Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough made a strange analogy while discussing the latest Anthony Weiner sex scandal: "You know, let's just say he is the Chuck Yeager of sex scandals, he is constantly pushing the envelope, and breaking – I mean this is like The Right Stuff for sex scandals. Nobody has ever been here before, he is in new ground, new territory." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments earlier, Scarborough put Weiner in line with other disgraced politicians making political comebacks: "We now officially live in the age of Bill Clinton, where you can survive a scandal. I mean, you look at Mark Sanford, you look at David Vitter, you of course look at President Bill Clinton, you look at Eliot Spitzer....it's not about the scandal, it's about competence. And the question is, can these people do their jobs?"
For some reason, press reports I've seen thus far dealing with revelations that disgraced former congressman and now-New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner continued "sexting" after his June 2011 resignation won't directly tell us that he didn't stop sexting -- assuming we've heard the last of this, which is by no means certain -- until November 2012 or January of this year, 4-6 months before he declared his Gotham mayoral candidacy. Additionally, he kept communicating with one of his partners, while supposedly not sexting, until April, the month before he began his run.
The four-month time frame can be inferred from the first excerpted paragraph after the jump in an Associated Press report by Jonathan Lemire (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner, now a New York mayoral candidate, admitted Tuesday to sending out lewd photos of himself even after he resigned from Congress for doing so back in June of 2011.
During the previous scandal, up until Weiner's resignation, members of the media moved from casting the evidence against him as a smear job to acknowledging his mistake while imploring him to stay in Congress to mourning the "tragedy" of his downfall and resignation and insisting he was too talented to stay out of politics for long.
CBS This Morning suddenly discontinued identifying San Diego Mayor Bob Filner as a Democrat on Tuesday, after including his political affiliation in two previous reports on the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around the politician. Bill Whitaker pointed out how Filner "dismissed [the] charges...as coming from anonymous sources" and how that was "in contrast to this contrite video apology from late last week", but omitted his party ID.
Just 24 hours earlier, Whitaker reported on the morning newscast that "the city's first Democratic mayor in twenty years is embroiled in controversy and fighting for his job." On Friday, anchor Gayle King noted during a news brief that "the Democrat spent ten terms in Congress before becoming mayor less than a year ago."
On ABC's This Week yesterday, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer -- who resigned in 2008 when caught dead to rights illegally purchasing the services of prostitutes but was never prosecuted because, as announced two days after Election Day in 2008, the Department of Justice decided that "the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges" -- called the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial "a failure of justice."
Of course, Politico's Juana Summers provided none of the background yours truly just did while only referring to Spitzer as "the former Democratic governor of New York who's now a candidate for New York City comptroller." Another statement Spitzer made on the same program deserves further scrutiny, which will arrive after the jump:
For the third time in a week, ABC's Good Morning America failed to identify a politician involved in sex scandal as a Democrat. Amy Robach reported on Friday that "accusations of sexual harassment have been swirling around Mayor Bob Filner for weeks" and that the San Diego politician "apologized for what he called inappropriate behavior", but didn't include his party ID.
By contrast, Gayle King explicitly mentioned Filner's political affiliation on Friday's CBS This Morning: "The Democrat spent ten terms in Congress before becoming mayor less than a year ago. "
Thursday's CBS This Morning boosted a super PAC aimed at supporting a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016, and spotlighted how Mrs. Clinton is "sticking to a speaking circuit that recently included the opening of a children's library in Arkansas bearing her name. It's not exactly a presidential library, but it may be just another baby step toward what many believe is inevitable."
Correspondent Jeff Pegues played up the "prominent endorsements from politicians and celebrities", and how the former First Lady's backers are "already building a growing campaign infrastructure, they say, whether she likes it or not."
For the second day in a row, the journalists at Good Morning America failed to identify prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat. Yet, in a story on the politician's comeback, reporter Claire Shipman made sure to highlight former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as a Republican. Regarding Spitzer's bid to be the New York City comptroller, Shipman enthused, "A new political lesson for Eliot Spitzer: Infamy might work to his advantage."
She continued, "It certainly brought the former New York governor crowds he could not have imagined before his prostitution scandal cost him his job in 2008." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] What the reporter conveniently ignored is that Spitzer was mercilessly heckled on Thursday. A Manhattan man screamed at the Democrat, "Why were you late? Were you with a hooker?"
Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish on Monday was so gentle with reformed prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer that even the former governor seemed uncomfortable. Talking about Spitzer's new run for New York City comptroller, Smerconish enthused, "Governor, does running now mean that resigning was unwarranted?"
