Dead man texting.
This describes the eventual fate of Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. Weiner’s I-won’t-resign press conference aside, he’ll soon quit — shoved out by his party, whose members do not want to see the word “Weiner” in their 2012 opponents’ attack ads.
The real story here is the initial refusal of the so-called traditional media to take Weinergate seriously. Certainly the story contains juicy, hot-button interest points — power, politics, a big-name principal married to a top aide of a powerful Cabinet member, the allegation of an online criminal hacking of the Twitter account of a congressman. Potent page one, above-the-fold stuff, right?
Weiner, a seven-term New York congressman and a “rising star in the Democratic Party,” once ran for mayor of New York and makes no secret of wanting to try again. Only 11 months ago, he married a young, attractive woman who works as a top aide for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton officiated at the wedding. Weiner helped lead the charge to pass ObamaCare (before trying to get a waiver from it for New York City).
Weiner’s vicious us-against-them attacks against Republicans made him a hot number in the Democratic Party and a go-to guy for the MSNBC lineup of left-wing hatchetry. Commentary Magazine’s Jonathan Tobin wrote: “Weiner has a well-earned reputation of being one of the most obnoxious members of the House of Representatives but since [Washington Post’s Dana] Milbank likes Weiner’s politics, he describes him as a ‘Brooklyn-born streetfighter’ rather than a lout and a bully as he would be called if he were a Tea Party favorite.”
Yet it took days, an eternity in today’s 24/7 news cycle, to shake the sleep from the eyes of the Big Media. Here’s the timeline.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, BigGovernment.com, a website run by conservative, self-described “provocateur” Andrew Breitbart, broke the story that Weiner had sent, via Twitter, a photograph of an aroused man in his undershorts to a female Seattle college student. Weiner denied sending the picture. He called himself a “victim” and accused someone of hacking into his Twitter account. But curiously, he refused to deny that he was the person in the photo. Most guys would know whether someone snapped a close-up photo of themselves in an excited state.
His defenders sprang into action, with onliners such as The Huffington Post and Daily Kos speculating that Breitbart was himself behind the texted photo! A CBS reporter blamed the major media’s disinterest in the story on Breitbart. “The person who reported it, Andrew Breitbart,” said congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, “has a history of taking Democrats out of context and smearing them.”
CNN, among others, reminded us that Breitbart “falsely” accused Shirley Sherrod, a black Department of Agriculture official, of discriminating against a white farmer. Actually, Breitbart published what he later learned was an out-of-context excerpt from a speech Sherrod delivered at an NAACP function. Sherrod, in the part Breitbart published, told the audience that she intentionally refused to help the farmer who wanted a loan. The audience laughed — before they learned that Sherrod did, indeed, help the farmer. Breitbart argued that this laughter showed the NAACP — which had just accused the tea party of racism — tolerating discrimination against whites. It was a legitimate point.
CBS’s then-anchor Dan Rather relied on phony documents in his hit piece on President George W. Bush. Rather refused to admit his wrongdoing even after CBS fired him for his gross negligence. New York Times reporter Jason Blair’s fabricated stories brought down Times management. Janet Cooke wrote bogus stories for The Washington Post. USA Today gave us screaming — and quite false — front-page stories accusing racists of targeting and burning black churches. There are many examples of false, biased, slanted, negligent and agenda-driven stories by the same “respectable” media that sniff at people like Breitbart — who, right now, deserves a well-earned victory lap. He does have an agenda — to prick the supposedly nonpartisan media into behaving more nonpartisan.
As for Weiner, lucky for him there is a “D” at the end of his title. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, refuses to say whether he and other GOP House members pushed then-Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., into resigning after the married lawmaker sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist. But hours after Boehner met with Lee, he resigned. The non-traditional values party, the Democratic Party, operates differently because, apparently, less is expected from its elected officials.
Expect few tears from non-Democrats for the New York “street fighter.” To people like Weiner, proponents of limited government are not merely wrong. They are rotten people. To people like Weiner, non-liberals cannot sincerely believe ObamaCare will reduce the quality of care, cause government-led rationing and fail to reduce costs. Such people are deranged, knuckle-dragging, country club degenerates who despise the poor, the sick and the elderly.
This explains Weiner’s partisanship. How does the traditional media explain theirs?