By Bonnie K. Goodman
Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.
IN FOCUS: WEINERGATE: REP. ANTHONY WEINER SEXTING SCANDAL
NY Democrat acknowledged ‘inappropriate’ online conduct, had insisted he has no plans to resign: Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller said Saturday afternoon that the congressman “departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person.”
She added that he would request “a short leave of absence from the House” after which he would make a decision on his political future.
Pelosi and Other Leaders Call On Weiner to Resign: The move by the House Democratic leader underscored Democrats’ growing concern about Representative Anthony D. Weiner’s online exchanges with women.
Rep. Anthony Weiner admits sending lewd Twitter picture of himself: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) acknowledged Monday that he tweeted the lewd picture that has been at the center of a controversy since it surfaced a week ago, and he said the image was of him. “It was something that I did that was just wrong and I regret it,” he said. He apologized and said he is not resigning.
- Timeline of Rep. Weiner’s online sex scandal – Watertown Daily News, 6-11-11
- Timeline: From a Photo to an Apology (June 7, 2011) – NYTREP. ANTHONY WEINER, D-N.Y.:
Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle.
Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked. I took it down, and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story, to stick to that story, which was a usually regrettable mistake.
To be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, Huma, and our family and my constituents, my friends, supporters, and staff.
In addition, over the past few years, I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, email, and occasionally on the phone with women I have met online. I have exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.
For the most part, these relations — these communications took place before my marriage, though some have, sadly, took place after. To be clear, I have never met any of these women or had physical relationships at any time.
I am deeply regret — regretting what I have done, and I am not resigning.
I have made it clear that I accept responsibility for this, and people who draw conclusions about me are free to do so. I have worked for the people of my district for 13 years and in politics for 20 years. And I hope that they see fit to see in the light that it is, which is a deeply regrettable mistake.
For my use of Twitter, I mean, it’s not — it’s something that I found useful. And Facebook is a way to get out the message. But I — I certainly wouldn’t obviously do the things that I have done that — that led me — that led me — that led me to this place.
- Poll backs Weiner vow not to quit: Under growing pressure to quit, Rep. Anthony Weiner insisted again Thursday that he won’t resign, and a new poll showed a majority of voters in his district agreed he should stay in office.
A new Marist poll released Thursday found 56 percent of registered voters in his 9th Congressional District in Queens and Brooklyn don’t think he should quit over revelations of his salacious social-media life. But the poll also included troubling news for Weiner: Only 30 percent said they definitely would vote for him again…. – Seattle Times, 6-9-11
- Weiner to Enter Treatment Center and Seek Leave From House: Representative Anthony D. Weiner planned to check himself into a treatment center on Saturday after House Democratic leaders, including Nancy Pelosi, called on him to resign and suggested he needed psychiatric counseling.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Weiner said he would request a leave of absence from the House and seek treatment, but provided no further details. “Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” said the spokeswoman, Risa Heller. “In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well. “Congressman Weiner takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision possible for himself, his family and his constituents.”
Ms. Pelosi, the minority leader, was joined in her call for Mr. Weiner to step down by other leading Democrats, including the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida; and the leader of the House Democrats’ re-election efforts, Representative Steve J. Israel of New York. Their calls underscored the growing concern that his online exchanges with women had become a distraction for the party. “Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement. “I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress.”
Ms. Wasserman Schultz called Mr. Weiner’s online exchanges a “sordid affair” that had become an “unacceptable distraction” for the congressman, his constituents and the House. “The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Rep. Weiner’s continued service in Congress is untenable,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said…. – NYT, 6-11-11
- Abandoned by party leaders, how long can Anthony Weiner hang on?: In a major blow to Rep. Anthony Weiner’s attempt to hold onto his job in the wake of a “sexting” scandal, three top Democratic leaders Saturday told the embattled New York congressman that he has to go…. – CS Monitor, 6-11-11
- Rep. Anthony Weiner Could Face Trouble For Interacting With 17-Year-Old: A 17-year-old high school student went to a Delaware Police Station Friday with her laptop and cell phone to help authorities analyze the conversations made between her and New York Rep. Anthony Weiner.
According to Fox News, the girl’s mother said her daughter told her that none of the messages between her and Weiner were inappropriate.
