East Germany

…on the Potomac. I think that the phrase for the Journolisters is “hoist by their own petard.”

[Update a few minutes later]

Dave Weigel comes clean:

I was talking, largely, to liberals who didn’t really know conservatives. So I assumed they thought Hugh Hewitt was “buffoonish.” I said Gingrich had a “screwed-up tenure” because Republicans I admired, like Sen. Tom Coburn (R, Ok.) and Dick Armey, had serious problems with how Gingrich ran the House.

But I was cocky, and I got worse. I treated the list like a dive bar, swaggering in and popping off about what was “really” happening out there, and snarking at conservatives. Why did I want these people to like me so much? Why did I assume that I needed to crack wise and rant about people who, usually for no more than five minutes were getting on my nerves? Because I was stupid and arrogant, and needlessly mean. Yes, I’d trash-talk liberals to Republicans sometimes. And I’d tell them which liberals “mattered,” who was a hack, who was coming after them. Did I suggest which strategies might and might not work for liberals, Democrats, and the president? Yes, although I do the same to conservatives — in February, for example, I told many of them that Scott Brown’s election hadn’t killed health care reform, and they needed to avoid dancing in the endzone, because I was aware of what liberals were saying about how to come back.

Still, this was hubris. It was the hubris of someone who rose — objectively speaking — a bit too fast, and someone who misunderstood a few things about his trade. It was also the hubris of someone who thought the best way to be annoyed about something was to do it publicly. This is the reason I’m surprised at commentary accusing me of misrepresenting myself.

I also found this interesting:

Nobody told me this in journalism school. Seriously, though, nobody did! The fact that one part of journalism in Washington was a give-and-take of gossip, and that sources learned to trust one another by bitching about people and projects they didn’t like, was a total mindfuck.

Do they teach anything useful in journalism school?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I wouldn’t hire someone with a journalism degree as a reporter (I actually have good friends, and even relatives, so encumbered), but I’d need to know a heck of a lot more about them, and it would be despite, not because of it.

[Update a while later]

Why do major media feel the need to have a “conservative” beat? And if they do, why not hire a conservative to do it, instead of someone else sent in like Diane Fosse to study “conservatives in the mist”?

In the past several years, newspapers have assigned reporters to specifically cover conservatives, but they haven’t done the same thing for liberals. It started in January 2004, when the New York times chose David Kirkpatrick to cover the conservative movement. The goal, as Times editor Bill Keller told then-ombudsman Byron Calame in 2006, was to identify “the [conservative] thinkers and the grass roots they organize” and explore “how the conservative movement works to be heard in Washington.”

“We wanted to understand them,” Keller said of conservatives.

If you were trying to craft the most concise statement of the distance between mainstream media figures and conservatism, it would be hard to do better than that.


One thought on “East Germany”

  1. If the Potomac is East Germany, the Tea Parties are the Monday Demonstrations.


    Unfortunately we don’t have a parallel to Neues Deutchland, the ruling Communist party’s official newspaper – which was willing to expose the taxpayer-funded excesses of the nation’s top government officials (scroll down to paragraph beginning with “The final blow”).

    The American press could use a few German Commies.

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