Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, advertising executive Donny Deutsch and psychotherapist Robi Ludwig both agreed that the American people should not stop being "shocked" by political sex scandals. Deutsch declared: "...we have to stop being shocked and amazed....when men who are conquerors by nature also chase women....we as a society have got to become a little more anesthetized to this."
Moments later, as Duetsch one again proclaimed, "Let's stop being shocked at this stuff!," Ludwig blamed American moral values for the attention the scandal received: "We're a very puritanical country and so we're a little bit sexually repressed. So on the one hand we like hearing stories about sex, but we want certain things from our leaders that maybe is not realistic and maybe that's the sad part."
Another day, another New York Times story by Katharine Seelye story on liberal Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards that completely leaves out the words "liberal" and "Democrat" -- an admiring profile of Edwards’s loyal daughter, "For Edwards’s Adult Daughter, A Recurring Role: Family Glue," which led Thursday's National section.
Seelye’s initial online story on Edwards’s indictment last Friday also left out the disgraced politician’s party affiliation, though it was added in by the time the story appeared in print Saturday.
They call it BCS, Bill Clinton syndrome, and it has broken out anew in New York and here in Washington, where it was first discovered. As elaborated upon in scholarly detail in the now famous "Starr Report: The Official Report of the Independent Counsel's Investigation of the President," BCS strikes powerful figures, usually male, who experience lewd compulsions of an overpowering nature, generally in the presence of technology — often the telephone, occasionally a smartphone or even a computer — and usually when they are alone or behind closed doors with a woman of inferior rank. The first victim of the syndrome was, of course, President Bill Clinton, but it has struck a growing number of powerful individuals, most recently Rep. Chris Lee, International Monetary Fund chieftain Dominique Strauss-Kahn and now Rep. Anthony Weiner (pronounced VY'-nehr — at least by him).
During a report on growing calls for Anthony Weiner to resign from Congress on Thursday's NBC Today, Politico's Maggie Haberman noted how former President Bill Clinton was particularly troubled by the sex scandal: "Bill Clinton is very unhappy with Anthony Weiner right now. The Clintons are not thrilled with this."
Congressional correspondent Luke Russert had described how "Among those Weiner has turned to since the scandal has broke is former President Bill Clinton, a close friend who presided at the Congressman's wedding and has referred to Weiner's wife [Huma Abedian] as his second daughter."
CNN's Howard Kurtz made a statement to his colleague Eliot Spitzer Wednesday that folks who remember the media firestorm surrounding former Congressman Mark Foley (R-Fla.) will find hard to believe.
Appearing on "In the Arena," the media analyst complained about the amount of coverage recent sex scandals involving Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Dominque Strauss-Kahn have received saying, "I've just never seen it spin at this velocity, this out of control" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NPR's Renee Montagne touted the Rep. Anthony Weiner sex scandal as a "dilemma" for Democrats on Wednesday's Morning Edition. Correspondent Andrea Seabrook also underlined how it was apparently "hard for Democrats to call for his resignation" because the New York politician is a "bulldog" for their issues.
Montagne used her label during an introduction for Seabrook's report, which put the Weiner controversy in the context of other Washington sex scandals: "The New York Democrat admitted earlier this week that he had inappropriate exchanges with women online, exchanges that included sexually explicit pictures. He also said he will not resign his House seat. As NPR's Andrea Seabrook reports, that poses a dilemma for his Democratic colleagues."
Talking to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Wednesday's NBC Today, outgoing co-host Meredith Vieira questioned calls for disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner to resign: "Nancy Pelosi has formally asked the Ethics Committee to look into this. So why not just let them do their job and then let the chips fall where they may?"
Priebus replied: "I don't think we need to spend taxpayer dollars investigating whether or not Anthony Weiner's a creep or not." Vieira continued to brush aside talk of resignation: "...[Weiner] has said he does not believe he has broken any rules, he has no intention of resigning, it's up to the people, his constituents, to decide whether he should leave or not."
Brent Bozell reminded readers of his column that the networks piled on 152 stories about Rep. Mark Foley in the story's first 12 days in the fall of 2006, but they weren’t the only ones with a vast left-wing disparity. Time and Newsweek each devoted cover stories and multiple pages to the Foley scandal. Time put an elephant’s rear end on the cover with the words “What a Mess...Why a tawdry Washington sex scandal may spell the end of the Republican revolution”. Newsweek had a huge picture of Foley (with a small President Bush in front of his face) with the huge headline “Off Message” and the subhead “Foley’s Secret Life: How a Predator’s E-mail Sex Scandal Could Cost Bush Congress.”
To a liberal media member, politics means never having to say you were wrong.
On Tuesday's "The Ed Show," Salon's Joan Walsh said she looked "kind of stupid" for defending Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) last week, then went right on defending him (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The sounds of the slaps you hear are those of the DUers at the Democratic Underground and the Kossacks at the Daily Kos slapping themselves silly for ever believing Anthony Weiner's very obvious lies. The only thing that makes them angrier than their gullibility being publicly exposed is the fact that Weiner apologized to Andrew Breitbart. That really drove them over the edge and contributed greatly to their sudden disillusionment with the New York congressman.
