Monday, June 6, 2011

Ugh. Weiner Lied and I Admit I Believed Him

Sadly, I spent multiple hours this past week questioning the conventional wisdom about Anthony Weiner based on a lewd tweet he sent out which was later posted on Andrew Breitbart's websites. I still think that Breitbart covered the story irresponsibly in many (but not all) ways. For example, I think it was wrong for someone at the Breitbart sites to crop the original photo to change its context. I also think it was shameful for Breitbart to allege that Weiner had "relationships" with "quite young girls" based on sources that even he later said were questionable. And most of all, I think it was despicable for Jim Gateway Pundit Hoft to post photos and personal information of high school girls just because Weiner followed them on Twitter, and for Breitbart to allow Hoft to link to that disgusting post from his website.

But, ultimately, I made the age-old mistake of thinking that because Weiner was a smart and righteous congressman he would also be a smart and righteous person in his personal life, and in that I was definitely mistaken. I especially believed that there was no way he'd be stupid enough to post lewd photos of himself to a public forum, but he was. He sure was.

The worst part is that I do think the media did a sloppy job covering this story (unless they knew things they weren't saying publicly), yet I'm sure at this point they will conclude that their approach to potential sex scandals has been completely vindicated. I'll even bet there will be some clown writing a story about what an honest and ethical "journalist" Breitbart is in the next couple day, so we've probably moved almost back to square one on how the media treats his garbage. The media, to some extent like Congressman Weiner (though not nearly to the same degree), is also prone to having the rational parts of their brains short-circuited by things like sex , theatrics, and controversy, and this is a problem that will need to be combatted even more vigorously in the future if we're going to have any hope of reasonable discourse.

And the last thing to note is that there have been some really crappy diaries and blogs promoted by the left that claimed, without any good evidence, that Breitbart and Loesch were responsible for "hacking" Weiner's account. I argued against these posts. Here's me (amazingly?) defending Dana Loesch about an allegation that she was asking how to "hack" an account:

And here's a comment of mine on Daily Kos asking people to stop making baseless accusations:
I'm very critical of Breitbart and Loesch. If you want proof, you can see what I write about them here and here. I've also bitten my tongue for a while at the recent diaries on this subject. However, at this point, there can no longer be any doubt that these sloppy attacks on Breitbart and Loesch are doing far more to damage the credibility of the lefty blogosphere than helping anything.

Breitbart and Loesch are absolutely guilty of shameful behavior in this mess. They irresponsibly pushed bogus information and, as can be seen on the CNN clip, Breitbart lied when he claimed he didn't use any of @patriotusa76's (Wolfe's) dishonest smears.

However, the claims that Breitbart, "realizes some serious criminal charges are coming and he’s either a co-conspirator or an accessory after the fact to a federal felony." or that Loesch "appears to have been intimately involved in a computer intrusion crime" are simply not supported by the facts. They're not.

If you want to say that it looks suspicious and should be investigated, that's fine. But acting, as diaries on this site have done multiple times, like there is conclusive evidence that Breitbart conspired to hack Weiner's account puts a giant bullseye on Daily Kos as a site that irresponsibly throws allegations around. Breitbart is guilty of pushing a smear from an untrustworthy source. The details of what precisely happened to Congressman Weiner's phone are still being worked out. To claim more than that, and especially to do so flippantly, is profoundly irresponsible and ultimately self-destructive. We need to do better than this.
Though the lefty blogosphere is about 100 times more honest and ethical than folks like Breitbart, I nevertheless hope that they've learned some lessons from this debacle. I know I have.


  1. Tallulah; In my opinion, Weiner, as many politicians use their political influence to pose an aura of righteousness that they don't fully have. Just because Weiner and others have seen how they get away so easy they keep the lie, but the minute they start blaming another one, that makes it a dirty politician.
    In this case he believed his own lie, but later starting blaming Breitbart & others, mostly of the opposite side, and that, and the fact that he was "stonewalled", was the factor why he "sung like a Canary".
    If he would have admitted from d beginning he blew 1 photo, things would have kept low or have died then but he elaborated the lie.
    When people have the ability to lie so inconspicuously and carry with them great power with society, that makes it a threat to society for when scruples lack, be it for a psychological disease, easiness or just plain fear he can confuse state and nation matters into this practice.
    Many of us were misled, for we do not have a ball of truth to see their thoughts.
    It is all a matter of trust and they are masters of deception.

  2. So disappointing: Not you, Adam: I'm referring to Weiner. His behavior was juvenile at best. The phenomenon of boys behaving badly [and that's not to excuse it--not at all!] crosses all political and socio-economic boundaries.

  3. I will admit, I was bamboozled, too.

    However, his behavior is not all that uncommon, especially in this day-and-age. It's especially amazing how many people of both sexes undergo a mid-life crisis that frequently involves some sexual content.

    I'm not defending the Congressman; just acknowledging his behavior is more common than the MSM seems to be implying.

    The lessons he should take out of this are: 1) don't use social media for bad behavior, and 2) don't lie about it afterward.

  4. John Cole's post sums it up best here:

  5. So as long as the Democratic Party doesn't run with the slogan "Sticking it in your face", I think we should be OK.

    I can't believe he still has a twitter account. If it had been anyone else doing it, twitter would have suspended the account.

    Still, I like this tweet that @PimpBillClinton wrote yesterday:
    "Damn, @RepWeiner you're an amateur. You're supposed to have the chicks send YOU their naked pictures, dumbass."