The Philadelphia Inquirer also reported Friday that Daniel P. McElhatton, who represents the high school student’s family, issued a statement saying: “The ‘Tweets’ in question between the student in question and the Congressman were not salacious or in any manner inappropriate. No photographers were ever sent to her or from her.”… – Neon Tommy (USC), 6-10-11
- Weiner’s Fifth Sexting Partner Revealed: The fifth woman in the Weinergate scandal has been identified as Traci Nobles, a Pilates and Zumba instructor who repeatedly referred to the Rep. Anthony Weiner’s genitalia in their online chats, the New York Post reported Friday….
The other women who have come forward are Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old single mother, Lisa Weiss, a 40-year-old Las Vegas blackjack dealer, and porn star Ginger Lee…. – Fox News, 6-10-11
- Congressman Anthony Weiner: Why Democrats are extra mad at him: Congressman Weiner faces some steep political fallout – in addition to any personal consequences – after admitting to ‘regrettable’ interactions with several women other than his wife…. – CS Monitor, 6-7-11
- Huma Abedin, Rep. Anthony Weiner’s wife: Abedin, 34, is a longtime top aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton. She usually stays out of the limelight, in contrast to her headline-grabbing husband, who has been an outspoken Democrat on Capitol Hill…. – WaPo, 6-7-11
- Report: Rep. Weiner’s wife is pregnant: Huma Abedin, the wife of embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner, is pregnant with the couple’s first child, according to The New York Times.
The newspaper, citing “three people with knowledge of the situation,” said the couple has disclosed the pregnancy to close friends and family.
The revelation tops a wild day in which key Democrats have called on Weiner to resign. After days of denials, the New York congressman admitted Monday that he sent a lewd, crotch-level photo of himself to a Seattle woman. He also said he had “inappropriate” relationships with women on Facebook and Twitter.
Weiner has said he will not resign. During his sometimes-tearful news conference, Weiner also said he and his wife — an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — have no plans to split up. They got married in July 2010.
His Democratic colleagues are starting to show their impatience. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, who recruits Democratic candidates to run for office, said Weiner has lost his credibility.
“Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress. In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign,” Schwartz, a top lieutenant of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement…. – USA Today, 6-8-11
- Weiner’s Wife Is Pregnant: Their marriage has become the subject of intense speculation and scrutiny amid an embarrassing online sex scandal.
Now, Representative Anthony D. Weiner and Huma Abedin are about to make news of a different kind: they are expecting their first child.
Ms. Abedin, 35, is in the early stages of pregnancy, according to three people with knowledge of the situation…. – NYT, 6-8-11
- Huma Abedin, Rep. Anthony Weiner’s unflappable wife: Huma Abedin, the wife of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), has for years drawn notice in Washington. In a town that demands conservative conformity, she has been seen as a high-powered professional with exotic beauty and a closet full of Prada suits and heels.
Now, with her husband’s admission of sexually explicit Internet and phone exchanges with several women, Abedin, 35, joins a more pedestrian group — the wives of wayward and powerful husbands. And her dilemma may be even greater than previously thought after the New York Times reported late Wednesday that the senior State Department aide is pregnant with the couple’s first child. The Times said that Abedin, who is very close to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was in the early stages of pregnancy when the Weiner scandal unfolded. Abedin left Wednesday for a trip to Northern Africa with Clinton. A person close to the Clinton family confirmed the pregnancy to The Post on Wednesday.
When asked directly about the development late Wednesday, State Department official Philippe Reines, e-mailed from the Clinton trip in Abu Dhabi: “no comment.”… – WaPo, 6-7-11
- Online Flirtation With Weiner Started With One Word: Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old Texan, came to Representative Anthony D. Weiner’s attention when she posted a single word on his Facebook page: “Hottttt.” But, she says, it was the New York congressman who turned up the heat.
In an interview broadcast Tuesday morning on “Good Morning America,” Ms. Broussard said it was Mr. Weiner who quickly initiated a conversation via instant messaging, Mr. Weiner who moved that conversation in a sexual direction and Mr. Weiner who sent racy photos. “It wasn’t like I was chasing him, at all,” she said.
Ms. Broussard said she first wrote on Mr. Weiner’s Facebook page in April, after being impressed by a speech she saw on the Internet, delivered by Mr. Weiner, who until last week had best been known for his fiery liberal speech. “He sent me a friend request the same day,” Ms. Broussard said. “I just thought, that’s weird.”
