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Ed Driscoll

The Telltale 11th Paragraph

July 27th, 2010 - 3:02 pm

Dave Weigel’s JournoList-related departure from the Washington Post ends up being a lateral move, but you wouldn’t know it unless you made it to the 11th paragraph of this article for Yahoo’s “Upshot” column by Michael Calderone, who also frequently contributes to the Politico, which like the Post, is another JournoList-tainted publication:

The Washington Post hired Weigel from the Washington Independent in March to write a blog about the conservative moment, a beat he’d excelled at in recent years. But Weigel’s tenure was cut short after FishbowlDC and The Daily Caller published emails he wrote on Journolist, an off-the-record, left-leaning listserv[That's some "lean" -- Ed]

On Journolist, Weigel had harshly criticized a few conservative political and media figures, raising questions about whether he could be perceived as a fair arbiter in covering the movement for the paper. Weigel offered his resignation, and the Post accepted the following day. And that led, predictably enough, to an avalanche of meta-media debate about whether reporters can share personal opinions and still be perceived as reporting fairly.

[Slate editor David Plotz] said that Weigel “paid a price” for his comments on Journolist. “But I don’t think it in any way reflects on his editorial independence, his skill as a reporter, his writng, his energy, and his curiosity,” he continued. [It doesn't? -- Ed]

Weigel may have lost the Post job over his off-the-record comments, but he wasn’t completely out of work for long. Within days, he signed on as an MSNBC contributor and filled in for Andrew Sullivan on his popular blog, The Daily Dish.

Slate contacted Weigel shortly after he left the Post to discuss what he could do for the online magazine (which, oddly enough, owned by the Washington Post Co.) Plotz said that the Post Co. has been informed of the hire, but pointed out that Slate is “editorially independent from the newspaper.” [Though, as with Newsweek, it embraces an identical liberal POV to the mothership -- Ed]

Since leaving the Post, Weigel wrote a freelance article an the tea party movement for Slate. Now he’s signed a one-year contract with the publication, which Plotz said he hopes will last longer.

It’s fortunate for Weigel that he still has some friends at the Washington Post-owned publication; Dan Riehl spots others on the left attacking him for not completely toeing the party line.

Update: At Newsbusters, Lachlan Markay posits, “The news that Weigel has been hired by a Post-owned publication suggests that his resignation was just a move to shield him — and possibly the Post — while the controversy blew over. Though the biosphere is still buzzing about the JournoList scandal, pundits have been largely silent on Weigel’s role in that scandal since shortly after his resignation.”

Update: Daniel Foster at the Corner: “One wonders if he has to fill out new W-4s.”

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