Burning Drudge, burning Weigel: A fiery view from the Washington Post

The forced resignation of David Weigel by the Washington Post will probably be forgotten by tomorrow, nothing more than a little blip on the radar of those submersed in the world of the Washington Post. Weigel’s online communications were nabbed and made public to expose the writer as a liberal who thinks Matt Drudge should set himself on fire and that conservatives are inherently doing evil. If you are a conservative you might shake your head, grit your teeth, or even laugh at some of Weigel’s private meanderings about the opposition. What you would not be is surprised. The Washington Post wants you to think that they are awe-struck and amazed, as if their writer were suddenly part of an E-True Hollywood story in which never-before-seen hidden details are suddenly being illuminated. Please.

 Howard Klutz reported in the Washington Post that their Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said, “We can’t have any tolerance for the perception that people are conflicted or bring a bias to their work. . . . There’s abundant room on our website for a wide range of viewpoints, and we should be transparent about everybody’s viewpoint.” This is a vague statement at best, more than a little silly at worst. The fact of the matter is that all writers, even the freest of thinkers, bring at least some bias to the table and editors know this. In fact, beyond their ability to creatively communicate with the public, writers, bloggers, you name it, are sought for their general political leanings. This is where things may have gone south for Weigel. It appears the Washington Post got caught with a “political lefty” writing as a “political righty.” Who placed David Weigel writing the column titled “Right Now – Inside the conservative movement and Republican Party” That’s right, the Washington Post.

So who is at fault here? If you say it’s the Rush-Limbaugh-hating, Tea-Party-hating, Matt-Drudge-wanna-see-ya-burn liberal Weigel, you’re wrong. The fault lies directly with the Washington Post for failing to screen the people they hire, or worse, for purposely deceiving the public. If you want to critique a liberal for his or her wacky statements, that’s fine, we can make a day of it, but don’t think its transparency of viewpoint that the Washington Post is protecting; it’s their gluteus maximus.  Bloggers are not insidious double agents, or at least never effective ones, and Weigel is no exception. To think so gives the Washington Post political cover they have not earned. In fact, I think they have earned the need for some additional scrutiny.

So, in the aftermath of the private e-mails made public, David Weigel’s career at the Washington Post will be burned away, and for what, being a closet liberal? Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post reports that in 2006 Weigel referred to gay marriage opposers as “anti-gay marriage bigots” on his Twitter page. Think we might be dealing with a liberal here? This was obviously not a red flag to the Washington Post. Brauchli blamed it on the budget and said, “We don’t have the resources or ability to do Supreme Court justice-type investigations into people’s backgrounds. We will have to be more careful in the future.” Does that explanation fly with you? I think it is not a far cry to assume that the Washington Post was more than comfortable with their writing arrangement with Weigel until their employee’s point of view became overtly known to the public. Then it was transparency time. A time for purity and as the witch hunters say, nothing purifies like fire, or a good firing. Hopefully when the smoke clears there will be some interest left in finding accountability for the Washington Post. 

Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of the books “Living Under The Patriot Act: Educating A Society” and “Feeding Lions: Sharing The Conservative Philosophy In A Politically Hostile World.” Paul is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 Entertainment Program of the Year, Conscience of Kansas airing on KSDB Manhattan 91.9 FM, www.ibbetsonusa.com. For interviews or questions, please contact him at? [email protected]