On April 10, the New York Times almost singlehandedly revived the political career of disgraced Anthony Weiner with an 8,300-word profile of the former Congressman, his wife, and their baby boy Jonathan. Clay Waters at NewsBusters noted shortly thereafter that Jonathan van Meter's profile, which revealed Weiner's intention to become a candidate in New York City's mayoral race while somehow avoiding still-open questions about Weiner's "underage girl problem," had its intended effect, as the major broadcast networks fell in line to "promote his political rehabilitation."
We all know that the attempted rehabilitation failed spectacularly, because the supposed personal rehabilitation which formed its basis turned out to be completely fictional. In late July, a Times editorial called for Weiner to withdraw from the race without owning up to the role the paper had played in his attempted revival. So it figures that the Times, which identified Weiner's demise as one of 2013's "political lowlights" earlier in the day, would ignore Weiner's "Look at me" Thursday Facebook post.
NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday actually interviewed disgraced New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.
This led Daily Beast columnist Michelle Cottle to smartly observe on Fox News’s Media Buzz, “While as a Congressman he wasn't that great, and as a mayoral candidate he’s down in the polls, his penis is still a national celebrity” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As regular readers of NewsBusters are well aware, the Washington Post's Style section has a habit of frequently ginning up puffy human-interest stories about all kinds of liberal politicians and celebrities. It's rare that they do a positive profile of a conservative or libertarian.
So it's worth pointing out when they do just that. In a 26-paragraph profile, Post staff writer Megan McDonough highlighted Arlington, Va., resident Remy Munasifi, a libertarian conservative YouTube sensation, whose most recent parody video "Blurred Junk" takes a swipe at Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner (that video embedded below). Here's a taste of McDonough's article. For the full thing, go here.
ABC's Good Morning America, which first covered the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal by ignoring that the politician was a Democrat, did grow to embrace the tawdry aspects of the story. Yet, the morning show on Wednesday avoided he mayoral candidate's latest gaffe: Calling his Republican opponent "grandpa" at an AARP candidate forum. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both managed to highlight the story.
CBS guest anchor Anthony Mason recounted, "Weiner slammed his opponent over age and did so, of all places, at an event sponsored by the AARP." A graphic mocked it as a "senior moment." Mason dismissed Weiner's campaign as a "circus." In the video, Weiner can be seen heatedly talking to George McDonald. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Parents can hardly criticize New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner for his latest sexting escapade when their teens commit the same deed (and have done so for years) – or so says The Daily Beast.
The Daily Beast’s Lizzie Crocker agonized over the conundrum, asking, “In the wake of Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal, one question has emerged that’s particularly tough to answer: How can parents explain to their kids that Weiner was wrong, when your typical Snapchatting teen has likely been sexting for years?” The Daily Beast, a liberal reporting and opinion news site, published the article entitled “If Sexting Is So Wrong, Why Does It Feel So Good?”
One might think People magazine would be embarrassed at how it was used as an early campaign brochure for Anthony Weiner in 2012, as his wife Huma Abedin tragi-comically proclaimed, "It took a lot of work to get to where are are today, but I want people to know we're a normal family." Yeah, right.
But here is People again, shamelessly selling Huma and her “very strong moral character” in an August 12 story headlined “Why Huma Stayed.” Former AP political reporter Sandra Sobieraj Westfall lays it on thick with “friends say” fluff for the Hillary Clinton aide:
Former New York Times columnist Frank Rich showed up on Joy Behar’s Current TV program Say Anything! on Wednesday to chat about some hot news topics – chief among them, the ongoing Anthony Weiner saga. Rich assured Behar that the Weiner situation would not affect Hillary Clinton’s future. On the contrary, he said, it would make people love her husband Bill Clinton even more.
Rich made his remarks after Behar mentioned that the Clintons seem to be distancing themselves from Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin. Rich remarked, “[L]ook, Weiner had a lot of enemies in the Democratic Party well before the scandals, but I also think it’s not going to have any effect on Hillary Clinton's future, whatever it is.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
A profound thought occurred to a journalist at ABC News: The high profile sex scandals involving Democrats Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner have taken "a toll" on the liberal war on women message. Too bad the story only appeared on ABCNews.com.
Writer Abby D. Phillip warned, "Turnabout is fair play according to Republicans who are now turning the 'war on women' back on Democrats." She added, "With the help of a few local Democratic politicians with sordid pasts, Republicans have gained new ammunition to counter the narrative pushed by Democrats in the last two elections that Republican policies and politicians have an anti-woman agenda." That sentiment has not shown up on World News, Good Morning America or Nightline.
