Last Laughs: Dave Weigel Re-Hired by Washington Post Co.

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Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel resigned a few weeks ago in the wake of his off-the-record emails being leaked from fellow Post blogger Ezra Klein's infamous DC email listserv, Journolist. One of the emails had him explaining that Matt Drudge should set himself on fire, which isn't inaccurate. However, the leaks -- which looked fairly coordinated -- and following manufactured outrage against Weigel got too hot, the Post leadership was too weak, and under both, Weigel resigned. We wrote then: "Dave Weigel's gonna land, and he's gonna land softly." What happened? Weigel ended up for a short stint at MSNBC as a contributor, and now, has returned to working for the Washington Post Company again.

In other words, as the dialect of the internet would have it: SMEAR CAMPAIGN FAIL.

While Weigel's technically working for the Washington Post Co. again, he'll actually be filing now from Slate, which is owned by the people who used to sign his paychecks at the Post. Michael Calderone at Yahoo's The Upshot reports:

Slate Editor David Plotz told The Upshot that Weigel will launch a blog covering politics, but not exclusively on the conservative movement, Weigel's area of expertise. Weigel is also expected to write long-form pieces. "We're delighted to have him," Plotz said. "He's a ball of energy and fearlessness and curiosity."...Slate contacted Weigel shortly after he left the Post to discuss what he could do for the online magazine (which, oddly enough, is owned by the Washington Post Co.) Plotz said that the Post Co. has been informed of the hire, but pointed out that Slate is "editorially independent from the newspaper."

No doubt those who tried to dismantle Weigel's career could find themselves facepalm-ing this afternoon as they might have inadvertently helped land him a more comfortable, higher-paying gig, where he'll likely have more freedom than he ever did at the Post to write whatever he wants. You can almost taste the disappointment coming out of original Journolist email publisher (Fishbowl DC blogger) Betsy Rothstein's keyboard: she took the time to put scare quotes around Yahoo's characterization of Weigel's expertise, the conservative movement, which he covered for the Post. The Daily Caller -- Tucker Carlson's sketchy site, who published the majority of the emails -- has been silent on Weigel's hiring. That's the sound of crow being eaten.

It's clear the guy has a dangerous pen not just to his ideological critics, but to some of his media brethren, too, given the virulent attacks on Weigel that came out from the Washington Post in the aftermath of his resignation. Bottom line: You can't keep a good writer down.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

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