Was disgraced Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner, who carried on several inappropriate online chats with young women, a victim of a newly “puritanical” climate in Washington? That’s the inference from Kate Zernike’s front-page story for the New York Times's Week in Review, “Naked Hubris...While digital flux makes it easier for politicians to stray,” a companion piece to Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s “When it comes to scandal, boys will be boys.”
But technology keeps adding new and in many ways more seductive temptations to the mix. And this is happening at a time when, many argue, a more prying press corps, stricter public standards and greater partisanship have combined to make Washington oddly more puritanical than it once was. Hamilton, after all, had confessed his affair to investigators in Congress several years before he was actually exposed for it. But 15 years after the House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton, revealing lurid details of his sexual dalliances with a White House intern, most politicians now know that they can’t count on the press or their peers to stay silent about straying.
The print edition text box: “Technological temptations flood in, at a time when a prying press helps make Washington more puritanical."