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June 04, 2011 11:50 AM Weiner vs. Ensign

By Steve Benen

I haven’t said much of anything about Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) week-long controversy, in large part because I’m having trouble figuring out why anyone cares. That said, John Cole said something the other day that got me thinking.

Remember when John Ensign paying off his mistress was the lead story for six straight days?

And Weiner is offering increasingly bizarre and unconvincing responses to the media.

John, of course, was being sarcastic about Ensign. It wasn’t the lead story anywhere, ever, at least until the Senate ethics committee’s report. And even then, he was quickly forgotten by the mainstream.

Regular readers know I found the Ensign sex scandal pretty interesting. It was, after all, the most significant scandal facing a sitting senator in about two decades, and involved all of elements that the media should have loved: sex, corruption, an FBI probe, lobbyists, hush money, breathtaking hypocrisy, etc. Much to my chagrin, most major media outlets just didn’t care, and barely bothered to mention the Ensign story until fairly recently.

Weiner, meanwhile, is accused of briefly tweeting a picture of his underwear-covered crotch. The media has found this endlessly fascinating.

So, what are the larger lessons to be learned? I think there are a handful of things to keep in mind.

* Pictures sell: Visual media has more power than text. Chris Lee was forced to resign because there was a topless picture he sent to a woman via Craigslist. The Weiner photo is similarly damaging. David Vitter got away unscathed after hiring prostitutes, and Ensign’s scandal generated very little coverage, because there were no compromising photos of either.

* Don’t be from New York: Weiner represents the media capital; Ensign was from Nevada. Former Gov. Jim Gibbons’ (R) sex scandal wasn’t much better than former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s (D), but the latter got much more attention because New York isn’t Nevada.

* Keep it simple: Ensign’s scandal needed reporters to keep several relevant details in mind. For those who are lazy, that’s far too much work. “Crotch shot on Twitter” is easy to remember, so if you’re going to get caught up in a mess, remember to make it as complicated as possible.

* Party matters: Republicans get away with sex-related scandals much more easily than Democrats do. Moral of the story: if you’re going to screw around, be part of the GOP.

Any other reasons that might explain the disparate coverage? I thought I’d open the floor to some discussion on this.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • mingo on June 04, 2011 11:54 AM:

    Number 4 on your list is the only one that matters. IOKIYAR.

  • memekiller on June 04, 2011 11:59 AM:

    The only people who care about pols' sex lives are Republicans, and they only care about who Democrats sleep with.

  • Jeff In Ohio on June 04, 2011 12:00 PM:

    The Weiner Story That's Not Reported:
    1.Proven smear merchant Breitbart breaks story
    2. yFrog is demonstrated to have shoddy security so anyone can post a picture to anyones account and it shows up in the targets twitter stream (Cannonfire)
    3. the person who gave story to Breitbart is shown to be an online freak with zero credibility who has been stalking Weiner for months (SmokingGun)
    4. Weiner was in the process of crapping all over Judge 'Pubic Hair' Thomas' reputation (Balloon Juice)
    5. Breitbart is an acolyte of Thomas.

  • ceilidth on June 04, 2011 12:02 PM:

    I have a suggestion. Ensign's scandal is pretty weird, given the payoff, but at its base it's still a garden variety affair. Tweeting a picture of your underwear covered crotch is laughable, gross, and extremely weird all at the same time. What is a congressman thinking when he does something like that? How incredibly strange to think he could get away with it? Hasn't he noticed that tweets have a habit of getting around the net?

  • R on June 04, 2011 12:03 PM:

    What? Reporters are lazy? Bite your tongue!

  • jon on June 04, 2011 12:04 PM:

    If only Senator Vitter's diapers were saved for posterity...

  • tomb on June 04, 2011 12:07 PM:

    Remember Christopher Lee, the GOP representative from upstate New York who resigned after sending a pic of himself without a shirt on? The Weiner episode is worse than that by quite a bit wouldn't you say.

  • Mimikatz on June 04, 2011 12:07 PM:

    I'm not sure it is true that GOPers get away with more. Remember the scandals Barney Frank and Gerry Studds survived. But maybe that was because it was in the pre-cable and Twitter era. And before the 24/7 GOP attack machine.

    The difference with Eliot Spitzer was the money hiding angle, and the fact that he turned up in a law enforcement sting, IIRC. Dem voters are more forgiving of sex but less forgiving of money scandals.

