Writing at Politico, Keach Hagey tries to sum up one possible lesson of Dave Weigel's recent firing from the Washington Post
. Hagey’s argument is that, in the new media environment, public disgrace may actually be good for your career. To bolster her point she offers several examples
Or how about Christopher Buckley? ... Buckley wrote a column for National Review until he wrote a piece for the Daily Beast titled, “Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting For Obama.” Soon after the piece was published National Review received a flurry of criticism and Buckley was forced out as damage control. Buckley continued writing books and at the Daily Beast, his credentials, with liberals at least, greatly enhanced.
David Frum provides one of the most recent examples...During the healthcare reform debates, he wrote a post called “Waterloo” in which he criticized the Republican Party’s obstruction of passing a healthcare bill. The post garnered a lot of criticism from the right and soon after “Waterloo,” AEI fired Frum. Since then, FrumForum’s traffic has continued to grow and the site has increasingly become one of the primary destinations for conservative news and analysis.
[caption id="attachment_92866" align="aligncenter" width="371" caption="David Frum"]
What do all these individuals have in common with one another and with Dave Weigel? They all moved very publicly to the left.
Buckley announced he would vote for Obama. Frum has made a career out of beating up Sarah Palin and other conservatives liberals love to hate. Weigel covered the conservative beat for the Post, where he--wait for it--beat up on Sarah Palin, Tea Partiers and other conservatives liberals love to hate. We could add Joe Scarborough, David Brooks, Andrew Sullivan and many others to the list of conservative successes in establishment media.
The lesson here isn't that public humiliation is good for your career, it's that if you want to move up in media, you have to move left
. That's why Hagey's piece doesn't include any comparable example of someone moving publicly to the right and improving his or her career prospects. It doesn't happen.
There are numerous talented conservative writers and bloggers who might have been offered high-profile positions at established outlets long ago if they'd only been liberals. Ed Morrissey and the guys at Powerline come to mind. Meanwhile, liberal bloggers like Ezra Klein and Ana Marie Cox generate a bit of buzz and suddenly they're writing for the Post
magazine. The differential treatment is real but it has nothing to do with getting canned.
The Politico piece mentions in passing that Dave Weigel will be guest blogging for Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic
next week. What a perfect example. If you're a liberal, it just takes talent to get ahead in media. If you're conservative, you'll need talent plus a willingness to agree with liberals about the conservative bogeyman of the week. Somehow that doesn’t seem right.