Ms. Broussard, in the first on-the-record mainstream media interview offering a window into how Mr. Weiner entered into at least six sexually explicit online relationships with women he met via Facebook, said her online exchange with the congressman started simply enough. The congressman, she said, was “asking about Texas, that sort of thing, just joking back and forth.”… – NYT, 6-8-11
- Weiner exchanges ‘didn’t make sense’ Student’s story fits online pattern: Gennette Cordova said she did not even think the photo was real. It was nearly 9 p.m. on a Friday when Cordova, who was preparing to head out for the night with a friend, logged onto Twitter and discovered that Representative Anthony D. Weiner had sent her a suggestive photo of himself in gray boxer briefs.
“It didn’t make any sense,” Cordova, a 21-year-old college student in northwestern Washington state, said in her first extensive interview since Weiner confessed in a news conference Monday to sending her the photo. “I figured it must have been a fake.”
Cordova’s experience with Weiner appears to fit a pattern: In rapid and reckless fashion, he sought to transform informal online conversations about politics and policy into sexually charged exchanges, often laced with racy language and explicit images.
Cordova, who had text-messaged with Weiner, a New York Democrat, about their shared concern over his conservative critics, said she had never sent Weiner anything provocative. Asked if she was taken aback by Weiner’s decision to send the photo, she said, “Oh gosh, yes.”
Cordova spoke to The New York Times as Weiner faced intensifying calls for his resignation because of his acknowledged online sexual communications with at least six women over a period of three years. Yesterday, House leaders began a concerted effort to persuade him to step down, as another of his missives, more explicit in nature, surfaced and word went out that his wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is pregnant…. – Boston Globe, 6-8-11
- Weiner’s downfall a reminder of perils of Jewish pride: He was supposed to be one of Congress’ rising stars, a Jewish boy from Brooklyn with great ambition and promise.
A truculent Democrat with a penchant for media attention, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) was an unabashed liberal on domestic affairs and a hard-liner on foreign policy, particularly Israel. Like his predecessor in his U.S. House of Representatives seat, Sen. Charles Schumer, Weiner had larger ambitions — in his case, mayor of New York City.
But then came his shamefaced news conference Monday, when the 46-year-old congressman, who was married last year, admitted to lying about sending a lewd photo to a woman he met on the internet…. – JTA, 6-7-11
- Weiner should resign, Cantor says: Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the U.S. House of Representatives majority leader, called on Congressman Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to resign.
“I don’t condone his activity. And I think he should resign,” Cantor said Tuesday after a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported.
“We’ve got a lot of serious challenges in this country and a lot of work for Congress to do,” Cantor said. “The last thing we need to do is get enmeshed in a discussion about Congressman Weiner and his Twitter activities.”… – JTA, 6-7-11
- Anthony Weiner: Jon Stewart Says Congressman’s Confession Is ‘Killing Me’: “This is the weirdest f—ing story I’ve ever seen in my life — or the greatest episode of ‘Maury’ ever,” the “Daily Show” host quips of Andrew Breitbart’s press conference interruption…. – Hollywood Reporter, 6-7-11
- Weiner Constituents Grapple With ‘Juvenile’ Behavior: Fierce advocate for heavily Jewish district on the ropes after admitting lies and lewd tweeting…. – The Jewish Week, 6-7-11
- Weiner silent as few colleagues defend him: With pressure increasing from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner fell uncharacteristically silent Tuesday: no news conferences, no cable television appearances and certainly no Twitter posts.
One day after admitting he had sent sexually charged messages via Twitter and Facebook to half a dozen women over three years — and then lying about it when evidence surfaced last week — the New York Democrat found few friends on Capitol Hill.
His party’s leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, formally referred his case to the Ethics Committee. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Weiner should resign. And when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was asked what he would tell the congressman if Weiner called seeking advice, he replied, “Call somebody else.”
Nevertheless, even Weiner’s critics suggested the decision on his fate was up to the congressman and his Brooklyn and Queens constituency…. – USA Today, 6-8-11
- Anthony Weiner explained self to Bill Clinton: Rep. Anthony Weiner explained himself and apologized for his conduct to Bill Clinton, who officiated his wedding to wife Huma Abedin, sources familiar with the call said.
Weiner made the call within the past 48 hours. It took place following his emotional press conference Monday in New York City, where he admitted that he had posted a lewd photo of himself to Twitter 10 days earlier, the sources said…. – Politco, 6-7-11
- Weiner admits he sent lewd picture; won’t quit: After days of denials, a choked-up Rep. Anthony Weiner confessed Monday that he tweeted a photo of his bulging underpants to a young woman, and he also admitted to “inappropriate” exchanges with six women before and after he got married. He apologized for lying but said he would not resign.