  • Dennis on June 04, 2011 12:08 PM:

    The reason this has become a media frenzy vs the Ensign affair is because Weiner has been as evasive as he could be and has only dug himself deeper into a hole with each passing day. He issues statements and makes himself available for interviews but can't or won't answer the simplest of questions. If what he said about being hacked was true he could have and should have gone straight to the police or the FBI.

  • Steve LaBonne on June 04, 2011 12:13 PM:

    In sane country nobody would NEED to answer questions about such stupid bullshit because nobody would care. Oh, I forgot, we have absolutely no other problems so our crack political journamalists have nothing more important to report.

  • Jack Lindahl on June 04, 2011 12:13 PM:

    Yes, all true. But in fact, Weiner has been a rising presence in the media over the past year or so as one of the few Dems who will actually and effectively challenge Republican distortions. Ensign, on the other hand, was a nobody senator rarely seen or heard in the national press. And who had little of interest to say when he was featured. So - another piece of the puzzle?

  • hell's littlest angel on June 04, 2011 12:16 PM:

    When I saw the photo itself, I realized it could only have been posted by one of two types of people:
    1. a 12-year old
    2. someone who is trying to frame Weiner

    Why is it getting so much attention? Ensign and Vitter were relative nobodies, politically speaking. Weiner is an outspoken, high-profile liberal with career ambitions.
    And right-wingers hate him.

  • kevo on June 04, 2011 12:18 PM:

    The MSM should get off the weiner and try to out rank an ensign - Major Mutherfucking MSM Dickwad should be the rank and moniker for anyone who dares call himself reporter, journalist, or simple contributor to social intercourse!

    Where are the Jobs? -Kevo

  • Trollop on June 04, 2011 12:25 PM:

    I have trouble believing in this day and age that anyone would be stupid enough to be caught doing something like this. Unless the answer were "thatís not my junk", a previously well respected Rep Wiener is now just another unbelievably stupid, horndawg adolescent wiener.. IOKIYAR still smacks true but fake journalists like Black Bart and the rest of the pretend media have the ball now! Keep your ass off the internetz (rule No. 1), shame on your wiener Anthony Wiener!

  • zeitgeist on June 04, 2011 12:35 PM:

    First, I think Weiner is correct when he says this is a non-story and not worth turning into a federal case -- the FBI's time is better spend stopping Times Square bomb plots than seeing who may have punked Weiner.

    Second, I think at the very least Weiner was arrogant and foolish enough to have taken (or had taken) a photo of himself in briefs and stored it somewhere accessible to hacking. Anytime you have to say "I can't say with certitude. . ." you're in trouble.

    Third, I think it extremely suspicious that the first person to see the photo -- which was never seen by the allegedly intended recipient -- was a nutjob who has been slamming on Weiner for months and several weeks ago foreshadowed that he'd be breaking news on a major Congressman soon. Can you say "set up"? And the guy works with Breitbart no less. That should discredit the story right there.

    Finally, I think the one other issue missing from Steve Benen's list (but hinted at by hell's littlest angel) is the issue of enemies. Vitter is an wingnut of little consequence, indistinguishable from most other wingnuts. Ditto Larry Craig. One of the few R's brought down by scandal is Ensign, who had actual power. It is not a coincidence that Spitzer was Wall Street's worst freaking nightmare and Weiner is one of only about 3 elected Democrats in all of Washington (less, minus Grayson) willing to take the rhetorical fight directly to the Republicans. These are campaigns of neutralization, pure and simple.

    Oh, and if you're going to go into politics and your last name is Weiner, change it. Like Steve's point about photos, the adolescent American mindset can't resist the Weiner's wiener thing.

  • grandpajohn on June 04, 2011 12:37 PM:

    What it proves is the the MSM in this country is in the pockets of the republican party, and they have sold their souls to greed. They are out to destroy one of the two parties in our two party system, and they will, distort facts, make up stories, promote opinions that have been proven to be non-factual. They have no morals, no principles except greed, and no integrity, they are basically programmed by republican robots.

  • Bernie Latham on June 04, 2011 12:41 PM:

    It is considerably less dangerous to tease a relatively carefree and jovial acquaintance than it is to do so with a psychopath.

    The media, to whatever degree of conscious awareness, proceeds accordingly.

  • grandpajohn on June 04, 2011 12:43 PM:

    Remember Christopher Lee, the GOP representative from upstate New York who resigned after sending a pic of himself without a shirt on? The Weiner episode is worse than that by quite a bit wouldn't you say.
    Well no I wouldn't say that unless it can be proven the like Lee it is a photo of himself and that he actually sent it. So now democrats no longer are accorded the idea of " Innocent until proven guilty?"

