Correcting Slate's Dave Weigel


Dave Weigel acknowledges in his Journolist 2.0 analysis that as a member of the original Journolist, his take may not be well received.

I didn’t have a problem with his write up until I got to this:

Why dilineate [sic] between activist journalists and non-activists? It’s tough, I’ll give you that. But it’s necessary, because the people battered in this Loesch piece are actually a lot like… well, like Loesch. They participate in the media to give ideological takes on stories. Loesch, editor of Big Journalism, is also a Tea Party activist who speaks at events. This sort of cross-pollination was pivotal to the rise of the Tea Party.

I’m identified on television as a tea party activist. I’ve never hid it. My participation in the media is because the tea party had become a formidable force and earned recognition; my participation was not designed to to make it such and the suggest presupposes that the media hasn’t been mostly hostile to the movement. The media did not “aid” the tea party; the tea party grew in spite of it. I am not an “unbiased” NBC anchor who reports on the tea party while hiding the fact that I help write messaging for it.

Ratigan and Taibbi, especially the former, report on the Occupy movement and expect to be taken objectively, Ratigan more so. Ratigan was actively reporting on the movement while helping them revise their message and failing to disclose to his audience that he was doing so. Disclosure is the big critique here, something I’m frankly surprised Weigel misses.

If Weigel can produce emails showing how NBC, or any, anchors worked clandestinely with tea partiers to craft proper messages, then he may have a point. Until that time, though …


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