The greatest advantage to unplugging from the media's Cult of Personality is vantage: You see what others do not see. If your television, computer, or other entertainment device does not tell you someone is noble, you may conclude conduct that the person is ignoble. And so two weeks ago I first learned about the fraudulent Dave Weigel.
Apparently Weigel was someone important. Who knew? Certainly not me. All I did know was this: On June 14, 2010 a video of Congressman Bob Etheridge assaulting a college student surfaced. Regardless of political leanings, everyone in the legal blogosphere recognized the video as a criminal assault. (The video follows this post, in case you haven't seen it.)
Someone named Dave Weigel, commenting on the Washington Post's website, wrote about the assault. From the headline, we saw this amazing spin: "Who TMZ'd Rep. Bob Etheridge?"
TMZ is apparently some pop-culture company that ambushes celebrities who forget to cross their legs when going commando. What relevance TMZ had to two college students asking an elected representative a question escaped me.
The post's title forshawowed this characterization:
"Who are you?" asked Etheridge, grabbing one of the cameras and pointing it down -- a move more typically seen from Hollywood bodyguards than congressmen. The second camera rolled as Etheridge, irritated, held the wrist of the first cameraman, then pulled the student to his side and grabbed him in a hug.
A hug? None of my many dear, liberal friends viewed the assault as a "hug." We disagree about many things - guns, welfare, illegal immigration. When someone lays hands on you after you've told them, "Stop," it's not a hug.
Weigel then moved on to a classic and classic blame-the-victim narrative:
So who are the students? I don't know. The National Republican Congressional Committee tells me they didn't send them, and "DCCameraGuy" has yet to respond to my e-mail. But without any name or organizational support, just by riling up a member of Congress, the students have created the first conservative meme of the week.
Worst case, the college students were evil operatives for the Republican National Convention. Even so: By what right does a Congressman lay hands on them? By what right does a Congressman refuse to stop when he's been told to stop? Of what relevance is the students' identities?
Now I really wanted to know who this guy was. Why did someone so moronic have a column at the Washington Post? What I learned shocked me.
Dave Weigel was hired to bring ideological balance to the Washington Post. His job was to write conservative-friendly copy. Dave Weigel received his job by claiming to be a conservative.
Today he was fired. Unlike me, people decided to look beyond Weigel's pro-assault spin piece. Their research revealed:
- He was a member of a liberal-only journalist's list-serve. (Conservatives were specifically excluded from the list-serve.)
- He supported Barack Obama's healthcare reform.
- He voted for Barack Obama for President.
- He referred to supporters of Congressman Ron Paul as "Paultards."
- He claimed that most all conservatives were racist, and those who weren't racist nevertheless were blinded by their white privilege.
I've met conservatives, and Dave Weigel is no conservative.