Dave Weigel has resigned from his job at the Washington Post, which seems a bit much — but that’s Weigel’s call to make, and his editors at WaPo apparently agreed.
I’d read Weigel starting with his stint at Reason about three years back. He was always caustic, often funny, and typically cranky — an angry left-libertarian. Now, left-libertarian isn’t the most tenable position, but it isn’t exactly unusual, either. And at a time when the GOP is in charge, a voice like Dave’s wasn’t just good for Reason, it was downright necessary.
Man, was I fooled.
From the moment Weigel started at the Post, it became pretty obvious that he wasn’t a libertarian of any sort, left or otherwise. And if you followed his Twitter feed, his “progressive” tilt, and open hostility towards most anyone to the right of, say, Dave Weigel, weren’t even debatable.
Still and all, I kept on reading him. Why? Because Weigel was caustic, often funny, and typically cranky. Time was, these were traits we looked for in a good journalist — or at least traits we expected to find. Weigel had a great nose for hypocrisy, and took cruel delight in pointing it out wherever he found it.
Well, provided that he found it at a Tea Party. Or in the Republican Caucus. Or at a Ron Paul event. By Weigel’s lights, “conservatism” was little more than a nice word for racist, moronic, bullying, violent, angry liarheads. For everyone left of center, however, Weigel took a decidedly Sergeant Schultz approach to what’s news: “I know nothink! I see nothink!”
But that was OK, because covering the Right was his beat. You don’t expect a sports writer to cover a county commissioners meeting, and you don’t expect Dave Weigel to look for the ugliness on the Left.
You do, however, expect a reporter to feel something more than disdain (or at least something in addition to) for the people he covers. If you hate hockey — and football and baseball and basketball and soccer — maybe you shouldn’t take the sports beat. And judging by Dave’s Journ-O!-List™ rants, “hate” might be too weak a word. “Ratfucker” was one of his favorite adjectives for righties, and he seems to have dropped the R-bomb as about as often as I drop a martini down my gullet.
Now by all accounts, Weigel’s a personable, likable guy. I’d probably enjoy sharing a few cocktails with him. Well, right up until the part where I casually let it slip that there are some things I respect about Ron Paul. At which point Weigel would let me know that the bar might be a much nicer place if I were on the outside of it. And set myself on fire.
At Reason, Weigel always did a fair job of keeping the magazine honest, covering conservatives. At the Washington Post, Weigel was just another sneering lefty — and WaPo already has plenty of those.
And apparently, Weigel’s editors agree.