  • zeitgeist on June 04, 2011 12:46 PM:

    also, didn't it appear that Lee - married - was soliciting an affair? I.e. wasn't it posted on Craiglist "Women Seeking Men" ad?

  • TheOtherJim on June 04, 2011 12:53 PM:

    And still, to this day, only one person - who just happens to be a nutjob hell-bent on destroying Weiner - has ever seen the alleged tweet. Despite this, it's reported as fact everywhere. Journamalism, fer sure.

  • Holmes on June 04, 2011 12:58 PM:

    Lee was a "family values" Republican trolling for trannies on craigslist; and he immediately resigned because there was allegedly even more stuff that would come to light once a bit more attention was paid to his escapades.

    Weiner, who as far as I know hasn't lectured people on their lifestyle, was obviously hacked by a mentally ill man and probably a cohort or two. There is no evidence he sent the pic nor had any contact with the college student involved. Unlike the rest of the pictures Weiner has tweeted, this pic wasn't taken using a blackberry; or at the very least, it has been altered so much the pic data is unrecognizable. He has been set up, IMO.

    That said, Weiner hasn't helped himself with the evasive answers to questioning. Hopefully, a thorough investigation can get to the bottom of it.

  • Friday's Child on June 04, 2011 1:01 PM:

    also, didn't it appear that Lee - married - was soliciting an affair? I.e. wasn't it posted on Craiglist "Women Seeking Men" ad?

    Uh, yeah, and he admitted as much.

    Weiner denies sending the tweet. The woman the tweet was sent to doesn't know him. All the evidence suggests that Weiner was simply targeted and framed by a sick, psychotic woman-beating, porno freak with a criminal record.

    I have no idea how or why these facts could possibly be compared to what this Lee douchebag admitted to doing. Frankly, Steve's post misses the point in a big way. Sad.

  • Pyre on June 04, 2011 1:04 PM:

    With the giveaway detail on the photo-tweet in question (the absence of Weiner's URL at the bottom) being the telltale sign of a yfrog exploit, this should already be a non-issue. Weiner truly didn't tweet the pic himself.

    Why is there still any discussion or debate of the matter?

  • Anonymous on June 04, 2011 1:06 PM:

    This is ONLY news because he is going after Clarence Thomas to recuse himself if ACA comes before the court, and he is doing so with the law clearly on his side.

    The minute he announced this on Maddow, in fact almost simultaneously with his discussion of the payments to Ginny Thomas from organizations that oppose health care, this 'tweet' took place.

    The papers highlighting it do so because he is a voluble, articulate spokesman against the GOP's plans.

    Plus, he has too good a sense of humor for the press to grasp his witty repartee on this non-event.

  • Friday's Child on June 04, 2011 1:06 PM:

    Weiner hasn't helped himself with the evasive answers to questioning. Hopefully, a thorough investigation can get to the bottom of it.

    Again, the story isn't about Weiner. Who cares what Weiner says? He denies sending the Tweet. The recipient denies knowing him. There is no evidence proving either of these people are lying. We won't even get into the fact that sending a tweet of one's underwear to another person is perfectly legal, harms nobody, and wouldn't even make Weiner a hypocrite if it were true (unlike Repukkkes, he doesn't go around bible thumping, preaching "family values" nonsense, etc).

    The real story is about (1) Breitbart, whose answers to questions and public behavior are far, far more bizarre than anything Weiner has said or done; and (2) Breitbart's "sources", who are sick, criminal fucks.

  • Gretchen on June 04, 2011 1:14 PM:

    Nice summary, Jeff in Ohio. Too bad the journalists can be as clear and concise. But that's not as dirty and exciting as a sex scandal.
    I'm hoping somebody's working in the background to prove where this tweet really came from, and prosecutes. And it's too bad Weiner acted upset and embarassed instead of his usual combative. I just hope this doesn't neutralize him like it did Spitzer, who was doing really good work investigating Wall Street when he was taken out of the game.

  • Friday's Child on June 04, 2011 1:19 PM:

    Weiner is offering increasingly bizarre and unconvincing responses to the media.

    Fuck you, John Cole.

    I see Weiner's reaction to this horseshit as trying to make the point that it's absolutely fucking absurd that someone can be destroyed politically merely because an asshole with Big Media access manufactures a controversy.