“This was me doing a dumb thing and doing it repeatedly and lying about it,” the 46-year-old New York Democrat said after a week of double-entendre headlines and late-night wisecracks full of Weiner jokes.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi immediately called for an ethics committee investigation into whether Weiner broke House rules…. – AP, 6-6-11
- Weiner Admits He Sent Lewd Photos; Vows Not to Resign: Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a rising star in Democratic politics who has long aspired to be mayor of New York City, admitted on Monday to having inappropriate online exchanges with at least six women, and repeatedly lying about his role in sending a sexually suggestive photograph to a young woman over Twitter last month.
An image of Representative Anthony D. Weiner, one of several posted on Andrew Breitbart’s Web site, BigGovernment.com.
After a week of sometimes indignant public denials and insistence that he was the victim of an Internet hacker, a weeping and stammering Mr. Weiner, 46, acknowledged at a news conference that he had sent the photo of himself in his underwear to the woman in Seattle.
The six-term congressman from Brooklyn insisted that he had broken no laws and vowed to remain in office, calling the matter an “aberration from which I’ve learned.”
During an extraordinary 27-minute appearance, the congressman went on to describe a side of his life that he had kept secret from his closest confidants and family members, in which he befriended young female admirers over the Internet and engaged in intimate sexual banter with them. “Over the past few years, I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and occasionally on the phone with women I had met online,” Mr. Weiner said.
Mr. Weiner said he had never met the women with whom he corresponded in person and added: “I don’t know what I was thinking. This was a destructive thing to do. I’m apologetic for doing it.”
But Mr. Weiner’s political standing appeared in grave danger after his news conference. There was a striking absence of any public expressions of support from his colleagues, and the House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi, called for an ethics investigation into Mr. Weiner’s conduct. “I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation,” she said.
House ethics rules state that members should conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”… – NYT, 6-6-11
- Weiner Says He Sent Photos and Lied, But Won’t Resign: At a news conference in Midtown Monday afternoon, Representative Anthony D. Weiner tearfully confessed to sending a photo of himself in his underwear to a woman via Twitter and then lying about it.
Mr. Weiner said the indiscretion was part of a pattern of sending inappropriate and at times explicit photos and messages to women he met over the Internet.
Mr. Weiner, 46, a popular and brash Democrat from Queens who has been considering a run for mayor of New York City and is known for aggressive and sometimes intemperate political commentary on Twitter, apologized repeatedly.
“I have made terrible mistakes that have hurt the people I care about the most and I’m deeply sorry,” Mr. Weiner said. “I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends and supporters and the media.”
He said he had no intention of resigning, that he had broken no laws and that while his wife “made it clear that she thought that what I did was very dumb,” his marriage was not ending. He said he never met any of the women.
After Mr. Weiner’s appearance, the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, called for an ethics investigation of her Democratic colleague to see if he broke any House rules. Mr. Weiner responded that he would “fully cooperate” with it.
Mr. Weiner’s speech and question-and-answer session was the culmination (so far) of a drama that began over Memorial Day weekend when the conservative blog BigGovernment.com published a close-up of a man in underwear that appeared to have gone out over Mr. Weiner’s Twitter account to the attention of a woman in Seattle. Mr. Weiner had maintained ever since that he had not sent the photograph, though he said he could not be certain whether he was the person in it.
On Monday, though, BigGovernment.com published a series of embarrassing photos of Mr. Weiner that it said he had sent to another woman last month, prompting Mr. Weiner to call a 4 p.m. news conference at the Sheraton hotel in Midtown…. – NYT, 6-6-11
- Rep. Weiner confesses ‘terrible mistakes.’ Did he save his career?: After a week of dodging questions, Rep. Weiner says he sent a lewd photo of himself and lied about it. Nancy Pelosi calls for a federal investigation. Will voters forgive him?… –
Saying he had made “terrible mistakes” and had lied about it, Rep. Anthony Weiner finally came clean.
After a week of dodging questions over whether he had sent a lewd photo of himself to a coed in Seattle, the grim faced congressman admitted that and more at a press conference Monday in New York City.
