Say hello to Mother Jones‘ National Security Correspondent Adam Weinstein, who has been splitting his time between Washington, San Francisco and Tallahassee. Next month he’ll grace Washington full-time as the mag’s new Community Engagement Editor and will continue on as their National Security Correspondent and Tumblr-starter. He was previously their copy editor. Before that, he worked at the WSJ, the Village Voice, and the Tallahassee Democrat. He’s written for the NYT, New York Magazine, GQ, and Newsweek.
He has many life titles: Navy veteran, two-day Jeopardy champion and ex-political scientist. He also did a recession-fueled stint as a military contractor in Iraq. He holds an MS in Journalism from Columbia and an MA in international affairs from Florida State. Weinstein says he’s looking forward to “getting down with” the other social media folks in Washington.
Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, he says he tried his hardest to be a beach bum. “There was lots of drinking on the beach and cutting class,” he recalled. In high school he interned at the Sun Sentinel, where he says he caught the Hemingway bug and figured journalism was something he’d always end up doing. He was a copy editor at the Tallahassee Democrat and the WSJ until Rupert Murdoch laid him off. He has funny copy editing memories: “Everybody has that moment where the front page comes out and you have a 72-point headline that reads ‘Headline Goes Here.’” He says he wasn’t a very good copy editor.
Weinstein says one of the problems journalists have is remembering that the world doesn’t revolve around them. “We all just have a tendency to assume that what we work on everyday and what comprises our world is what comprises everybody’s elses,” he says. “The best journalists are ones that can step out of that bubble and be aware of other people’s worlds.”
If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? Diet Mountain Dew. Not very classy, but irresistible, slightly Southern, and sure to make you sick in massive quantities.
How often do you Google yourself? Enough to grow hair on my iPad.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? I once told a restaurant manager I’d rather take a high colonic with a rusty chainsaw than work another minute for him. Two years later, I was writing for the Village Voice. The restaurant was out of business.
Who is your favorite working journalist and why? I can’t narrow it down. Dave Weigel is the nicest guy in the business. Mike Hastings is the most entertaining. C.J Chivers is a personal hero. I have an intellectual crush on Virginia Heffernan. But overall, right now I’d kill a man with my bare hands just to keep reading John Jeremiah Sullivan.
Do you have a favorite word? My wife and I giggle every time we say the word “backpack”, for some not-at-all-drug-related reason. When not in mixed company, I like “fuckstick.”
Who would you rather have dinner with – MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Katie Couric or ABC’s Diane Sawyer. Tell us why. Maddow, because I like to talk to PhDs. There ought to be more doctors and masters of non-journalistic shit working in journalism.
The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Helen Thomas or Joan Rivers. Who will it be? (Neither is not an option and yes, it’s possible. We’re in your imagination right now.) Joan Rivers, because I like her dirty talk.
What swear word do you use most often? “What the shit?!” I’m an ex-copy editor, so a lot of years in there, I spoke mainly in cusses. We’re the engine mechanics of the news biz.
You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) Skip Bayless, Woody Paige, Dana Loesch, Jonah Goldberg, and three dull machetes in the center of the table.
On a serious note for a moment, if you could have dinner with a person who has died, who would it be? I was raised in part by a lovely woman, April Rubin Bloom, an erudite, gentle union crusader who was like a third grandmother to me – Molly Ivins meets Atticus Finch. I was working on the wrong coast when she died, and we never got to share in each other’s excitement over my job at MoJo, one of her favorite magazines. Plus, she was the most talented cook ever to organize a NOW picket line for equal pay.
Does David Corn have a bad temper? No! He’s just a badass ex-hippie with great guitar licks and a sophomoric sense of humor.
Weinstein says Washington’s Boybanders “poop brown poop just like the rest of us” …