    If Breitbart wanted to he could simply photoshop an old but "newly discovered" picture of a "young" Barack Obama in some "arguably innocent" but sort of "gay" looking pose with a shirtless man. And then what? Impeachment hearings?

    That's how fucked up and sick our media is. Fucking shit, look what they did to John Kerry. Remember? John Kerry shot kids in the back and tried to cover it up. He was murdering war criminal. Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster assassinated. Our country spent significant time "dealing" with these absurd fucked up lies, when it should have been trying to climb out of the swirling toilet bowl.

  • BrainySmurf on June 04, 2011 1:25 PM:

    There's really only one explanation for the hype over this which makes any sense. Republicans use a puerile version of family values to capture the votes of a socially conservative base. When Republicans get caught with their pants down it is therefore politically relevant and conservative sources of news and comment will do anything possible to create the false impression of equivalency. Its a tedious and unsophisticated strategy. But then, what have conservatives done lately which isn't?

  • zeitgeist on June 04, 2011 1:25 PM:

    Friday's Child, I understand your point, but Weiner does have a problem when Blitzer (and the Maddow) ask if the photo is of him - regardless of whether he sent it, is there such a photo of him is existence -- and his answer is "I can't say with certitude."

    What the hell kind of answer is that? See, I can say with certitude: there is no photo shot of me standing around just wearing briefs, particularly from an angle where it appears I was taking the picture. I strongly suspect most people can say the same. But obviously that isn't unlawful or even particularly scandalous. Still, "I can't say with certitude," like "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" leads to nothing but trouble. It is an answer a skilled politician simply cannot give because it digs the hole much deeper. It is a "bizarre and unconvincing response." And I say that as a Weiner supporter who thinks this is (a) a frame job and (b) not worth the ink that has been spilled on it.

  • JimK on June 04, 2011 1:27 PM:

    Weiner should have said, he thought he was auditioning for a underwear modeling job; humor will blow the hell out of a controversy.


  • RD Padouk on June 04, 2011 1:30 PM:

    I think this "scandal" has gotten a huge amount of traction simply because there are people out there with the emotional maturity of 12-year-olds sitting around the campfire while hyped up on smores. They find the notion that such a picture might have been sent by a guy named "Weiner" endlessly amusing.

  • Friday's Child on June 04, 2011 1:41 PM:

    Friday's Child, I understand your point, but Weiner does have a problem when Blitzer (and the Maddow) ask if the photo is of him - regardless of whether he sent it, is there such a photo of him is existence -- and his answer is "I can't say with certitude."

    What the hell kind of answer is that?

    It sounds like an honest answer.

    I have no idea how many relationships Weiner has had before he was married. Given his age, I'd guess quite a few. Did Weiner ever wear underwear like that? Sounds like he might have. So what? Did Weiner ever appear before any of those women in those underwear. Sounds like he might have. So what?

    Could any of those women have taken a picture of him in his underwear? Seems possible. Maybe without him knowing it? Seems possible. Why would Weiner say "There is absolutely no way that the picture could be of me" when he doesn't know what else might be out there?

  • greennotGreen on June 04, 2011 1:45 PM:

    I'm thinking he has taken some shots like that, possibly shared with his wife. "Hi, honey, thinking of you!" Hany Farid of Dartmouth says the image wasn't sent via Blackberry, but that doesn't mean it wasn't originally taken by my BFF Anthony Weiner and subsequently resampled or altered in some way. So, maybe a little embarrassment that he left himself open for such a juvenile cyber attack?

  • Ted Frier on June 04, 2011 1:51 PM:

    Like Custer, the media always rides to the sound of the guns. And when a liberal Democratic is caught in a compromising position, however harmless, you can count on the right wing media making a lot of noise. When the situation is reversed those crickets you here is Fox News doing damage control.

  • SaintZak on June 04, 2011 1:52 PM:

    In all honesty, I don't know why Christopher Lee resigned, unless there were far more embarrassing pictures that could have surfaced.

    I'm not sure the anthony Weiner story is such a big deal. It's already lost about 90% of it's interest. Maybe certain virulent right-wing sites and commentators will talk about, but that's about it.

  • cld on June 04, 2011 1:56 PM:

    Additionally, John Ensign is entirely uninteresting while Anthony Weiner is always there with a great quote.

  • joel hanes on June 04, 2011 2:01 PM:

    This is ONLY news because he is going after Clarence Thomas to recuse himself if ACA comes before the court, and he is doing so with the law clearly on his side.

    This.