The one thing we can say safely about liberals is that they lack self-awareness, especially when one of their own acts badly. The Chronicles of Carlos Danger, the exploits of San Diego Mayor Bob “filthy” Filner, and the sexual proclivities of Eliot Spitzer have made the political scene a national joke. Yet, this lack of respect – and creepiness – is not treated by the liberal media as an indictment on the larger Democratic Party in much the same way as the media have helped Democrats use Republican skeezeballs like Mark Foley to lambaste the entire party.
Republicans have been quick to take the trio of Democrats behaving badly to turn the liberal Democratic/liberal media "war on women" meme on its head. Apparently it's having some success as MSNBC's Chris Jansing dutifully took to the air on her August 1 Jansing & Co. program to offer a rebuttal. The "war on women" is about "policy," not inappropriate sexual behavior, Jansing and her guests insisted. Apparently since MSNBC helped write the "war on women" meme, they're pretty defensive about when it's used to bludgeon their friends in the Democratic Party. Here's the relevant exchange between Jansing, TIME magazine's Eliza Gray, and veteran Obama-defender scribe Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times:
ABC and NBC on Thursday continued to fret over the implications the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal will have on Hillary Clinton. Today's Matt Lauer worried, "By association, does this do damage to Hillary Clinton?" Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton campaign operative, pointed out that Weiner refused to leave the race "even as another supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton come forward, urging him to drop out."
Who was the "supporter" that Stephanopoulos mentioned? The host's friend and fellow Clinton aide, James Carville. In a clip, Carville lectured, "If I were working [the Weiner] campaign, would I probably say, 'look, I just can't take this anymore and resign?' Yes." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The fact that Stephanopoulos and Carville defended Clinton through multiple sex scandals went unmentioned.
ABC and CBS both failed to point out San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's Democratic party affiliation on their Wednesday morning newscasts. Good Morning America devoted just one 17-second news brief to the ongoing Filner scandal. CBS This Morning didn't do much better, with two news briefs on the former congressman. NBC's Today didn't set aside any air time to the controversy.
The NBC morning show did one-up its Big Three competitors in identifying Anthony Weiner as a Democrat. Stephanie Gosk underlined the "Democratic drums are beating loudly for Anthony Weiner to step out of race for New York mayor", and noted the scandal-plagued politician's fourth-place standing among "likely Democratic primary voters". CBS This Morning and GMA merely labeled Weiner a "former congressman".
On Tuesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes recalled that "my mouth opened" and declared that "I could not believe this was in the paper," as he recounted that liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd raised questions about whether former Rep. Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, has been tolerant of her husband's behavior because of her Muslim upbringing.
Hayes recalled his bafflement during a segment devoted largely to attacking FNC's Sean Hannity and his guests for raising similar questions on his weekend special, Saving America. Notably, Rush Limbaugh was attacked on Monday's PoliticsNation by host Al Sharpton for similarly raising the topic.
The Anthony Weiner scandal has gotten so ridiculous that even MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts can’t control himself. Appearing on MSNBC on July 30, Roberts responded to a clip of Weiner’s sexting partner appearing with Howard Stern that “this chick is bats**t.
The woman who’s real name is Sydney Leathers -- yes, that's her real name, stop laughing -- called out Anthony Weiner, who claimed since his original sexting scandal, has changed. Leathers’ response, “bulls***. I’m proof that you have not changed.” [See video below. Audio here.]
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared that Hillary Clinton's lunch with President Obama put the possible 2016 Democratic contender "a safe distance from the scandal in New York that now includes a longtime aide." Introducing a report on the meeting, Williams noted how "Bill and Hillary Clinton are trying to keep their distance from any associations with Anthony Weiner, whose wife is a longtime Hillary Clinton aide and confidante..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Continuing to fret over the impact the scandal may have on the Clintons, correspondent Andrea Mitchell decried Weiner's continued candidacy for New York City mayor: "Weiner has become a tabloid nightmare for his wife, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's aide. And for the Clintons, resurrecting embarrassing flashbacks they'd hoped were long forgotten. Weiner said again today, he isn't going away..."
All three major networks ran full-length stories on their Saturday morning shows on the sex scandals involving San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. However, none of the networks directly identified either politician as a Democrat.
ABC’s Saturday edition of Good Morning America ran separate stories on each of the two men. Their two-and-a-half minute package on Filner made no mention of the mayor’s party affiliation, while the two-and-a-half minute story on Weiner merely hinted that the former congressman was a Democrat. There was a sound bite halfway through the story in which an angry female New Yorker exclaimed, “I’m suggesting wholeheartedly he ought to withdraw, and I am a Democrat.” Yet nobody from ABC ever referred to Weiner as a Democrat.
