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Weinergate: A curious scandal


Congressman Anthony Weiner's salacious Twitter scandal, in which a lewd photo was allegedly tweeted from his account by a hacker to a female college student, has juiced up an otherwise slow news week with adolescent headlines. Plus, people love to follow a good scandal, especially when it's about powerful men behaving badly, as DSK  and Arnold Schwarzenegger  have continued to prove in recent weeks. But why exactly are we so interested in the would-be New York mayor? Opinionators weigh in.

Is this news?

"What if news media spent as much time covering Twitter scandals as it did climate crisis, undeclared wars and joblessness?" Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor at the Nation, wondered on Twitter.

"For those saying we shouldn't cover the Weiner story," CNN's Anderson Cooper wrote, "would [you] feel same way if this had happened to a conservative [R]epublican? Just asking."

-- Dylan Stableford, The Cutline

What's with Weiner's suspicious defense?

Asked by NBC’s Luke Russert whether the photograph was of his own genitals, Weiner replied:  "You know, I can't say with certitude."

So the hacker not only got into Weiner's Twitter account but also into his pants? Or, Weiner has a whole collection of lewd photographs of himself, but he can't be sure the private parts in this particular photo are his own?

--Dana Milbank, Washington Post

Why won't Weiner ask for an investigation of the hack into his account?  Weiner's response yesterday that he wanted to save taxpayer money doesn't seem like a credible response for a man who wanted the federal government to institute a single-payer system that had Uncle Sam running the health-care sector.  Better yet, why is Weiner still using the same Twitter account if he really did get hacked, as he claims?

--Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

Weiner's "uncharacteristically defensive performance" was "totally and completely out of character," says Steve Kornacki at Salon.  He's typically "a smart, cocky, quick-witted quote machine." By dodging questions, says Dan Amira at New York, "Weiner is only inviting more suspicion on himself." And his "attempts to move on seem to just be making it worse," says Kashmir Hill in Forbes.

--The Week, via Yahoo!

Is Weiner afraid to initiate an investigation because it's a felony to make false claims?

Legal analysts say one possible explanation for Mr. Weiner's reluctance to approach authorities may be that it is also a felony to make false claims to federal investigators. Martha Stewart learned that the hard way after she was convicted of lying to FBI agents.

--John Fund, Wall Street Journal

Does this botch his plans to run for mayor of New York?

Would the mere existence of such a photo make him a bad person? Unfit for office? Not if the context is two consenting adults, neither of whom is the other's supervisor. Commenter Mitchell Young correctly made that point on my last post. The only scenario that's problematic is if he were sexually harassing the 21-year-old female mentioned in the tweet, but she says that wasn't the case.

--Jon Healey, Opinion L.A.

He could have handled himself better -- and it's not too late.

 [I]f evidence does emerge that he is sending lewd pictures to young women, he should be held to account for both harassment (the digital equivalent of street flashing) and lying to the public. But no one has presented any such evidence.

Meanwhile, though, Weiner's lame explanations seem to indicate that he has an embarrassing secret. Coming clean might be less embarrassing than continuing to feed the media beast.

--Los Angeles Times editorial

Then again, Weiner’s not known for his maturity.

The question about Weiner has always been about his maturity, which is why the current Twitter foolishness is so damaging. Whatever the facts surrounding the photo that may or may not show the congressman's boxer-brief endowment, Weiner's reaction to questions about the trouser-tweet has been amateurish. First he tried to play it off as malicious hacking, then he angrily blasted a reporter as a "jackass," then he bumbled into a ridiculous sort-of admission that it's him in picture. Okay, so Weiner is embarrassed (and let's not forget the role of Andrew Breitbart in getting this started) -- but if this is how he deals with uncomfortable personal questions, voters are going to have a tough time imagining him leading the city in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. True, a bad temper and contempt for the press are hardly disqualifiers (see Koch, Ed, and Giuliani, Rudy), but those guys were already in City Hall before their nastier sides took over.