He admitted he sent photos and had on-line chats – even intimate phone calls – with at least six women over the last three years. He termed his own behavior “destructive,” especially since he continued the practice of communicating with women and sending them risky – even nude – photos, even after he was married…. – CS Monitor, 6-6-11
- Rep. Anthony Weiner admits sending lewd photos: Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., held a news conference in New York Monday afternoon. He said he lied last week when he claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked by someone who sent photos of a man’s underwear-clad crotch to a young woman in Seattle. At the time, he said he could not say “with certitude” whether the photo was of him…. – USA Today, 6-6-11
- Rep. Weiner admits tweeting lewd photo of himself: In an extraordinary reversal at an extraordinary news conference, Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York admitted Monday afternoon that he had repeatedly lied to his constituents and the country in denying that he had sent a lewd picture of himself to a college-age woman on Twitter. In a tearful admission, he said that he had in fact sent multiple inappropriate messages to multiple women but that he had done nothing illegal and would not resign.
“The picture was of me, and I sent it,” said Weiner (D), who called it “a very dumb thing to do,” “a hugely regrettable mistake” and “destructive.” “I am deeply ashamed,” said Weiner, his jaw clenched.
Soon after Weiner finished speaking, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who he said had urged him to tell the whole truth, called on the House ethics committee to conduct an investigation into his case…. – WaPo, 6-6-11
- Breitbart publishes alleged photos of Anthony Weiner: Rep. Anthony Weiner is set to to hold a 4 p.m. news conference on Monday after two Web sites run by conservative activists posted stories claiming the lawmaker sent a shirtless photo of himself to a young woman.
The photo, which has not been independently verified by Weiner or other news organizations, could raise a new problem for the New York Democrat, who gave a muddled account last week in explaining how a photo of a man’s crotch was sent under his Twitter account to a young woman in Washington state.
At a dramatic Manhattan news conference, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said he won’t resign despite taking and sending lewd pictures to women. (June 6)
The new photo shows the bare torso and part of the face of a man resembling Weiner. The websites BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, both of which are run by conservative Andrew Breitbart, posted the photo this morning and said they came from a young woman who got them from Weiner. The websites didn’t identify the woman.
The photograph is reminiscent of one sent by Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) to a young woman in the Washington area via the “personals” category on Craigslist.com. Lee resigned shortly after the photo became public…. – WaPo, 6-6-11
- Rep. Anthony Weiner: ‘The Picture Was of Me and I Sent It’: Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York said today he has engaged in “several inappropriate” electronic relationships with six women over three years, and that he publicly lied about a photo of himself sent over Twitter to a college student in Seattle over a week ago.
“I take full responsibility for my actions,” Weiner said. “The picture was of me, and I sent it.”
The announcement came as ABC News prepared to release an interview with Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old single mother from Texas who provided dozens of photos, emails, Facebook messages and cell phone call logs that she says chronicle a sexually-charged electronic relationship with Weiner that rapidly-evolved for more than a month, starting on April 20, 2011.
ABC News reached out to Weiner earlier today for comment about his possible ties to Broussard, but he did not respond to requests for an interview. At a press conference later, Weiner confirmed Broussard was one of the women with whom he sexted…. – ABC News, 6-6-11 — View an exclusive slideshow of images obtained by ABC News.
- Web Site Posts Image Said to Be of Bare-Chested Weiner: A conservative blog published a series of embarrassing photographs and e-mails on Monday that it claimed had been sent by Representative Anthony D. Weiner to an unidentified woman over the last few weeks.
The blogger, Andrew Breitbart, said he had obtained the photos and messages from the woman, but did not describe either her or her connection to Mr. Weiner, who is married.
The photos, posted throughout the day on BigGovernment.com, apparently depict Mr. Weiner barechested and sitting at his computer and show him lounging on a couch in a T-shirt, with two cats at his side.
Mr. Breitbart said the photos were sent last month, on May 4, 5 and 20.
Mr. Breitbart, a provocative scourge of the political left, said in an interview that he knows who the woman is and that she would be stepping forward shortly to explain how she came into possession of the photos.
“You’re going to know who this person is by tomorrow,” Mr. Breitbart said. “She is going to come out of her anonymity in a very short time. She will be coming forward to communicate the means by which she received these photos. I think it will be clear that she is telling the truth.”
An ABC News employee said that the network has conducted an interview with a woman, who says she received the photos from Mr. Weiner, evidently the same photos Mr. Breitbart obtained.
As of this afternoon, the network was determining when it would broadcast the interview.
Mr. Weiner is expected to address the news media at 4 p.m. at a Midtown Manhattan, breaking several days of silence.
