Liberal Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein has disbanded the “Journolist,” an e-mail list-serv catering to liberal journalists, professors and think tank experts, after e-mails from one of its prominent members were made public yesterday.
That Journolist member, Washington Post reporter David Weigel, resigned Friday. E-mails disclosed by The Daily Caller showed he disparaged conservatives he covers for the Post and rooted for Democrats to succeed on key issues such as health-care reform.
Meanwhile, key conservative anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform informed Weigel he would no longer be permitted to attend the group’s weekly off the record gathering of conservative activists. In e-mails revealed by The Daily Caller, Weigel told the roughly 400 members of Journolist what took place at one of ATR’s meetings.
In profanity-laced e-mails obtained by The Daily Caller, Weigel hoped top conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh would die, called Matt Drudge an “amoral shut-in” and heaped criticism on a range of other conservatives.
Reached late Thursday by phone, Weigel said: “My reporting, I think, stands for itself.”
“I’ve always been of the belief that you could have opinions and could report anyway … people aren’t usually asked to stand or fall on everything they’ve said in private.”
Some conservatives who had previously criticized Weigel for a series of remarks critics said displayed his deep disdain for his conservative subjects leaped to condemn Weigel for the e-mails reported by The Daily Caller.
Lachlan Markay of the site NewsBusters said the e-mails disclosed by The Daily Caller showed an apology Weigel gave Thursday for separate e-mails revealed by media blog FishbowlDC was insincere.
“The new e-mails also demonstrated that yesterday’s quasi-apology from Weigel was really not as sincere as he claimed. He said that he made some of his most offensive remarks at the end of a bad day. But these new e-mails show that there was really nothing unique about them, and that offensive remarks about conservatives really were nothing new or uncommon,” Markay said.
Other conservatives, often personal friends of Weigel, defended him.
The American Spectator’s Phillip Klein wrote, “This and other private comments by Weigel have contributed to the charge that he’s hostile toward conservatives and a standard-issue liberal, but I don’t think that’s accurate. I could just as easily report on private conversations in which he’s revealed a fondness for Ronald Reagan, a willingness to vote for Bobby Jindal as president and agreed that Van Jones should have been fired for his 9/11 trutherism.”
Numerous conservatives said Friday that Weigel’s coverage of them had been fair.
Klein, in a blog post, said he was disbanding Journolist because “insofar as the current version of Journolist has seen its archives become a weapon, and insofar as people’s careers are now at stake, it has to die.”
Klein founded Journolist in 2007, and the list-serv became a popular outlet for liberals to discuss politics off the record. Conservative critics had feared the discussions served as a means for liberals to coordinate their message to the public. Prominent members have included Paul Krugman of the New York Times; Ben Smith and Mike Allen of the Politico; Jeffrey Toobin of CNN and the New Yorker; Eric Alterman of the Nation, and Matthew Yglesias of the Center for American Progress