Friday, June 25, 2010

The Weigel-Journolist Affair and schadenfreude

It's all over the Internets, or at least the bloggery, or at least the right side (in more ways than one) of the blogosphere -- in the wake of some leaked but highly classified emails from one David Weigel to a cozy little online club of "center to left" journalists, Weigel's lost his job and the club itself is about to be disbanded.

Awwwww. That's a little of that most widespread of guilty pleasures, schadenfreude, which I think becomes a little less guilty when you add to its Merriam-Webster definition: "enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others" -- that are richly deserved. Why deserved, in this case? Well, first, because Weigel was the reporter the Washington Post had assigned to cover conservatives. Right? A guy who's a member of a lefty email club is supposed to be reporting -- objectively?! -- on conservative or right-wing issues and events?? Why wouldn't it be good riddance?

And second, there's that little business of the "journolist" itself, which was a lefty in-group consisting of many other members of the media who, in their day jobs, also purport to be more or less objective. Now, the right-wing complaining about left-wing media bias can get a bit tiresome, I'll admit, in its repetitiveness. But it's repetitive not only because the bias is so bleedingly obvious, but also because of the  irritating chutzpah constantly displayed by said biased "journalists" and editors/producers in their bare-faced denials of the bleedingly obvious. In any case, Mickey Kaus does one of the better take-downs of this little cabal (via Moe Lane):
Everybody has private notes, sources, or conversations. That doesn't mean a secret conversation among "hundreds" of influential Democratic writers doesn't potentially create problems. Groupthink might be one of them. ... Hey, and another might be the fostering of an us-vs-them mentality! Maybe even a weakness for smug rationalization. ...

PS: Julian "epistemic closure" Sanchez feels badly for Weigel, who apparently is a friend. Julian's pretty sure that Weigel isn't "any sort of liberal or progressive", but he also doesn't seem to be any sort of unbiased observer of conservatives either, which is apparently what he was hired as. E.g., some Weigel quotes (from the origin of the kerfuffle, the Daily Caller):
Honestly, it’s been tough to find fresh angles sometimes–how many times can I report that these [tea party] activists are joyfully signing up with the agenda of discredited right-winger X and discredited right-wing group Y?
In April, Weigel wrote that the problem with the mainstream media is “this need to give equal/extra time to ‘real American’ views, no matter how fucking moronic, which just so happen to be the views of the conglomerates that run the media and/or buy up ads.”
Republicans? “Ratfucking [Obama] on every bill.” Palin? Tried to “ratfuck” a moderate Republican in a contentious primary in New York. Limbaugh? Used “ratfucking tactics” in urging Republican activists to vote for Hillary Clinton in open primaries after Obama had all but beat her for the Democratic nomination.
"Ratfucking"? Okay, that's a little weird. Biased and weird.

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