He continued, "Would a Spitzer victory mark the of end of the sex scandal as we know it? And I'm asking, really, have we become too intrusive into our elected officials' and candidates' private lives?" This appeared to be too much for Spitzer. He allowed, "Look, I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask, because I have a perspective that is so tailored to what I've been through." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Monday's CBS This Morning twice mentioned Kristin Davis, one of Eliot Spitzer's electoral opponents, during an interview of the disgraced former New York governor, but failed to mention that she claims to be the madam who sold Spitzer the services of prostitutes. Norah O'Donnell wondered, "Did you just look at the role of comptroller and say, 'look, I'd be running against Kristin Davis. I could probably easily get elected'.
O'Donnell led the interview with the issue of the former governor's prostitution scandal, and later mentioned Davis' name, but failed to mention the possible connection. Co-anchor Gayle King also referenced Spitzer's political adversary, but omitted her former "Manhattan Madam" role.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Monday offered an assist to liberal politicians trying to avoid being associated with the scandal-plagued former Governor of New York. While announcing Eliot Spitzer's return to public life, news reader Paula Faris avoided any mention of the fact that Spitzer is a Democrat. As she noted his bid to be New York City's comptroller, Faris simply referred to the "disgraced former governor of New York."
Over on NBC's Today, correspondent Kristen Dahlgren hyped Spitzer as "the next comeback kid." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Comparing the ex-governor to Anthony Weiner, Dahlgren enthused, "2013 may go down as the year of the second chance." Despite connecting the two New York Democrats, Dahlgren also skipped any ideological label. It wasn't until the 8am hour that co-host Natalie Morales alerted, "The Democrat stepped down in 2008 over a prostitution scandal."
Touchy, touchy. Despite Team Anthony Weiner's best efforts at political rehabilitation, there's just no way to shore up his sorest scandal spot. As the New York Post reported this week, Weiner had a bit of a snit fit when a local Democratic official boldly slammed his sexting habits with underage girls.
Chris Owens, the Dems' state committee member in northwest Brooklyn, called out the skeezy ex-congressman at a mayoral candidate forum. "I am outraged and disgusted by you," Owens told Weiner. "Both by what you did and by the fact that you have the arrogance to run for mayor. I want to understand how you explain to us how you used a public facility to tweet offensive material to ... minors you did not know, you then lied about it ... and now you come back."
MSNBC and Anthony Weiner: made for each other like a frank and a bun?
Today's New York Daily Newsreports that when NYC mayoral candidate Weiner got into an argument on the campaign trail yesterday, he boasted that despite his mistakes, "I am still gonna be out there leaning forward." "Lean Forward" is of course MSNBC's lefty slogan, featured in many promos that NB has analyzed, as here and here. More after the jump.
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, Huffington Post contributor Abby Huntsman proclaimed that following Mark Sanford's win in Tuesday's special congressional election in South Carolina, disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner "probably slept well last night knowing that he can potentially come back, too."
Co-host Willie Geist agreed: "Absolutely, absolutely." News reader Natalie Morales chimed in: "I was thinking the same thing this morning."
HBO's Bill Maher on Friday – like so many liberal media members before him – made the case for disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to be forgiven for his sins and allowed to re-enter politics.
At the conclusion of his Real Time program, Maher said, "In the not too distant future, we will elect a president whose penis we have all seen" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
The media are starting a full-court press to assist disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) in becoming mayor of New York City if he decides to run.
Jonathan Karl tried to do exactly that on ABC's This Week Sunday, and was surprisingly snubbed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who three times refused to comment on the issue (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday, the morning shows on NBC, CBS, and ABC all touted a New York Times Magazine profile of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, an article designed to rehabilitate the Democrat's image in preparation for a mayoral run in New York City. On NBC's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk explained: "Most people wanted to know whether or not he had learned from his mistakes before they could vote for him. His wife says she forgives him."
Gosk detailed Weiner's expression of regret for the 2011 sexting scandal that ended his congressional career: "Both Weiner and his wife revealing in their own words how it happened, why it happened, and the damage it caused....Weiner describes the shame and the guilt." A sound bite was featured of NYT magazine interviewer Jonathan Van Meter sympathetically recalling: "[Weiner's] still wracked with a sort of shame and pain and guilt about it, and – and he cried, I think every time I interviewed him, at some point."
Married congressman texts pics of his private parts to other women but brazenly denies it. How would you characterize the fact that he was eventually forced to resign?
If "bum rap" springs to mind, you are on the same wavelength as Michelle Goldberg of Newsweek—and probably should seek immediate professional help. Goldberg's assertion, made on day deux of Chris Hayes's new MSNBC show, was even too much for David Axelrod. View the video after the jump.
