Dave Weigel to WaPo
Longtime blogger Dave Weigel is the latest to get scooped up by a major legacy outlet:
David Weigel, who’s been covering the right for the Washington Independent, will soon be heading to the Washington Post.
Weigel joins the Post on April 5, and will be launching a blog focused on the conservative movement, tea party activists, and how the GOP’s preparing for November.
National editor Kevin Merida confirmed the news to POLITICO and said that Weigel will be “a voice on our politics page online and a presence that will add to our robust coverage of the 2010 midterm elections.”
Does the conservative moment, until perhaps two years ago the dominant political ideology in the country for decades, really need a beat reporter? Apparently.
“I’ve been lucky to cover a really amazing, surprising political story in the remaking of the GOP and the rise of the Tea Parties,” Weigel told POLITICO. “I take them seriously; they’re building something brand new, something that defies conventional wisdom. If readers get a deeper understanding of these people, their strategy, and their ideas, then I’m doing my job.”
Weigel previously worked at Reason magazine, where he also reported on the conservative movement, along with Ron Paul’s presidential run. At the Washington Independent, he’s been one of the most prolific and best-sourced reporters on the beat. (That’s in addition to frequent tweets on politics, among other subjects).
Dave’s a strong writer with good instincts. My only complaint with his reporting for TWI, which strikes me as starkly different from what he produced for Reason, is that being so narrowly focused topically makes it sometimes seems that he’s piling on. That’s almost unavoidable when one guy writes 20 pieces a day about a single topic.
With Weigel aboard, it’s clear the Post wants to make sure the conservative movement is fully covered in print and online. In addition to Weigel, the paper recently assigned a reporter in National to cover the tea party movement and developments within the Republican Party.
When I asked Merida if the Post might hire another blogger to cover politics on the left and the activist wing of the Democratic Party, he responded: “Stay tuned.”
I wouldn’t hold my breath. There are conservative bloggers aplenty “covering” the left but I can’t think of one offhand who’s doing it in a manner with which the Post would be comfortable.
Weigel isn’t a liberal, but a libertarian (affiliated with Reason magazine) with significant overlap with the concerns of conservatives, but with little patience for the more imaginative flights of the TEA set. The nearest equivalent would be for the Post to have hired a liberal hawk to cover the antiwar movement: say, Peter Beinart, or Jonathan Chait. That didn’t happen, but it’s hardly unthinkable.
But there are already a plethora of David Broder and Cokie Roberts types out there, centrist lefties who shake their heads over the nuttier fringes of the Left. But that wouldn’t make for an interesting blog.
Now there’s an Overton window moment–David Broder and Cokie Robers are lefties of any stripe? Now I know you live in DC, James, but seriously–does anyone outside DC take those two for anything other than Village scolds?
I think they’re in the comfortable center-left in the JFK/LBJ mold.
I think they’ve been well compensated journalists and commentators for decades.