To get a handle on the unbelievable extent of their gullibility, we need to take a short trip down memory lane to just over a week ago to May 29 when the DUers were completly buying into the assertion in the title of their thread, "Anthony Weiner: Hackers posted lewd photos on Twitter." A few choice tidbits of their outrage over the belief that it was Weiner who was hacked:
I knew those monsters would go after Weiner. They always attack the best of us. Psychopaths always attack your strengths. Grrrrr
They messed with the wrong person this time. Anthony Weiner is not going to be silent while they go after him. This could actually be a good thing.
MSNBC's Cenk Uygur made an on air admission Tuesday that might not only raise some of his boss's eyebrows but could also make a few ex-girlfriends very unhappy.
As he defended Congressman Anthony Weiner's (D-N.Y.) handling of the sex scandal that's riveted the nation for more than a week, Uygur said to his guests, "You know how many times when I was single, and I had girlfriends, you know how many times I lied to them?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CNN's Wolf Blitzer admitted Monday that he believed Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) when the congressman told him in an interview that he did not send a lewd photo of himself over Twitter. Blitzer related to CNN's Piers Morgan Monday evening his thoughts immediately after the interview.
"I'm saying to myself, you know what, it sounds to me like it may have been his picture, but it was out there, but somebody else hacked it and somebody else sent it out to embarrass him. I sort of believed, you know, that line," he confessed.
MRC’s Scott Whitlock last week called to light Joy Behar’s suggestion on The View that Congressman Anthony Weiner’s social media scandal was part of a conspiracy by political opponents, a view repudiated by fellow panelist Barbara Walters. “Somebody is out to get him, apparently, 'cause they don't like his politics,” Behar said on the ABC daytime talk show on Tuesday.
Despite Monday’s revelations, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, long the sole voice of reason on the program, was the only panelist who openly and repeatedly called for Weiner’s resignation. "He should be resigning right now," Hasselbeck said. The View’s leftist coffee klatch, however, would take no clear stand, and thought it more suitable to play armchair psychologist.
As NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay pointed out, the Weinergate scandal showcased a variety of liberal media conspiracy theories. One of the most prevalent theories focused on besmirching conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who broke the story wide open Monday with a series of posts on BigGovernment.com featuring lewd photos of Rep. Anthony Weiner.
"Look, Breitbart is a proven liar, okay?" bellowed MSNBC anchor Cenk Uygur on June 1. "He doctored the Shirley Sherrod tapes. He's done this over and over again. Why would anybody take this fool seriously?"
UPDATE: Check out reaction from some of the chief Weiner-defenders below the break.
The so-called Weinergate scandal provided a true spectacle of media bias and conspiracy theorizing. While there was certainly plenty of good reporting throughout, many opted to take Rep. Anthony Weiner's claims at face value and search for other culprits or scapegoats.
Others devised more malicious theories about why a lewd picture had appeared on the congressman's Twitter feed. It was Andrew Breitbart's attempt to gin up another bogus story, or a coordinated effort by conservatives to provide cover for Clarence Thomas. These wild theories actually gained quite a bit of traction among liberals online, and even a few mainstream personalities.
We know now, by Weiner's own admission, that they were all nonsense. So with the facts readily available, it's worth reviewing some of the dominant narratives that pervaded media coverage of the scandal.
In an interview with Andrew Breitbart on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer suggested the conservative blogger should not have broken news of the scandal involving Congressman Anthony Weiner: "Did you worry that – you know, as a conservative, you don't want government in people's bedrooms. And so did you stop and have a debate with yourself about that?"
Moments earlier, Breitbart had noted feeling some sympathy for Weiner during Monday's press conference: "I felt so unbelievably sad for this guy." Lauer responded by wondering why that sympathy didn't keep the BigGovernment.com creator from re-posting Weiner's racy tweet on the web site last week: "But if you're sad for the guy then, did you not consider that at some point you might be sad for him when you first posted that photo ten days ago?"
Barbara Walters said Monday that if Sarah Palin can be considered as a possible presidential candidate, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) can stay in Congress despite the current sex scandal he's involved in.
Significantly more shocking, "The View" co-host Joy Behar actually came to Palin's defense (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chrystia Freeland made a series of bizarre statements on MSNBC today that were overshadowed only by Anthony Weiner's contrite presser during which the Democratic congressman admitted to tweeting the infamous crotch photo and lying to cover it up.
Before the press conference, the Reuters editor-at-large quipped that the Twitter controversy showed that Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as New York governor in 2008 after being caught sleeping with prostitutes, "is a really classy guy."
Old and new media clashed on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday.
After CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes blamed Andrew Breitbart for her network's slow response to the ongoing Weinergate scandal, Gawker staff writer Maureen O'Connor said, "I think even if that's the case, it was very quickly that you could have looked into this story and verified it for yourself" (video follows with trancript and commentary):
While many liberal media members spent the week defending Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), PBS's Mark Shields may have made the best comment about this sordid affair on Friday's "Inside Washington."