Amid all of the news breaking in Washington, from the upcoming sequester cuts to President Obama's second term agenda, NBC's Today decided to focus its Tuesday political coverage on a scandal that plagued former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford four years ago. The news hook was Sanford running in a GOP primary for the congressional seat left open by newly appointed Senator Tim Scott.
Co-host Savannah Guthrie touted an exclusive interview with the Republican: "Second chance? Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford running again for Congress years after an affair that ended his marriage and made him a political punch line. Will voters forgive and forget? This morning we'll talk to him live."
While reluctantly admitting the seriousness of the charges involving Menendez's relationship with Florida donor Dr. Salamon Melgen, Lipton suggested the partisan, shadowy origin of the charges weighed against them. The caption to a photo of a lonesome Menendez set the tone: "Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey said a partisan conspiracy focused the news media on him before his re-election." Would a conservative politician enveloped in scandal be covered from such a sympathy-inducing angle?
When then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) was caught in a sex scandal involving inappropriate instant messages to an underage boy, the media had a field day, using the matter to tar House Republicans at large in the 2006 election cycle, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted in a February 7 appearance on Fox Business Network's "Cavuto." But fast-forward six years to allegations against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and the media snoozed on the story until well after he was reelected.
"Silence! You heard nothing from the media before the election. it was this complete opposite view. In other words, we're not going to cover this if it hurts the Democrats," Bozell noted of the liberal media. [watch the full segment below]
On Tuesday's Today, while teasing NBC's third full report on the unfolding scandal surrounding New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "...we're hearing from [him] this morning for the first time about claims that he was with prostitutes during some overseas trips. Coming up, his emotional response to what he says is a false attack."
In the segment that followed, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell teed up a series of sound bites of Menendez denying the allegations and attacking those making them: "[He] denied that online story and grew emotional, saying political enemies launched a false attack." Referring to the story that broke on The Daily Caller, Menendez ranted: "...smears that right-wing blogs have been pushing since the election...It's amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a website can drive that type of story into the mainstream..."
Jay Leno did something Tuesday most media members up to that point hadn't done.
On NBC's Tonight Show, the host actually reported - albeit with jokes, of course - the FBI's investigation of Sen. Robert Menendez's (D-N.J.) alleged involvement with Dominican prostitutes (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday it was revealed that the FBI is investigating Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) for allegedly sleeping with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.
Despite this, when Menendez was given a six-minute interview with Martha Raddatz on ABC's This Week Sunday, he was not asked one question about the investigation or the allegations (commentary follows with full transcript at end of post):
During fawning reports on Thursday's NBC Nightly News and Friday's Today, the network's news personalities expressed thrill over the discovery of a collection of JFK memorabilia once owned by Kennedy aide Dave Powers, with anchor Brian Williams raving: "It's an intimate collection of time spent with the President of the United states and his family. It's the kind of memorabilia only a close friend would have. And it shows a man, our president, up close." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
What the coverage failed to mention was the recent shocking revelation by former White House intern and Kennedy mistress Mimi Alford that the late President once pressured her to perform oral sex on Powers during one their trysts. The omission was particularly surprising since Alford recalled the incident in an exclusive interview with Meredith Vieira aired on NBC's Rock Center in February of 2012.
The resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus over an extramarital affair has raised and will continue to raise a number of questions.
First among them (OK, maybe not first, national security being more important, but stay with me) is why should he have resigned? I am always amused when journalists use the words "sex scandal" when writing about such things. Having abandoned most standards for what used to be called "upright behavior," culture now "tsk-tsks" when someone is caught in a compromising position.
As the discussions about sex and sex scandals dominate the media due to the Petraeus affair, one affair the media are strangely silent about is that of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, who was handily reelected last week despite shocking allegations that his idea of an Easter vacation was flying to the Dominican Republican to soliciting sex from prostitutes. Oh, and, like Secret Service agents in Colombia before him, the hookers are saying that he stiffed them on the tab.
The latest development in the Menendez saga, according to Scott Wong at Politico is that:
In attempt to deflect the growing scandal surrounding former CIA director David Petreaus away from President Obama, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted administration spin on the controversy: "...they do believe they're a little insulated here, because Petraeus isn't considered an Obama guy. If anything, he's more of a Republican guy at the end of the day." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Anchor Brian Williams wondered about the timing of the scandal: "What if this had come out during the election campaign?" Todd described how relieved the Obama campaign team was that it didn't: "Well, look, it's something that the political team here at the White House is glad that they didn't have to test that hypothetical."