Weigel Says He Treated ‘The List’ Like a Dive Bar


Former WaPo blogger Dave Weigel offers explanations for his behavior on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism site today in a first-person story bearing the headline, “Hubris and Humility: David Weigel Comes Clean on Washington Post, the D.C. Bubble, & the ‘Journolist.’

In it, Weigel discusses the lure of Journolist, his cockiness and what happens next.

An explanation

•To use a phrase that I’m rolling my eyes at even as I type it: Nobody told me this in journalism school. Seriously, though, nobody did! The fact that one part of journalism in Washington was a give-and-take of gossip, and that sources learned to trust one another by bitching about people and projects they didn’t like, was a total mindfuck.

Becoming ‘dazzled’ with Journolist

•You’ve read this far, so you must think I’m trying to explain away the emails leaked this week. I’m not. Here’s what happened. …A few weeks later, Ezra Klein invited me to join Journolist – which I’d known about for a year. I don’t know why he did, but I think it was an assist to a friend trying out a new job, and a way to build my list of sources. I was dazzled by the sudden, immediate access I had to more than a hundred journalists and academics, mostly on the left, some without an ideology I could discern.

Being on Journolist

•But I was cocky, and I got worse. I treated the list like a dive bar, swaggering in and popping off about what was “really” happening out there, and snarking at conservatives. Why did I want these people to like me so much? Why did I assume that I needed to crack wise and rant about people who, usually for no more than five minutes were getting on my nerves? Because I was stupid and arrogant, and needlessly mean.

What’s next

• I’m talking to a few media companies about what I’ll do next. Anyone who wanted to force me out of this business will have to settle for the consolation prize of me having to tediously inform sources of a new e-mail address. No serious journalist has defended the leak of my private e-mails; no one who works in politics or journalism would accept a situation where the things they said off the record could immediately become public. …But no serious journalist – as I want to be, as I am – should be so rude about the people he covers.

Read the full story here.