In the wake of the Dave Weigel contretemps, as the record of his participation on the left-wing Journolist seeps out, one question comes to mind: how can a journalist dispassionately and honestly cover conservative bloggers when he is so eager to ingratiate himself with their left-of-center counterparts.
Even before Weigel was “exposed” this past week as harboring some attitudes common among the “netroots” toward conservatives, I had heard rumor of his animosity toward our ideological confrères. That said, on the few occasions, I had checked out his column on the Washington Post‘s web-site, I found little to complain about. His posts seemed pretty even-handed to me, but then I only caught them three, four, maybe five times.
Yet, even as he called opponents of gay marriage “bigots,” unless I missed something, he seemed entirely unaware of gay blogs on the right side of this blogosphere, including this one.
The real revelation is all this is really nothing new–it’s just the regular misrepresentation of conservatives — and our ideas — in the mainstream media. If Weigel were truly interested in honestly covering conservatives, why would he participate a list whose very purpose is to push left-of-center narratives in the news media while undermining conservative ideas? “The Journolist,” Ann Althouse writes, “was a self-herding device. They wanted to be good cogs in a machine that would generate power for the Democratic Party, didn’t they?”
A number of other bloggers, including importantly Dan Riehl, have looked at the larger meaning of Weigel, the Journolist and the state of media coverage of the most dynamic political movement in America in the past forty years, a movement which has been flourishing for forty years (at least). Dan believes the Post‘s coverage of “the Right was a blatant effort by big Beltway media to marginalize the Right – intentionally, or not.”
In addition to Dan, Ace also gets what’s going on here. The problem he found in Weigel’s coverage was that the guy didn’t like his job well enough to do it well:
. . . anyone who’s good at his job likes his job; that is to say, he uses a substantial amount of his free time actually doing job-related activities because he fundamentally likes his job.Almost anyone (except those with Batman-level discipline and willpower) who is good at his job will, if you check, be found to have a substantial advantage over his colleagues, because while they punch out at 5 to pursue their real interests, he’s spending a lot of time after 5 o’clock doing his job.
In his free time, Weigel’s (usually virtually) hobnobbing with left-wing bloggers:
And with his freetime? He uses that to catch up on the leftwing blogs he actually enjoys.
Small wonder, then, that whenever a controversy breaks, Dave Wiegel is Johnny On the Spot for reproducing leftwing blog memes.
But of course that’s what the Washington Post wanted. They don’t want an actual conservative writing this blog; such a person would be very much up on conservative thought, but such a person would also be eager to transmit such thought to Post readers, and that’s not what they want.
Read the whole thing. Now, the real problem is finding someone to cover the right who both likes reading conservative blogs and can maintain a certain nonpartisan perspective to cover them fairly.
If you’re trying too hard to become part of the leftosphere, you can’t be counted on to offer a reliable perspective on the rightosphere.