiring a liberal, and not a conservative (Ben Smith has more on this aspect of the controversy), the issue in the newsroom today is, How did the Post come to this?

“How could we destroy our standards by hiring a guy stupid enough to write about people that way in a public forum?” one of my friends at the Post asked me when we spoke earlier today. “I’m not suggesting that many people on the paper don’t lean left, but there’s leaning left, and then there’s behaving like an idiot.”

I gave my friend the answer he already knew: The sad truth is that the Washington Post, in its general desperation for page views, now hires people who came up in journalism without much adult supervision, and without the proper amount of toilet-training.

I think there’s a shortage of adults to do the supervision. Plus, A Teachable Moment: If You Want Friends, Get A Dog.

Posted at 2:14 pm by Glenn Reynolds

UPDATE: Michael Walsh on the Weigel flap.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Weigel to HuffPo.

MORE: A roundup at Reason, including a report that Journolist is shutting down. But then, so did the Townhouse list that preceded Journolist . . . .

And what will happen to the Journolist archives?

STILL MORE: Rand Paul?

Plus, questions from the other Rand.

FINALLY: Sorry — “Townhouse” list. And I hear it’s still going on.

JIM GERAGHTY: If Weigel Had to Go, What Other MSM Figures Wrote Terrible Things on Journo-List?

Posted at 6:22 pm by Glenn Reynolds

WAPO OMBUDSMAN: Blogger loses job; Post loses standing among conservatives. “Instead of just a replacement, The Post might consider two: one conservative with a Klein-like ideological bent, and another who can cover the conservative movement in the role of a truly neutral reporter.”

Posted at 11:36 pm by Glenn Reynolds

You mean, the Post had any standing among conservatives, other than “slightly more credible than the New York Times” (which is the very definition of “damning with faint praise”)?…

Bonus unrelated to Dave Weigel and the WaPo (but what if we substitute “WaPo” for the federal gov’t in the sentence below?)

ALEX LIGHTMAN ON FACEBOOK: “After researching the issue carefully and interviewing people in a position to know, I can now reveal that the current primary purpose of the United State government is to bankrupt the United States. It comes as a relief to know this. So many things now make sense.” Least hypothesis, and all that.

Posted at 11:29 pm by Glenn Reynolds

Texas social studies curriculum and WaPo misrepresentation

Very little to add to Ann Althouse on the matter:

If you’re going to criticize the new social studies curriculum adopted by the Texas Board of Education, you’d better quote it. Or at least link to the text. And if you choose to paraphrase and not even link, and I have to look up the text myself, and your paraphrase is not accurate, it is my job to embarrass you by pointing that out.

Let me embarrass the Washington Post. Below, the material from the WaPo article, written by Michael Birnbaum, is indented. After the indented part, I’ve located the relevant quote from the Board of Education text, found here. (I’m searching 3 PDF documents: Economics with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise System and Its Benefits Subchapter A. High School; Social Studies Subchapter B. Middle School; Social Studies Subchapter C. High School.)

The Washington Post writes:

The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards….

The new standards say that the McCarthyism of the 1950s was later vindicated — something most historians deny –…

The students are required to “describe how McCarthyism, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the arms race, and the space race increased Cold War tensions and how the later release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government…” The word “vindicated” is inflammatory and unfair. What is the Washington Post saying historians deny? One can be informed of the reality of what the Venona Papers revealed about communist infiltration into the U.S. government and still understand and deplore the excesses of “McCarthyism.”

…draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis’s and Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural addresses…

Students are required to “analyze the ideas contained in Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address and Abraham Lincoln’s ideas about liberty, equality, union, and government as contained in his first and second inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address.” The word “equivalency” is uncalled for. The requirement is to analyze, not to be indoctrinated that the ideas are the same.

… say that international institutions such as the United Nations imperil American sovereignty…

What I’m seeing is “explain the significance of the League of Nations and the United Nations” and “analyze the human and physical factors that influence the power to control territory, create conflict/war, and impact international political relations such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), or the control of resources.” Where is the language that can be paraphrased “imperil American sovereignty”?

…. and include a long list of Confederate officials about whom students must learn.

Students are required to “explain the roles played by significant individuals and heroes during the Civil War, including Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, and congressional Medal of Honor recipients William Carney and Philip Bazaar.” Only Davis and Lee were Confederate officials! There is also this: “describe the role of individuals such as governors George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and Lester Maddox and groups, including the Congressional bloc of southern Democrats, that sought to maintain the status quo [in the Civil Rights Era].” That’s obviously not from the Civil War, but I can see why it’s annoying to Democrats.

They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term “free-enterprise system.”

The document on economics does use the term “free enterprise system” throughout, but students are required to “understand that the terms free enterprise, free market, and capitalism are synonymous terms to describe the U.S. economic system,” so what is the problem?

Virtually everything cited in the article to make the curriculum seem controversial is misstated! Appalling!