A calendar that compares Barack Obama to Jesus Christ may not get too much media play. It could be an uncomfortable reminder of the time when journalists, such as Evan Thomas, compared the President to "God."
One of the hottest selling items at the Democratic National Convention is a 2013 calendar titled "Keep the Dream" that features 16 flattering photos of the First Family and their dogs. In honor of the President's birth month, a picture of Obama's birth certificate was used for August. The caption read "Heaven Sent" and proceeded to quote John 3:16 underneath, as if he were the actual Messiah.
At their website, NPR tried to add to the controversy that CNN would dare to air Rep. Michele Bachmann offering a Tea Party response to Obama's State of the Union address, despite her "history of inflammatory remarks." Reporter Corey Dade underlined that it could undermine CNN's image of neutrality, as if it wasn't a liberal network:
"I can't figure how you can partner with a political action committee and claim to be neutral," says Kelly McBride, who teaches media ethics at the Poynter Institute, a journalism training center.
It's the season of good cheer and if you want a really good belly laugh then check out David Weigel's August prediction in Slate that the Democrats in the lame duck session of Congress would NOT attempt to ram through legislation in the final days as their term winds down. Here is Weigel proving he is something less than another Nostradamus with his August assertion that the conservative suspicion at the time that Congress would attempt such a maneuver was really nothing but silly political paranoia:
...The latest attack comes from Republicans who demand that Democrats promise not to 1) call a lame duck session after the election or 2) pass anything substantial if they do call it.
Anxiety was pretty high in the heat of battle with the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. However, a lot of that tension exists beyond the state of Delaware and there have been self-proclaimed conventional wisdom wizards critical of how the electoral process in Delaware has worked itself out.
"This is absolutely pathetic," Weigel wrote of Levin's critique. "No, Mark, when reporters investigate female candidates, they are not ‘obsessed,' any more than you're obsessed with Hillary Clinton when you call her 'her thighness' and ‘Hillary Rotten Clinton.' They're reporting. For all of your posing about legal theory and the Constitution, you make it pretty clear here that you're a political hack."
The "recent unpleasantness" at the Washington Post was, to conservatives at least, entirely predictable. What decent left-leaning journalist could live among the remote, primitive tribes known as conservatives and not be driven just a little bit mad? (If the Post's editors were embarrassed, they could at least take comfort that their man hadn't "gone native.")
Predictable, but no less unfortunate. The Washington Post dearly needs someone to explain conservatism to its editors and staff. Why?
A look through the June 30 edition of the Washington Post gives a pretty good indication. No, not the puff piece on Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. (Apparently a photo of the grown man in charge of a vast federal agency wearing a bike helmet is supposed convey competence. The caption reads - really - "Ray LaHood has worked to expand transportation safety, including emphasizing the rights of cyclists in federal transportation policy.)
It shouldn't be the slightest bit surprising that David Weigel has become an "MSNBC contributor" after the Washington Post dismissed him. Since the Post announced his hiring on March 23, Weigel appeared on MSNBC 20 times -- 16 on Countdown, 3 on Hardball, and once on The Rachel Maddow Show.
While the Post hosted Weigel's "Right Now" blog, he was almost completely absent from the actual newspaper. His byline count since he was hired is....one, a snarky May 29 Style section piece on Sarah Palin's new journalist neighbor Joe McGinniss suggesting she's a "hysterical" woman with an "ability to incite hatred." (This doesn't count after-the-story credit lines like "David Weigel contributed to this report," of which there were a handful.)
Twenty MSNBC appearances to one Post byline. It seems like he should have been paid by NBC-U the entire three months.
Former Washington Post writer David Weigel has attempted to explain away his Journolist e-mails attacking conservatives by claiming he was a trash-talking thoughtless jerk. If you think that self-damnation was bad, at least it was much better than admitting something even closer to the truth which would be that he deviously allowed people to think of him as a conservative. In fact, he is still lamely making that conservative claim in his Big Journalism article but first the jerk confession:
...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...
In the Saturday Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz wrote up the resignation of blogger David Weigel, whose disgust for conservatives was too much for the Post to defend for a man hired to cover conservatives. Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli lamented "we can't have any tolerance for the perception that people are conflicted or bring a bias to their work."
Everyone brings some bias to their work, and some Post reporters bring plenty. I'd guess he means that the Post couldn't have the perception that a reporter/blogger viscerally hates the people he's supposed to cover, and wants some of them dead. Brauchli bristled at the idea that the Post didn't exactly take a hard look at Weigel's writings before hiring:
Asked about Weigel's strong views about some conservatives, Brauchli said: "We don't have the resources or ability to do Supreme Court justice-type investigations into people's backgrounds. We will have to be more careful in the future."
The idea that Washington Post writer David Weigel was supposed to be a conservative -- and not merely someone reporting on the conservative movement -- was clearly not based on a review of Weigel's output. Weigel didn't just deconstruct conservatives for the Post, but was also presented twice recently by National Public Radio as a wise man assessing the fringiness of conservatives. Last October, they wanted to know how strange Fox News was, and whether they could be blamed for Tea Party protests. Weigel called their influence "massive." Weigel typically suggested Fox and Glenn Beck were not "realistic" in painting President Obama as connected to ACORN and the SEIU.
On NPR's Fresh Air on February 23, before he joined the Post, Weigel reported on CPAC and the Tea Party and embraced host Terry Gross's idea that conservatives shouldn't be big fans of government-enhancing Dick Cheney:
GROSS: So if the conservative movement is glad that Bush isn't around anymore, and if they think that he embraced big government, why was Dick Cheney such a rock star at CPAC? I mean, if anything, Cheney is the person most responsible for the expansion of the powers of the executive branch.
Sarah Palin won’t be singing that familiar Mister Rogers Neighborhood tune to author Joe McGinniss anytime soon. Palin’s reaction to her newest neighbor has provided the latest fodder for Washington Post “Right Now” blogger David Weigel, adding to his collection of blog posts and tweets against prominent conservatives.
Weigel’s May 26 post, “Sarah Palin’s strange, unprofessional and paranoid grudge” labeled Palin’s Facebook note “immature” and “sounding angry and mocking.” Weigel defended the right of journalists like McGinniss to write and research stories “as long as they’re within the bounds of the law,” criticizing Palin for thinking she has veto power over who writes about her.
Palin’s Facebook post described her surprise after noticing McGinniss observing her family from his newly rented, next-door house. McGinniss, who is working on an un-authorized biography on Palin, moved from his Massachusetts home to be closer to the subject of his book.
Washington Post “Right Now” blogger David Weigel once again has shown that he’s a peculiar choice to report on conservatism, after he bashed both traditional marriage proponents and Matt Drudge. On May 1 he tweeted, “I can empathize with everyone I cover except for the anti-gay marriage bigots. In 20 years no one will admit they were part of that.” Weigel attempted to defend his tweet in a May 3 article, “Covering Same-Sex Marriage,” but by then other members of the media had pointed out Weigel’s obvious bias on Twitter.
Weigel seems to be slow to learn from his mistakes, as this is the second time in under a week that his Twitter activity landed him in hot water. The previous incident included a “joke” accusing Drudge of child rape.
Some six months later, the animosity lives on as McDonnell tries to shore up Virginia's economy by emphasizing its historical significance. Observe this entry Wednesday at the paper's official Post Partisan blog by one Jonathan Capehart, with the not-so-subtle headline "Gov. McDonnell (R-Va.): Slave to the Confederacy":