Howard Kurtz and David Carr took 10 days to chew the cud of Dave Weigel.
Mr. Kurtz and Mr. Carr, the head media columnists at the Washington Post and The New York Times respectively, offered post–holiday weekend columns today that reflect on the case of the former Washington Post blogger who by now has already moved on to MSNBC.
What does it all mean about Washington, David Carr?
Make no mistake: This is a story about Washington, a place that prizes political consistency and punishes ideological deviation. Mr. Weigel is a libertarian who voted for both Ron Paul and Barack Obama, who supports gay rights and sees the bright side in Bob Barr, who supports not just open borders, but also free markets. He was also a newspaper journalist embedded in the conservative movement and a blogger embedded at The Post. Those apparent contradictions gave Mr. Weigel’s writing texture and surprise, but it also made him a pretty juicy target. Regardless of how much blather you hear about the two parties bickering in Washington, the Beltway is really a monoculture that accommodates the two poles of a debate but very little in between.
What does it all mean about journalists in the digital age, Howard Kurtz?
Journalists who once saved their candid chatter for after-work drinks now have innumerable ways to self-destruct, sometimes in as little as 140 characters. The Twitter age has brought more openness just as media types are being encouraged to share more of themselves. But the latest clashes provide a reminder that you’re never really off duty in these digital times.
Mr. Kurtz also has a nice anecdote from Mr. Weigel, saying that he needed to leave the paper becuase his continued presence might prevent other reporters from doing their jobs. “I didn’t want to put Marcus Brauchli in the position of defending me,” Mr. Weigel said.