Did Ben Smith bury the lede in his article on the Washington Post's left-leaning online presence ("Washington Post shifts leftward online")? According to Smith's account, Weigel was hired by editors who thought he was a conservative who would provide "balance." And he was hired on the recommendation or their liberal blogger Ezra Klein. Klein, for his part, says he "presented [Weigel] to the paper simply as the best reporter on the subject."
So why would Post editors have thought Weigel was a conservative? Did Klein wrongly leave them with that impression?
Klein, of course, is a hyper-partisan liberal health care blogger, who recently weighed in on his blog to suggest that Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, might have been compelled to murder innocent New Yorkers because his Connecticut home was foreclosed on. Weigel covers the political right for the Post ("inside the conservative movement and the Republican party," his blog announces), and recently tweeted, "I can empathize with everyone I cover except for the anti-gay marriage bigots. In 20 years no one will admit they were part of that." Now that's objectivity! (Smith notes, "He later apologized for using the word 'bigot,' but didn’t deny the lack of empathy.")
Smith notes that some of the Post's editors are still clueless:
Some at the paper took Weigel for a true conservative counter-balance to Klein’s wonky, but fairly reliable, liberalism, two people familiar with his hiring said. Merida, in a web chat last month, was asked, “Will you (or Chris Cillizza) be adding more conservative/Republican voices to better balance what is now your predominately liberal/Democratic leaning coverage?”
He responded that “we recently have added to our staff the well-regarded Dave Weigel, who writes the new ‘Right Now’ blog,” before mentioning conservative columnists Kathleen Parker and Charles Krauthammer.
If Weigel really wants to understand the bigots and violent extremists that comprise the conservative movement and the Republican party, he might want to start by reading conservative blogs, which are noticeably absent from the blog roll on his site at the Post.
UPDATE: Weigel does link to conservative blogs in a section on his blog called "Daily Clicks." I regret implying otherwise.