Shortly after NPR's Nina Totenberg said we really shouldn't care about this scandal because "it's a great lark of a diversion," Shields asked the definitive question, "What the hell is a member of Congress, who wants to be mayor of New York, having portrait galleries of his crotch available for distribution?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
One of the really enjoyable aspects of this week's scandal involving Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) has been watching the perilously liberal and devoted media shills tell America how unimportant the whole thing is.
A fine example was Nina Totenberg who said on Friday's "Inside Washington" that we really shouldn't care about this because " it's a great lark of a diversion" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In the Friday morning coverage of former Sen. John Edwards' indictment by a federal grand jury, only one of the three major networks, CBS, reported that he was a Democrat. Neither ABC nor NBC reported Edwards' party affiliation, simply calling him a "former presidential candidate."
ABC's Good Morning America sympathetically called the morning "a difficult one" for Edwards as he faced indictment. Both ABC and NBC did full segments on the scandal, and ABC's Good Morning America actually led the show with the story. CBS only briefly mentioned the story before moving on with other news.
How long before Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner conducts his next meltdown press conference flanked by two adult-movie "goddesses" a la Charlie Sheen? Like the delusional bad-boy actor, Weiner actually thinks his self-destructive act is winning, too.
The tweetaholic congressman spent the week dodging and deflecting questions about what he called a "randy" image that appeared in his official, verified Twitter account last Friday. The Fruit of the Loom torso shot in his social-networking stream was addressed to a 21-year-old Seattle college student. She's an ardent fan of the cable TV-hopping lawmaker and a member of the fawning generation that unabashedly asks its political idols "boxers or briefs"?
Curiously, one of Weiner's non-deleted tweets made reference to the Seattle time zone the same night the junk photo turned up. Weiner wrinkled his nose at a question on Wednesday about that inconvenient allusion, dismissing it as "pure, pure coincidence." He refused to explain why he gave Seattle of all places a Twitter shout-out. Weiner, if I may helpfully point out, represents New York's 9th District, not Washington State's.
"Frankly" — (red flag!) — he protested, he had "no idea." He then segued into relentless self-promotion of his "feisty" Twitter messages and started braying about the debt limit and health care reform.
It worked on cowed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. But did it work on his wife? Would it work on yours?
Sending creepy photos to another adult on Twitter is not a crime, of course. But it is abjectly embarrassing for Democrats to be caught with their double-standard pants down — especially given how liberals hyperventilated over former GOP New York Rep. Christopher Lee's shirtless Craigslist photo. As always, it's the cover-up that's worse than the original transgression.
UPDATE: Some hours after the Times's initial filing, the phrase "former senator" in paragraph one was changed to read "former Democratic senator."
Where’s the party? New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye filed an online report early Friday on the breaking story of the indictment on campaign finance violations of John Edwards, the former senator and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate (and John Kerry’s 2004 running mate), on charges he violated campaign finance law to conceal an extramarital affair during his presidential campaign. Only one thing missing: His political party.
MSNBC's Thomas Roberts spun furiously for Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) Thursday, dismissing the Twitter controversy as a sideshow undeserving of the media's attention.
"He's being pretty transparent," opined the daytime anchor, turning to Republican strategist Joe Watkins. "Joe, wouldn't you agree?"
After Watkins agreed but suggested Weiner's refusal to clarify whether he is the man in the photo does not help his case, Roberts followed up by parroting the Democratic congressman's dodge: "Well why waste taxpayer dollars on something kind of so stupid?"
For a compilation video showing Weiner's lack of transparency and inability to cooperate with the media, see below the fold:
Comedian Jon Stewart took "the most trusted name in news" to task for the network's reluctance to investigate the Twitter controversy that has embroiled Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).
Although the Comedy Central host is a personal friend of Weiner, he lambasted CNN on the May 31 "Daily Show" for glossing over the issue while political blogs relentlessly pounded the pavement over the weekend to uncover the truth.
According to Joy Behar of 'The View,' someone is "out to get" Anthony Weiner because "they don't like his politics." Behar and her co-host Whoopi Goldberg advanced a conspiracy theory on Thursday and included the possibility that the Congressman could have been at a beach and had an innocent photo digitally manipulated. Meanwhile, Barbara Walters pronounced dead the political goal of the politician to one day be New York's mayor.
Offering cover for Weiner, Goldberg theorized, "Well, you know, if you have been on a beach in a bathing suit with friends- and I've had this happen, so I know that this can get done- where they take, you know, a little piece of you and they put you in a diaper or whatever."
At the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira worried about the impact of the Twitter photo scandal on Congressman Anthony Weiner's career: "Will the scandal and his response to it derail his political ambitions?"
Talking to chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd later, Vieira pointed out how "the people who write the headlines in New York City are obviously having a heyday with this" but then soberly added, "beyond the laughs here, this guy is a rising star in this state, especially in the city of New York, considered a front-runner for the next mayoral campaign....What about the political toll?"
Former Clinton adviser turned CNN political analyst Paul Begala Wednesday evening gave Anderson Cooper the predictable Party line about Weinergate being no big deal.
Without skipping a beat, the host of "Anderson Cooper 360" replied, "But, Paul, if this was a conservative Republican, would you be saying the same thing?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):