  • Pyre on June 04, 2011 2:54 PM:

    zeitgeist: "See, I can say with certitude: there is no photo shot of me standing around just wearing briefs...."

    Irrelevant, since this photo had the legs *below* the underwear covered by a sheet. You must be able to say with certitude: there is no photo shot of me lying in bed, possibly asleep and unaware of the fact.

    Oh yes, and with an undershirt *above* the pants, so the skin was almost entirely covered, leaving no identifying marks, meaning it could be almost any average-built white guy.

    How do you know for absolute *certain* no-one ever snuck into your bedroom / dorm room, sometime in your life, and took a photo while you were asleep and happily dreaming?

    Easy enough if you had bunkmates (in service).

    Add to this, the photo is known to have been photoshopped....

  • xando foote on June 04, 2011 3:36 PM:

    Re: Rep. Weiner's failure to confirm or deny that it is his photo ... could it be that he is prevented from doing so by ongoing litigation in a separate case?

    This is a smart guy and he could respond in any number of ways instead of failing to confirm or deny.

  • DAY on June 04, 2011 3:59 PM:

    I ignored this at noon, but it seems I am the only one!

    What the Congressman SHOULD have said, when asked if the photo was him, "I WISH!"

    And then answer all follow up questions with "Don't you have something better to do?" Or: "Hey, news hound, go chase Sarah Palin's bus!"

  • yellowdog on June 04, 2011 4:02 PM:

    One quibble - Lee was not "forced to resign." It seems that it was only about ten minutes after his picture made the news that he announced his resignation. That was the strange thing about the whole incident: Lee seemed to make no effort to save himself. He did not go into crisis mode like Weiner. And, with Vitter's recent example, there is reason to believe he could have gotten through it without resigning. He represented a very Republican district (until that changed last week). It makes one wonder why he was so quick to fold. Usually, pols do not mind any level of public ridicule. They will still try to save their jobs, no matter what they have done. Why not Lee?

  • dj spellchecka on June 04, 2011 4:30 PM:

    my two cents....have a scandal that's not in a state that I-95 runs through....that's the only part of the us&a "our liberal media" pays any attention to

    plus, also : IOKIYAR

  • Scott F. on June 04, 2011 4:32 PM:

    Reason #1. It is nigh impossible to make juvenile double entendres with the name Ensign.

  • John B. on June 04, 2011 5:00 PM:

    Matt Taibbi has the best explanation I've seen:

    "The truth is, if you're worth the congressional office at all, your automatic answer to any question about pictures like that has to be, 'No, that can't be me in that picture, because I'm a United States Congressman and I don't take digital pictures of my hard-ons.' The fact that Weiner had to hedge his answer at all tells us everything we need to know about that picture."

  • thoughts on June 04, 2011 6:13 PM:

    But we've *relished* the jokes....

    "Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue."--Dilbert

    Finally, if Brietbart is involved, Anthony is exonerated.

  • Steve P on June 04, 2011 8:03 PM:

    It's our MSM in Butthead mode:

    "He said 'Weiner'. Ahuh-huh, ahuh-huh-huh."

  • Stringband on June 04, 2011 8:48 PM:

    This is quite easy to understand; there are one set of media rules for Democrats, and another for Republicans. The Repub rules are quite laxed and the Demo rules are what you expect from the highest level of morality in our society. Let's face the new facts, the "media" on average has a rightwing slant that is a clear bias. Most stories contain this bias and the mainline media outlets will continue to deny its existence. On the other hand, if his name wasn't Weiner, his crouch shot would not be a story.

  • Roger the Cabin Boy on June 04, 2011 9:14 PM:

    IOKIYAR, EOS.

  • Anonymous on June 04, 2011 9:36 PM:

    One quibble - Lee was not "forced to resign."

    Pretty sure he was "strongly urged" to resign as damage control by Republican leadership.


    and his answer is "I can't say with certitude."
    What the hell kind of answer is that?

    If somebody holds a pic of a large penis in your face and asks, "is this yours?", I think a savvy politician would say, "I can't say with certitude that's not me."

  • Anonymous on June 04, 2011 10:11 PM:

    Usually, pols do not mind any level of public ridicule. They will still try to save their jobs, no matter what they have done. Why not Lee?

    1) Who cares? The creepy hypocritical asshole has resigned.

    2) Maybe his father and mother and wife suggested it was the right thing to do, along with dealing with his alcohol abuse.

