“The story is not Dave Weigel. The story is Journolist,” conservative Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart said Monday in a brief telephone interview, explaining why he published Weigel’s account of the career trajectory that led Weigel from libertarian Reason magazine to the Washington Post and now to unemployment.
It was Weigel’s sarcastic e-mails to Journolist, the supposedly off-the-record e-mail group run by Ezra Klein, that resulted in his forced resignation Friday from the Post.
Breitbart said Journolist functioned as a “cabal” through which liberal reporters and editors colluded to counteract the influence of alternative media voices like Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh.
Especially after the 2004 election, Breitbart said, liberals realized they had “lost control of the narrative,” and began organizing projects aimed at preventing stories that hurt Democrats from gaining traction in mainstream media. Breitbart compared the Journolist “cabal” to Professor Peter Dreier’s “Cry Wolf” project that offered $1,000 fees to academics for papers pushing back against conservative policy proposals.
By exerting peer pressure within the press corps, Breitbart said, the participants in Journolist influenced reporters like Weigel to adopt their practice of treating Drudge and Limbaugh as enemies, and to suppress story angles that favored conservatives.
“Anybody who thinks this story is just about David Weigel needs to turn in their credentials as a media critic,” Breitbart said.