The great thing about this new media-era we’re currently living in (at least for the media), is that there’s no accountability. This means the media can do whatever it wants and manufacture whatever reality it would like to manufacture. For example: To protect Democrats and Obama, our struggling economy is manufactured into something roaring. But BuzzFeed Politics’ reminds that the media can also use this newfound freedom to protect one another.
In a piece published late this morning ripping the Washington Post for not being as cool as BuzzFeed, Rosie Gray mentions Slate’s Dave Weigel, and the events surrounding his parting of the ways with the Post in June of 2010:
Late to the internet and struggling to maintain its status as a top-tier news outlet, the Post turned to high-profile, often partisan bloggers, led by the liberal policy wonk Ezra Klein, to generate traffic and buzz. But the outlet’s unfamiliarity with the online news environment quickly showed: Their first conservative blogger was fired in a plagiarism flap, and the second, Dave Weigel, was let go after Post management learned — apparently to their surprise, if not to his actual readers’ — that he wasn’t a movement conservative.
Such a well-crafted piece of above-it-all, ironic distance.
No, really, that paragraph really is a thing of BuzzFeedian beauty.
Except it isn’t true.
And it’s not just not true, it’s Orwellian not true in that in-your-face way that’s proud of how untrue it is and knows it doesn’t matter that everyone knows it’s untrue.
Anyone even somewhat familiar with media, knows that BuzzFeed is rewriting history here. But BuzzFeed doesn’t care, because in this new media-era, it’s not the truth that matters, it’s what the media wants to be the truth that matters. (Again, see: Economy, Obama’s…)
But just for kicks, let’s correct the record and tell the truth. I know it doesn’t matter anymore, and I don’t mean to come off as old-fashioned and force my values on anyone. But for old time’s sake, let’s pretend truth does matter.
In June of 2010 Weigel “resigned” from the Washington Post after it was discovered he had participated in something called Journolist; which was made up of a cabal of several hundred journalists, some of whom were caught red-handed (after the listserv leaked) coordinating coverage.
Among other things, some Journolist members coordinated coverage to aid and abet Barack Obama’s run for the presidency — especially when the Jeremiah Wright story broke. Some Journolist members also coordinated to brand Republicans as racist. The rest of the Journolist apparently remained silent and did nothing as they watched this corruption unfold in real-time.
From what we know, Weigel’s sins were a little more childish. The blogger charged with covering the conservative movement for the Post heaped scorn on movement conservatives. Angry at Rush Limbaugh for saying he hoped Obama would fail, Weigel hoped Rush’s heart would fail. Weigel also called for Matt Drudge to light himself on fire. Those are just a couple examples.
Weigel’s fatal error, though, might have been making people believe the first set of leaked emails was all there was (one bad day). After The Daily Caller published a second batch, Weigel and the Post parted ways.
So why else would BuzzFeed publish something that’s so in-your-face untrue?
Well, for starters, BuzzFeed Politics’ editor-in-chief Ben Smith and his merry band of BenSmithers have some sort of Twitter love affair going with Weigel. All day long , it’s back and forth about how awesomely snarky, shallow, and progressive one another is.
The main reason for the Journolist memory-holing, though, probably has to do with Ben Smith himself.
You see, Smith was also a member of Journolist.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC