If you take a look at the last paragraph of the piece in which WaPo ombudsman Andy Alexander tackles the Weigel imbroglio, it’s hard to escape the notion seems that he places most of the blame for the entire episode on the person or persons from Journolist who ratted Weigel out.
After quoting the lament of Ezra Klein—creator of the listserv, who has closed it down in response to what happened to Weigel—that such discussions can be “dangerous” because they lull members into thinking that they are private when they are not, Alexander adds:
Alas, it took only one listserv participant to bundle up Weigel’s archived comments and start leaking them outside the group. The result is that Weigel lost his job. But the bigger loss is The Post’s standing among conservatives.
Alas, indeed. Clearly, Alexander would have preferred that Weigel and the WaPo have been allowed to go on pretending that Weigel was able to give conservatives a fair and objective shake, while remaining a man filled with hatred for them who saw fit to freely spew his bile only in the comfort of a (supposedly) private club of like-minded folks.
Alexander defends the WaPo by saying that it vetted Weigel as it does any of its writers, by looking at his published work and checking his references. Alexander quotes WaPo managing editor Raju Narisetti, who oversees the paper’s website, as saying:
But we’re living in an era when maybe we need to add a level…It may be in our interests to ask potential reporters: ‘In private… have you expressed any opinions that would make it difficult for you to do your job.’
Again, it appears that the emphasis is on avoiding detection and not leaving a paper or cyber trail, not on insuring an actual objectivity of thought. And perhaps that makes sense, because true objectivity in politically interested people is most often a polite (or impolite) fiction, very difficult and rare—although newspapers and their reporters would like to pretend differently, at least to a gullible public. Far better, however, (as Alexander ponders at another point in his column, in response to a suggestion by Dan Gainor, a VP at the conservative Media Research Center) to acknowledge bias if it cannot be avoided.
But even then, Alexander doesn’t get it (or pretends not to). He writes [emphasis mine]:
The Post might consider two: one conservative with a[n] ideological bent, and another who can cover the conservative movement in the role of a truly neutral reporter.
And who, pray tell, might that latter person be? Practically no one, and it does no good to pretend otherwise. Far better to either drop all pretense of objectivity and identify the paper as liberal or conservative, and write accordingly. Or, if the best approximation of objectivity is desired, then attempt to hire a roughly equal number of equivalently excellent conservative and liberal journalists. Fat chance, right?
But either solution would blow the cover of the MSM itself, which for the most part continues to attempt to maintain its increasingly threadbare facade of objectivity.
[NOTE: Neil Patel of The Daily Caller asks a pertinent question:
Why did Klein and other JournoList contributors who work for the Washington Post stand by and allow their newspaper’s readers to be conned into thinking that Weigel was an objective reporter with no axe to grind when they knew for a fact that wasn’t true?
Perhaps Patel’s question was rhetorical, and he knows the answer already. But if not, I can offer one up right now: it is standard operating procedure. Yes, there are opinion journalists on the left, such as Klein himself, who are upfront about writing from the liberal point of view. But the entire MSM in its present form rests on feigning (wink, wink) an objectivity that does not exist in its reportage.
And one other thing—how could Weigel have thought his emails were inviolate, even on a liberal listserv? It’s another example of a bizarre amount of naivete.]