Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Aftermath of Weinergate

With Anthony Weiner's resignation, it may be thought Weinergate is finally over after three weeks. I beg to differ. The implications of what happened in that three weeks will have a lasting impact for a while yet. Here are a few examples.

Weinergate underscored a rift between the Left and the Democrats. Strip away the party affiliations for a minute and really take a look at who defended Weiner throughout the scandal without fail. It was the Left. They saw Weiner as a progressive voice within Congress, one that effectively took Republicans to task on any number of issues. When Democrats started turning on Weiner, the Leftists took it personally and started pleading with the Democrats to stand behind Weiner and to take on the Right. When that didn't happen, Leftists went ballistic. There has been a rift between Leftists and Democrats, and Weinergate not only exposed it, but widened it.

The party of women? Think again. Weinergate showed how little respect the Left has for women. When the first stories about Weiner texting a college student came out, the Left was already in "slime the woman" mode until the student came out and issued a statement that was beneficial to Weiner's defense at the time. Then, everything was fine and the "slime the woman" machine was shut down. Then, other women, including a porn star turned stripper, a single mother, and a 17 year old girl, started coming to light. In all of these cases, Leftists had to perform acrobatics to continue defending Weiner while Democrats got tired of playing Twister and tried to cut their losses. Yet, they both have to address how far they were willing to go to defend Weiner by using women. Until they do, women could have second thoughts about supporting Democrats.

A hard look at both parties. Neither major party has a clean record when it comes to sexual escapades. Whether it's David Vitter or Barney Frank, Democrats and Republicans need to clean house if for no other reason than for national security. (There are other reasons, but national security is a pretty big one in my book.) Whenever you inject sex into a political situation, there will be mistakes made. How easy would it be to have a spy seduce and then blackmail a politician? If Weiner's libido is any indication, it's not that hard at all. Therein lies the opportunity any spy would need to steal or blackmail for vital secrets. Granted, we're not going to have politicians going from super freaks to chaste overnight, but it has to be started sometime. From where I sit, that time started three weeks ago.

Cyber-Security? Yeah, right! No matter how much we lock down our computers, no matter how many firewalls and anti-virus programs we have, online information can be obtained, not if, but when. Weiner's inadvertent Tweet becoming public started Weinergate. When you consider something as small as a mistyped command can open up such scrutiny, it's safe to say we're not nearly as secure online as we think we are.

The media aren't doing their jobs. By and large, Weinergate was broken by the "new media." The mainstream media were left playing catch-up as Andrew Breitbart on the right and DailyKos on the left did the bulk of the investigative journalism on Weinergate. Even CNN, the self-professed top name in cable news, had pathetic coverage of the scandal, relying on official statements from Weiner's office instead of trying to unravel the inconsistencies that arose within hours of the story breaking. The journalism profession has taken a serious nosedive, and if their coverage of Weinergate is any indication of its future, it will hit the ground before it decides to try to ascend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Resign? It's Possible

One of the most striking statements that came from Anthony Weiner's press conference admitting he lied about not sending pictures to people was his clear denial he was going to resign. That, however, doesn't prevent people from both sides of the aisle from saying he should. Regardless of your political affiliation, it's entirely possible Weiner could reconsider for a number of reasons.

1) It creates an issue for Republicans to use in campaign ads. The timing of the Weiner scandal may not seem to be all that important to the 2012 campaign, but the longer it goes on, the more likely it becomes an issue that can be used, especially if the details are more and more salacious. At a time when Democrats are hoping to take back the House and keep the Senate and White House, a resolution to Weinergate can't come soon enough for them.

2) Weiner committed an unpardonable sin. No, I'm not talking about lying about the photos. The unpardonable sin Weiner committed is he allowed party bigwigs to unknowingly lie on his behalf. That alone cost him some support with Democrat leadership. With a looming House Ethics Committee investigation, it may buy Weiner a little time to change his mind, but it would be difficult to count on much Democrat support for him to keep his job at this point.

