I think Tom Scocca wins the thread:
So Weigel was disrespectful to conservatives. What is a conservative? Apparently a conservative is someone who believes that Pat Buchanan’s professional Jew-baiting is not anti-Semitism, who admires Newt Gingrich as a shy and retiring statesman, and who is completely unfamiliar with the basic history of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. And a conservative is someone who believes that no one should say anything, even in private, that might hurt his or her conservative feelings.
How one would be respectful toward such a creature, I can’t really imagine. The Washington Post, however, sees that a vital mission.
Opinions! They are a minefield. For instance, if your job were to be an ombudsman—to evaluate reader complaints against a newspaper—and your opinion was that defenders of Pat Buchanan were entitled to be upset at seeing him called an anti-Semite, I would conclude that you were witless and untrustworthy. If your job were to be managing editor of a newspaper, and you said that in making Web hires, you would look for someone who had never expressed a strong opinion even in private, I would conclude that you were either an actual infant or you were so scared of criticism that you would jabber anything at all, even something meaningless and dishonest, if you thought it would make your critics go away.
Still, there was nothing in this episode that an editor with guts and integrity couldn’t have weathered in 72 hours. Maybe someday Weigel will be lucky enough to work for one.
I can’t add much to that. Alyssa Rosenberg raises an important subsidiary point.
In addition, like Glenn I must admit to being a mite confused about the High Standards of Journamalism we’re being lectured about. If I understand correctly, sending a few nasty emails about conservatives to a private email list is a firable offense. Sending nasty emails kicking a former colleague on the way out, on the other hand, is perfectly consistent with the sacred principles of integritude. And if you publish the latter emails while carefully preserving the anonymity of the gutless emailers, why, you’re just soaking in potty-trained journalistic integrity! If I didn’t know better, I’d think these principles were entirely ad hoc standards that always permit your enemies to be punished and your friends to do whatever they want…