That Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and Chris Hayes of The Nation may be perpetuating the Weiner scandal apparently has not occurred to them.
Maddow told Hayes last night that she could understand why Republicans were calling for Congressman Anthony Weiner to resign, but she was at a loss to understand why his fellow Democrats in Congress were doing likewise (video clip after page break) --
HAYES: I think it's two things. I think, one, is that Anthony Weiner is not the most popular member of the Democratic caucus amongst his colleagues. He is obviously highly visible, very brash, extremely extremely ambitious, everyone knows this. He's not the kind of person who has a ton of sort of close relationships I think on the Hill and so I think that's part of it.
The other part is that I think it's just this calculation of, either this should end or he should shut up or we should just move on. I think the impulse is to stop talking about Anthony Weiner, which I think is an impulse that Lord, I share, and I hope most of the country does at this point, that that, you know, just cut it off at the pass and maybe this, then we'll move onto something else.
Talk about a peculiar "impulse" -- demonstrating how much he dislikes talking about something by continuing to talk about it. Hey, whatever it takes for Hayes to get it out of his system.
Followed by Maddow saying this --
MADDOW: Well, what explains the media blitz over Anthony Weiner that will not stop? I mean, we had, again, this is an empirical question. We have a source of comparison. Comparatively, nothing about John Ensign and even David Vitter, those scandals, as salacious as they were and much more complicated, interesting, salacious, evil arguably (laughs) than this, got almost nothing, but the Anthony Weiner saga will not end.
It's all Maddow can do to keep mulling it over while holding her nose.
It's worth noting that Maddow said this on her show last night -- after having led with the Weiner scandal for three nights in a row, starting on Monday, the day Weiner came clean, to the extent he did. In fact, more than half of Maddow's show on Monday, the first three segments, was devoted to the scandal.
The next night Maddow led again with Weiner, focusing on what she perceived as the hypocrisy of House majority leader Eric Cantor calling on Weiner to resign after Cantor had not done so when then-House colleague David Vitter was implicated in the DC madam scandal in 2007. After weighing in on this, Maddow discussed Republicans' response to the Weiner scandal with former RNC chairman Michael Steele.
The next night, June 8, Maddow again led with the Weiner story, thereby helping extend its half-life, and again focusing on Republican hypocrisy in giving Vitter a pass while now calling on Weiner to resign. (Blogger's note: in my initial draft I neglected to mention Maddow's unlikely guest for her lead story on June 8 -- Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt).
By the time the Maddow show rolled around Thursday night, Maddow apparently decided it was time to stop flogging the GOP for Weiner's indiscretions, if only momentarily. She led with the en masse resignation of Gingrich senior campaign staffers, followed by Romney's decision to skip the Iowa straw poll in August, and a Reuters story claiming Hillary Clinton may leave the State Department to work at the World Bank. After this, the inevitable segment on Weiner, with Hayes similarly perturbed by all the attention it's getting.
It wouldn't surprise me if Maddow breathed more life into the Weiner scandal on her final show of the week tonight only 24 hours after asking why the media just can't shake it.