3) Weiner made Leftists look foolish. As predictable as ever, the Left came out in force to defend Weiner and attack Andrew Breitbart. There are some who still defend Weiner to this day, even though in the larger perspective, he's used them to provide temporary cover. To their credit, some of those Weiner defenders are coming clean and admitting they were duped and angry at Weiner for making them look foolish. The longer this scandal goes on, you can count on the erosion of Weiner's support from his grassroots, and that can have a negative impact on the party.

4) The media will keep Weinergate going. Weinergate has the perfect storm of media attention: sex, lies, social media, attractive women, a politician, and endless numbers of jokes that can be made. If that's not enough to make Weiner reconsider, nothing will be.

5) The "sympathy card" is being played. Whenever there's a sexual scandal involving a prominent politician, the focus expands to include those indirectly involved with the scandal. Weiner's wife, Huma, has become a public figure in the wake of the scandal, and that in and of itself can create a strain that can ruin her marriage and her life. That, in turn, creates sympathy or Huma and makes Weiner look even worse, especially if the rumors are true that Huma is pregnant. That won't end well for anyone.

Although this list isn't comprehensive by any stretch of the imagination, these five points lead me to believe Weiner may be resigning sometime in the future. It's a matter of whether Weiner sees the signs and when he decides to take (or not take) action.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Watchdogs? Not So Much

With Anthony Weiner's surprise announcement today confessing to his Twitter transgressions, there is bound to be some fallout. However, there is one group of people who deserve special scorn in all of this.

The so-called mainstream media.

Looking back and watching what newspapers, magazines, websites, and cable news did to cover Weinergate, I can only feel embarrassed for them because they clearly took the lazy way out. Seriously, CNN's in-depth coverage consisted of...talking to Weiner's office and accepting their word as the end of the story. CNN, let me give you some advice. When Jon Stewart mocks your coverage and essentially scoops you, you're doing something wrong.

This is a time when real reporters would have been digging more deeply than talking to a press secretary or repeating a press release. The real reporting on both sides was done by the blogosphere. You hear that, New York Times? Bloggers did your job for you. You may not have cared to spend time researching the story, but DailyKos sure did! And say what you will about Andrew Breitbart, the fact is he got the story right from the start and the rest of the world had to catch up. If you Leftists in the media want to eliminate Breitbart's effectiveness, do a better job than he's doing at uncovering the truth. Weinergate doesn't exonerate Breitbart, but it sure as hell damns the media.

At some point, the media are going to have to adjust their approach to news events. Instead of being PR puppets for whatever side they support, they need to be skeptics, verifying everything. That's not happening today, and I don't see it happening any time soon. Until then, I guess we'll have to get used to the media watchdogs lying on the porch while the blogosphere does the heavy lifting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Weiner By Any Other Name

To call Rep. Anthony Weiner a controversial figure would be an understatement. An outspoken Leftist, Weiner has made a name for himself as a firebrand on the Left, making outrageous (and quasi-true) statements about conservatives.

Now, Weiner's finding himself in a spotlight he didn't anticipate. With the recent scandal involving his alleged sending of a photo to a Washington State coed via Twitter, Weiner's being scrutinized by people of both sides. Yet, as reliable as the sunrise, the Left is rallying around Weiner, suggesting his story holds up and it was all a conservative smear job lead by Andrew Breitbart (since it was one of Breitbart's websites that "Weinergate" broke). The pro-Weiner forces are saying it's reprehensible to post falsehoods about a politician and those responsible should be driven out of business before they do more harm to the unintended victims of this story.

Of course, this would make more sense if the Left hasn't made a cottage industry out of smearing conservatives with falsehoods. Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and others are favorite targets for the kind of "reporting" the Left is decrying with Weiner. Go to any Leftist website (Media Matters, DailyKos, DemocraticUnderground, Huffington Post, FireDogLake) and you'll see lie after lie being taken as gospel (as well as any number of excuses to discount Weinergate).

When the Left can hold themselves to the standard they've set for Breitbart and the right, they'll have room to complain about how Weiner's being treated in the media.