Two days ago, MediaBistro’s FishbowlDC blog posted excerpts from a series of emails David Weigel sent to the “semi-secret liberal forum,” JournoList. Today, Weigel resigned from the Washington Post. We could have an argument about the relative offensiveness of Weigel’s remarks compared to other members of the media. We can debate whether or not he should have stepped away from the Washington Post. But even the left must agree that Weigel is responsible for his fate.
That is, unless you work at the New York Times. To them, “the real story here isn’t Weigel’s public embarrassment — it’s the shame of FishbowlDC for publishing private correspondence, and the disgrace of JournoList for harboring at least one would-be career wrecker.” Just like their response to ClimateGate, the New York Times has chosen to kill the messenger and ignore the message. The Times concedes, “The only decent response is to disband the email list,” but why would they have even considered doing so if one of their members had not released Weigel’s comments?
Furthermore, for all the Times’ talk about what should and shouldn’t be “private correspondence,” this is the same entity that published the Top Secret “Pentagon Papers” on the newspaper’s front page in 1971. How is it okay to publish a classified military report, and not okay to publish a few emails that were sent to an email list, a method of correspondence which Weigel should have had no reasonable expectation would remain private?
FishbowlDC was right to publish Weigel’s comments. They demonstrated the open bias of the Washington Post reporter who was assigned to cover the Tea Party movement and Conservatism in America. The real story is Weigel’s open bias, and the Washington Post’s tenuous attempt to maintain their facade of objectivity by relieving Weigel from his position. We’d all be better off if the Washington Post would just admit that they basically agree with Weigel. The honesty would be refreshing, and it might even improve their struggling circulation numbers.