Sex Scandals

By Matthew Balan | July 24, 2013 | 1:10 PM EDT

CBS Evening News stood out among the Big Three evening newscasts on Tuesday in their failure to cover former Rep. Anthony Weiner's admission that he sent lewd text messages even after his resignation in 2011. The CBS show apparently deemed the British royal family's new baby, the doping scandal in baseball, and whale watching to be more important news items. ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News both devoted air time to the Weiner story.

The network finally reported on the latest revelations about the disgraced politician on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, but failed to point out his Democratic affiliation. Jan Crawford merely identified him as a "former U.S. congressman turned New York City mayoral candidate."

By Scott Whitlock | July 24, 2013 | 12:51 PM EDT

Despite devoting three segments to Anthony Weiner's latest sexually explicit photos and texts, Good Morning America on Wednesday failed to identify the New York politician as a Democrat. Instead, an ABC graphic simply called him a "mayoral candidate" for office. The previous evening's World News deemed Weiner a "former congressman" and a "mayoral candidate."

Reporter Jeff Zeleny delicately described Tuesday's bizarre press conference: "It was a real human drama when his wife stepped forward to deliver a very public testimonial." Zeleny told viewers that Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife, "is defending her man and his candidacy." In a follow-up segment, Linsey Davis focused on Abedin. A graphic declared, "Standing By Her Man: Wife Stands By Weiner in Sexting Scandal."

By Kyle Drennen | July 24, 2013 | 12:33 PM EDT

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?"

By Tom Blumer | July 23, 2013 | 7:50 PM EDT

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):

By Matt Hadro | July 23, 2013 | 7:50 PM EDT

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.

By Matthew Balan | July 16, 2013 | 4:37 PM EDT

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."

By Tom Blumer | July 15, 2013 | 12:59 PM EDT

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:

By Matthew Balan | July 12, 2013 | 1:20 PM EDT

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. "

By Matthew Balan | July 11, 2013 | 4:48 PM EDT

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."

By Scott Whitlock | July 9, 2013 | 12:06 PM EDT

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?"

By Scott Whitlock | July 8, 2013 | 6:29 PM EDT

 

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.]

By Matthew Balan | July 8, 2013 | 3:51 PM EDT

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.