Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Weiner Fallout

What a difference a day makes. This time yesterday the few mainstreamers bothering to cover the Weiner story were lecturing on sloppy journalism and the pitfalls of sexting. Today--editorials and defensive re-posturing.

Here's CNN's Roland Martin, who was doing fine until the end of his piece when he said:
Should Weiner resign? Nope. I simply don't think what we know right now is worthy of a resignation.
After excoriating the man for an entire column--not about the act itself but about the lying--Martin seems to think the only appropriate consequence for Weiner is to become fodder for the late-night comedy shows. That meme--"they all lie, big deal" will be repeated elsewhere.

The NY Times has a column explaining the quest of right wing "blogger" Andrew Breitbart along with some commentary. Their own "blogger" Michael Shear gives reasons why Weiner may or may not "survive" the scandal, including a bullet on lying:
The Lying. Many people who might have forgiven Mr. Weiner’s online antics are going to find it hard to ignore the repeated, insistent lies that he told over the last week as he tried to hide the truth. He lambasted reporters. He constructed elaborate stories for CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. He misled his staff and his colleagues. And he did so repeatedly and with gusto. Even if he convinces people that his actions online were not that bad, he may find it difficult to earn back the basic trust necessary for public service.
But unlike Martin this blogger refuses to take a stand, preferring just to throw out 5 reasons for and against resignation. Another Times opinion writer says "it's time to go" while yet another laments the political instinct of lying while remaining noncommittal as to whether Weiner's lie should control his fate.

The Washington Post has some opinions today. Greg Sargent from the Plum Line says:
Why promising young politicians — he has long been expected to run for mayor in 2013; now that seems far less likely — do these things is one of the mysteries of the ages. I don’t know if Weiner has successfully put this to bed in the eyes of the major news outlets or not. Maybe now that he’s copped to lying they’ll decide he’s done his pennance. It’s certainly possible that only conservative media outlets will try to pursue the story from here on out, though you can expect them to pressure the major news orgs to say on it.
In other words, it's a pickle trying to pretzel a reason why pathological lying should not be a career-killer for a talented attack dog like Weiner. Dana Milbank, a former regular on the Olbermann Show, called Weiner's presser an "apology-fest", cataloging all the apologies and to whom without making an editorial comment as to what should happen to him. Bold and biting commentary! But as Sargent says--the 'conservative sites' will keep their memory fresh.

MSNBC didn't provide much commentary, preferring to go with a story that mirrored Martin's stuck on stupid line followed by reassuring feedback from his constituents who don't mind stupid when it comes to a "talented public servant". They did report that major Democrats like Pelosi and Hoyer aren't standing by their man. Of course, how could they?

No shock here. The media was prepared to move on and leave the hack prank in the lap of Breitbart until he forced them into covering it by showing pictures. It was almost as if the mainstream reporters were mere puppets of the 'blogger', acting only after another morsel of red meat was thrown out but completely afraid to look for any red meat themselves. Such is the state of today's fourth estate when it comes to things that embarrass their ideology.

What about Weiner's wife? Huma Abedin, a Democratic Party insider and former close confidante of Hillary Clinton (herself no stranger to scandal) did not appear with hubby at the dais. No surprise there, but it also won't be surprising to never get a story about whether any advice was moving between the Secretary of State or her advisors and the Weiner camp, and what that advice might have been. Surely if the Representative from Craigslist (Lee) was married to a close advisor of former Secretary of State Condi Rice there may have been some inquiries.

Finally, conservatives should be careful about 'spiking the football' too hard on this one. Probably best to do a weak spike or a drop, or handoff to the ref. After all, this is congress we're discussing here--hardly a paragon of virtue on either side. As stated (and this is true), it's worse when a GOP congressperson gets caught with the hooker because the public tends to think of them as champions of family values. Sin is not confined to one side of the aisle. So the same media that has been spending equal time of late castigating Palin for her Paul Revere quote will not need a swift kick to pursue a payback story, especially after having to sit through Breitbart's victory lap presser.

As we speak Democrat oppo research agents are likely searching furiously for the something and it's likely more than a few of those folks are on the same cocktail circuit as some of our fearless media truth-tellers. Just saying.

MORE 6/7/11

In the game of politics revenge has become an arena sport. Rathergate blogger Charles Johnson, who turned from Bush backer to wingnut hater, had pinned his hopes on finally bringing down Andrew Breitbart over the Weiner hack "nontroversy". Obviously he found himself in front of a great big Jethro bowl of crow yesterday. So did he man-up and stand up? Never! Breitbart is still evil!

Showing even more signs of derangement, his latest post was published without even a fact-check (he admitted as much), which featured a breathless headline about the NY Times about to unload a sex scandal on John Boehner. Turns out it was from last year before the mid-terms. Ouch. This whole thing must be painful for him. BTW, between the time it took to first read it and do this post he has already altered it (screen cap here of the alteration). Maybe the blog fairy will come by tonight and disappear the entire thing.


Debbie said...

It is interesting how sometimes the left supports their own no matter what, other times not so much.

"Democratic leaders in Congress turned their backs Tuesday on embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner a day after the New York Democrat admitted to improper sexually-tinged communications with women and lying about it.

"I wish there was some way I could defend him, but I can't," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters. Asked what he would say if Weiner sought advice, Reid smiled and responded: "I'd tell him to call someone else.""


Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

It's indefensible. Reid did what most normal people would do, which probably got him some brownie points.

To me that was a sign to Weiner, but we'll see.