Let’s start with this fact: in the old days of “dispassionate” professional journalism, there likely would not have been a place either for Weigel nor Klein on a major newspaper, and certainly not on the national level. Both — were they hired at all — would have served several years down on the farm, learning the craft of reporting on the police beat in Boise and at sewer-district commission hearings in Hartford, before getting the call to the Show. Both would have learned that before opinions come facts and that in order to find facts, one must first divest oneself of opinions, in order to properly form them down the line. Weigel and Klein are not only what’s wrong with contemporary journalism, they’re emblematic of what plagues the whole country right now, which is being run by a collection of ardent adolescents, devoid of experience but brimming with fierce rectitude and a burning desire for payback against inherited or imaginary cultural grievances.
Friends on the JournoList assure me that it was a largely stultifying circle of policy wonks, so it’s theoretically possible that Weigel’s boisterous attitudinizing was the exception, not the rule. But what Klein doesn’t seem to understand is that his list has become the story, and that what real journalists do is get the story. Real journalists are not moonlighting policy mavens, angling for a job in the current or next Democrat administration by appearing on panels and going on television to advocate administration initiatives while news happens around them; their duty is to their publications and their readers, not their political party.
My previous comments on Dave are here: http://annatarkov.posterous.com/i-am-dave-weigel
The first graf above is gold. Opinions are ok to have. But one should start to form solid ones only after writing for years and years and years, not begin with opinions intact and seek to prove or disprove them. I’ve gone through (and continue to go through) this process myself and so do the other honest journalists I know.