The Washington Post Accepts Dave Weigel’s Resignation Because He’s Not Crazy
Dave Weigel has apparently been forced to resign from the Washington Post. So let’s put aside, for now, whatever disagreements Weigel and FDL have had and ask what this says about the Washington Post.
Weigel’s initial offense, if one can call it that, is that he wrote something negative about Matt Drudge on a private e-mail list, and some jerk violated the rules and published it to discredit Weigel. Weigel then apologized. It doesn’t matter that Drudge deserved it; it only mattered that someone the Post hired to cover the right would write something bad about one of the right’s wurlitzer propagandists.
Whatever you think of his political perspective, Weigel seemed to me a guy from a forgotten era, someone who, having made a mistake, would try to do the honorable thing, expecting that a world that respects honor will reciprocate. But the Washington Post is not an honorable newspaper, and the people who run it aren’t very bright.
Ben Smith argues they hired Dave because they mistakenly believed he was a conservative (or wanted to represent him as such), but his bosses came to believe that because he thought some on the right have become insane, he must be a liberal — so they couldn’t keep up the pretense.
This tells you much more about the Washington Post than Weigel. Brad DeLong explains the problem to the Post and responds to Ben Smith:
I would characterize Dave Weigel not as a conservative and not as a liberal but rather as a reasonable Reason-type libertarian–which, a generation ago, would have made him "conservative" in the sense of being deeply suspicious of the forward march of the big-spending social-insurance regulatory state.
Now Weigel and his sect are, just as the Eisenhower fiscally-responsible Republicans found before, and just as the pragmatic technocrats found before them, [finding] that their quarrels with the Democratic activist base are much smaller than their quarrels with the Republican activist base. It’s not that Dave Weigel is or has become a liberal. Its that the conservative activist base has gone insane.
I don’t know how Weigel would define himself ideologically, but I don’t think it matters. The Post just can’t seem to grasp that the only jounalistically honest coverage of the insanity of those who presume to represent today’s conservatives/Republicans is to report their craziness, but the only coverage the crazies would agree is acceptable would have to be as insane as they are. Letting Weigel go won’t solve that problem, and now the Post faces the prospect of becoming even more worthless than it had already become.
Update: There’s lot’s more to the story. Sam Stein has more.