Two people close to Mr. Weiner said he would not resign on Monday, but rather express some responsibility for his actions…. – NYT, 6-6-11 — Big Government Photos
- Anthony Weiner: How Twitter’s features tripped him up – CS Monitor, 6-6-11
- Anthony Weiner: Were his dreams of being mayor just Twittered away? – CS Monitor, 6-2-11
- Weiner Admits to Sending Lewd Photos, Faces Call for Ethics Investigation: Rep. Anthony Weiner, D – N.Y., went before cameras Monday to admit to sending sexually explicit photos and messages to several different women. Jeffrey Brown discusses the scandal with NewsHour Political Editor David Chalian. … – PBS Newshour, 6-6-11
- Twitter scandal: a mess for Anthony Weiner, a lesson for Congress – CS Monitor, 6-1-11
- Why Weiner’s no-sex scandal has him hanging by a thread: It never gets old. The political sex scandal occupies such an integral place in the American experience that it should get a wing of its own at the Smithsonian.
The past month has been particularly fecund in revelations of gasp-worthy behaviour by the power elite. Dominique Strauss-Kahn (allegedly) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (definitively) became examples of foreign-born bigwigs whose reputations were soiled on U.S. soil.
U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner, D-NY, wipes his eye during a news conference in New York where he admitted that he tweeted a bulging-underpants photo of himself to a young woman. Richard Drew/AP
Then new details of John Edwards’s shameless duplicity emerged in his six-count indictment last week on charges of violating campaign finance laws to hide the affair he was having during his last presidential run.
New York congressman Anthony Weiner, perhaps proving that one’s patronymic is destiny after all, is the latest to join the bad boys’ club.
There’s only one problem with this so-called sex scandal, however. Apparently, there was no sex. Unlike Mr. Edwards and Mr. Schwarzenegger, the newlywed Mr. Weiner did not get physical with any of the six women to whom he has admitted sending sexually suggestive photos of himself and talking (lewdly, one presumes) on the phone. He never even met them in person.
“In an era where we are more and more tolerant and less and less embarrassed by various sexual content – we see more of it on TV and are more explicit about it in our daily conversations – we’re making scandals of things that wouldn’t even have been that scandalous in the Victorian era,” Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, remarked in an interview…. – Globe and Mail, 6-8-11
- Julian E. Zelizer: Surviving sex scandals: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) has been at the center of a major scandal ever since the conservative web mogul Andrew Breitbart revealed that the congressman’s Twitter account was a little more interesting than most. As details about Weiner’s tweets and Facebook chats became public, along with photos of naked body parts, the congressman made a profuse public apology.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for an ethics investigation less than five minutes after he spoke. A growing number of legislators are now demanding that Weiner resign.
Though the pressure has intensified, Weiner insists he is staying in office. A new poll supports his decision — revealing that more than 60 percent of his constituents believe he should not resign…. – Politico, 6-10-11
- History shows Weiner could persevere past scandal: If he manages to keep his seat in Congress, Anthony Weiner would join a handful of political figures who survived what initially looked like a career-ending debacle.
And even if the experiences of the likes of Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, David Vitter and others weren’t enough, a new poll points to a forgiving constituency.
Both factors point to what observers call a truism in the fast-paced world of seamy gossip and online revelations — the first few days after a politician comes clean are invariably the worst.
“By sitting tight, most of the politicians were able to stay in office,” said Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “In general, voters are interested in these sex scandals, but they are not willing to kick their senators or representatives out of office.”… – AP, 6-11-11
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman: Jewish Ethics and Anthony Weiner’s Very Bad Week: Q – Does Rep. Weiner’s admitted act of sending out explicit photos of himself disqualify him from public office? Is this a new form of adultery? Given the fact that “sexting” is so common these days among young people, will it become a political albatross comparable to pot smoking for aspiring pols who came of age in the ’60s? After all, isn’t this just a byproduct of the Internet revolution in the way that drug use was the byproduct of the counter culture? Eventually, won’t the culture simply catch up to these new freedoms and no one will care that he did this?
A – I see what you are getting it. “I took the photo but did not send it” comes perilously close to “I didn’t inhale.” And now, having inhaled pot in one’s youth does not even raise an eyebrow, much less disqualify one from office, as President Obama has proven. So will the same be said for “sexting” a few years from now?
I doubt it, at least in the case of Rep. Wiener. Politicians may get a pass for other recklessness, but our tolerance for sexual indiscretion while in office has been decreasing with each shocking new revelation…. – The NY Jewish Week, 6-9-11