  • rip on June 05, 2011 12:55 AM:

    The reason party matters is that Fox News, AM radio and sites like Drudge bang the drum loudly and continuously for days when it's a Democrat, so the MSM feels they have to cover the story because "people are talking about it". When it's a Republican, the left will blog about it, but tends to lose interest unless there are further revelations after a day or two. There some exceptions, like Larry Craig, where the MSM wasn't willing to let the story go, but generally, unless the story gets flogged to death by partisan media, it will have limited traction.

  • bob h on June 05, 2011 6:42 AM:

    It is dismaying how all this attention to crotch photos drives real, important news off the front pages. We killed Bin Laden's heir apparent, Al Kashmiri, in a drone strike a couple days ago, and it barely registered.

    There are some things I don't understand about the Wiener mess. I take it from his evasions that the picture is of him, and wonder why a mature man who had his pick of the top models and actresses of NYC prior to his marriage to an exquisite women even take this juvenile photo in the first place? And how did it come to pass that someone else was in a position to tweet it? Did he have e-mail that was hacked?

    I don't care about the Wiener thing, but am also disappointed in him.

  • GP on June 05, 2011 7:35 AM:

    I don't quite buy the point about being from New York. The reference to Spitzer fails to note the extremely high and mighty media presence of Spitzer before the scandal broke. The press loves to see the might fall, and Weiner may be in the same boat just because he's been in the limelight tweaking a lot of people, but I don't see New York as being relevant.

  • ChrisNBama on June 05, 2011 10:17 AM:

    The reason the story has legs is because of the absolutely bizarre responses of Anthony Wiener. Like most people on this list, I could care less about this nontroversy, but surely telling the media that you can't be sure that the photo isn't yours is like pouring gasoline on a fire.

    The initial response was pretty good. The girl in question published a rather straightforward denial of any wrong doing on the part of Wiener. If Wiener had come out and said he was hacked and that further investigations of the matter were ongoing, then it would have been fine. Instead, probably from poor advice from his council, decided to answer a question about whether the photo was one of him or not. Instead of an unequivocal no, he says, "I can't be sure." Huh?!

    Anyway, I'm not posting more on this mess. The media seems to have moved on, and if Wiener can resist keeping his mouth shut about it, then he won't inflict more damage on himself. The better we'll all be.

  • GOPhuckYourself on June 05, 2011 1:30 PM:

    Gee, remember when that dead intern was found in Rep. Scarborough's office, and that literally dominated the national news coverage for months, only to be bumped off by the 9/11 attacks?

  • Alex on June 05, 2011 9:53 PM:

    Weiner has been clear and emphatic from day 1 that he didn't actually tweet the picture, and nobody has credibly challenged this. What he has been shady about is the origin of the picture. So it would seem by implication that he does keep around some semi-porno shuts of his junk, for whatever reason. How this amounts to a major story, other than the simple matter of the media going after an outspokenly progressive Dem I don't know, and can hardly even imagine any reasonable explanation.

    As for Benen's claim, which many others have made in discussing various other stories, that one reason that the Weiner story was widely noticed, and/or the Ensign story largely ignored, was simplicity, I have 1 (compound) word: Whitewater. This was a media obsession for years, in spite of being so convoluted it made the plot of 'Twin Peaks' look like a comic strip. I followed this story more closely than 99% of the population, more closely, I suspect, than many of those who reported on it. And to this day, I still can't even give a clear description of what the Clintons' illegal/corrupt actions were supposed to be, much less what the alleged evidence of their guilt was.

  • Goldilocks on June 06, 2011 11:19 AM:

    Scenario 1. Anthony Weiner pulled a fake hoax for fun and publicity. It worked. He's got publicity and he's having fun with it.

    Scenario 2. Anthony Weiner was the victim of a real hoax. It worked. He's got publicity and he's having fun with it.

  • ifpt999 on June 06, 2011 5:02 PM:

    And Scenario 3: He was lying the whole time and really did send out a lewd photo of himself (and others apparently) as well as sexted a half dozen girls over a 3 year period.

    I just read all these comments. It's amazing that everyone bought into some hacking conspiracy. Occam's Razor, people!

    And regarding the amount of press this generated: It seems like Weiner's mind-blowing pressers really helped turn up the heat on the story. You can't give the press half denials and cryptic non-answers and expect them to be satisfied.

  • Juanita on June 09, 2011 1:39 PM:

    Weiner should resign five minutes after GOP Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana quits over his prostitution scandal. I just love the hypocrisy of the GOP.

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