Tuesday's Good Morning America, just as NBC did on Monday, offered concern about how the Weiner scandal would impact the real victims, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Reporter Linsey Davis breathlessly explained that for the power couple, "...Patience has run out." An ABC graphic worried, "Clintons Put Pressure on Candidate: Upset at 'Comparisons' With Weiner."
Davis informed viewers that, pending a possible 2016 run by Mrs. Clinton, "...Several former Clinton aides and advisers tell ABC News the Clintons increasingly see Weiner's mayoral campaign as an embarrassment and potential liability." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
When the New York Times Magazine published an 8,000-word puff piece in April about Anthony Weiner and wife Huma Abedin, the media predictably applauded with all three broadcast networks gleefully referring to the piece to assist in the sext-crazed politician's rehabilitation.
Adding insult to injury, the article's author Jonathan Van Meter - who is a contributing editor to Vogue and New York magazine - told the Washington Post's Erik Wemple Monday, "Never even occurred to me to ask" if Weiner was still sexting.
Was this a case of Donny Deutsch expressing sincere sentiments—or wanting Weiner out of the way to help Hillary?
Whatever the explanation, the ad man unleashed on Huma Abedin on today's Morning Joe, saying he was "disgusted" by the spectacle of her press conference, accusing Abedin of being an "opportunist" who wants to be First Lady of New York. A much more understanding Mika Brzezinski said that Abedin's performance was "amazing," "extraordinary" and "really brave." Video after the jump.
On Monday's NBC Today, following a report on the latest fallout from the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, Hillary Clinton sycophant Andrea Mitchell fretted over the impact of the controversy on the former secretary of state: "This is terribly painful....this is getting to the point where it is really splashing up against the Clintons because it's almost unavoidable that people are making comparisons to the way Hillary Clinton handled Bill Clinton's difficulties in the 1992 campaign." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On July 24, it was Todaymaking that comparison between Wiener and Clinton, with chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd observing: "But you can't help but remember, [Weiner's wife] Huma [Abedin] works for Hillary Clinton. Is that her political role model? Is that her political role model as a spouse? Is that where she's getting her advice? Well, we know what Hillary Clinton did as a political spouse in the same situation."
The situations involving disgraced and relapsed former Congressman Anthony Weiner and Ben Quayle, who hasn't been in politics for about a year, are very analogous. Just ask Katie Glueck at the Politico. Oh, and the the Weiner situation is also very analogous to that of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who has returned $21,000 worth of gifts he should never have taken from a businessperson. Just ask Dana Milbank at the Washington Post.
There appears to be some kind of unwritten rule that you can't attempt to analyze a Democrats' scandalous involvement without dragging a Republican into the mix, no matter how distant or irrelevant the connection. First, let's look at Glueck with Quayle and Weiner (bolds are mine throughout this post):
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the media these days seem to see everything through the prism of what helps and hinders Hillary Clinton's path to the White House.
On CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, Bob Schieffer said Huma Abedin, by standing by her disgraced husband Anthony Weiner, was "doing Hillary Clinton no favors whatsoever if Hillary Clinton is planning to run for president" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
George Will made an observation on ABC's This Week Sunday that shouldn't have evoked laughter from his fellow panelists and host.
"If these two people, [Mayor Bob] Filner in San Diego and [Anthony] Weiner here, were Republicans, this would be a part of a lot of somber sociology in the media about the Republican war on women" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
There was a very funny moment at the end of Friday's McLaughlin Group on PBS when the entire panel unanimously predicted that Anthony Weiner would drop out of the New York City mayor's race.
This included syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan, the Economist's David Rennie, U.S. News & World Report's Mort Zuckerman, host John McLaughlin, and quite surprisingly Newsweek/Daily Beast's Eleanor Clift (video follows with commentary):
Bill Maher on Friday attacked the media – particularly MSNBC’s Chris Matthews – for hypocrisy concerning how they handle sex scandals based on whether or not they like the politician involved.
The HBO Real Time host correctly pointed out that the Anthony Weiner-bashing Matthews absolutely adored John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton who were both involved in far worse sexcapades than the New York City mayoral candidate (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Is nothing sacred? Next week's cover of New Yorker magazine features a drawing of disgraced mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner straddling the Empire State Building with the top spire obviously representing his genitals:
Artist John Cuneo explained how he came up with the idea:
On FNC's Hannity last night, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell teed off on the media's effusive reaction to President Obama's remarks last Friday about race and the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case.
Various journalists had described the President's speech as "extraordinary," "beautiful," and "a symphony." Bozell had a different word: "dishonest." (Video and partial transcript below the jump.)