--Chris Smith, Daily Intel



How lowering California's prison population is good for the state

Reflecting on Oprah's legacy

Obummer: What was missing from Obama's Middle East speech

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: The American commentary on France's reaction to DSK's alleged sex scandal

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) on Capitol Hill in Washington speaking to the media regarding a lewd photo tweet. Credit: Alex Wong / AFP/Getty Images


Comments () | Archives (15)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ron Holland

Read “Weiner the Left-Leaner” a short 600 word editorial describing why Congress is so incompetent and unable to accomplish anything constructive and why America needs honorable congressmen like Ron Paul to solve the serious problems facing our nation.




This story is a scandal that is feeding upon itself because that Congressman is proving himself to be what most decent citizens - not the wackos on the Left and Right extremes - hate more than those with simply differing political views: Decent people hate hypocrites and liars. This idiot has pranced about for years as a holy "fighter" of the people when in fact his actions - including and at least having lascivious communications with a porn star in addition to this goofy frat boy picture ordeal - proves that he has neither the moral strength nor the honesty to ever be a true "fighter" for any decent citizen.

Bill Schmalfeldt

I just love how the people who want to kill medicare and gut entitlements want to spend the money for a FULL FEDERAL INVESTIGATION into Weiner's manparts. I swear, it gives me nightmares!

…one of which is depicted here!


Patrick Egan

When it comes to certitude, do you know what Wiener does know with certitude? He knows whether or not he took a picture of himself in his underwear. Get the question answered. That's a beginning to getting to the bottom of this.

glenn grab

face it, Weiner is another Elliot Spitzer....a self-rightious, narcissistic, hypocrite....he really screwed this one up, this is the end for him, good riddance to bad rubbish!!

trust no one

Weiner took a non-story and made it into a circus because he hasn't been honest. It's never the lie... it's the cover-up. Too bad Anthony's not a student of history. If he had been, this would have already gone away.


Now before everyone goes off half-cocked -- hacked, whacked or jacked this looks like a Weiner cover-up!


He did it. The punk sent a photo via his twitter account to a 21 year old strudent in Washington. It goes to a lack of character, something many politicians are guilty of regardless of party affiliation. The liberal media is simply making excuses for him. Give me a break.

David Ehrenstein

Why does Andrew Breitbart's name fail to appear in this article?


We pay Congress to do the people's work, not goof off on social web sites. A Congressman who "allegedly" has his computer hacked and calls a lawyer instead of law enforcement has, at minimimum, no common sense or judgement. He should resign, as he is obviously incompetent and is only there for his own welfare.


The delicious schadenfreude of this debacle is truly something to savor. Here we have the supposed Liberal Lion, defender of the progressive faith, brought down to earth by this cheesy affair. We're always supposed to take him so seriously because he is held up as a smart progressive who cares deeply about the downtrodden proletariat. To the hand-wringing guilty Left, this is their guy. What a banquet of laughs for all to enjoy.

John clarke

It is sad to see a smart man turned what may have been an embarrassment into a scandal.


A idiotically fact-free "scandal". You can't tweet pictures, Twitter is limited to 140 characters. There is no woman in Seattle saying she received a picture from Wiener.


I was at a Border's bookstore and noticed a vent above the urinal which could easily hide a small camera. A photo of the type used here could be easily gotten.

I'm suspicious because of the history of the guy who brought us this "scandal, Andrew Brietbart. His history includes photos and videos of exactly this type.

It's actually a photo of nothing, and it's a manufactured scandal.

Just like the DrudgeReport, the source has an agenda.


I hate lying. I realize in today's world it's an ongoing battle but Wiener lied. Period. I was a fan of his rhetoric but now I see a self-protecting liar.

I understand mistakes and stupid behavior. Had Rep Weiner said, "oops, bad form, got carried away" instead of arguing with reporters I'd have rolled my eyes and moved on. But he spent a full week lying and lying and lying. Like that doesn't open the door to digging into every corner so now we've added stupid. He needs to go - he is not a man of substance.

He joins a growing list of those who thought they could do what they wanted and bully their way through it. Sure, we should be on more substantive issues, but maybe a person's foolish and immature behavior is a substantive issue for Congress. Maybe it explains why they get so little accomplished. The good ones must sometimes feel overwhelmed by the idiots.



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