MSM Starting to Cover ‘WeinerGate’ UPDATE: More Details Now Emerging UPDATE: Weiner DM’d a Porn Star?
Posted on | May 29, 2011 | 106 Comments
8 p.m. ET: GENETTE CORDOVA ISSUES STATEMENT
* * 4:10 p.m. ET: RE-BUMPED FOR UPDATE BELOW * *
* * 1:10 p.m. ET: BUMPED FOR UPDATE BELOW * *
Genette Nicole Cordova, the 21-year-old college student to whom the photo was sent.
About 10 p.m. last night, I figured we had enough facts that I should put together a “Joe Friday”-style straight-news version of the WeinerGate saga, which I posted at The American Spectator:
The Internet was abuzz Saturday after it was reported that Rep. Anthony Weiner had apparently sent a lewd photo to a Seattle-area college student.
The New York Democrat quickly asserted that his online accounts had been “hacked” after Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com reported that Weiner’s Twitter account was used to send the photo, which shows the pelvic area of a man in gray undershorts with his tumescent penis bulging. . . .
Read the whole thing. By the time I got that story finished and online, Jonathan Allen and Ben Smith of Politico had this: “Weiner’s office did not respond to a request for comment on whether he has contacted federal authorities to report the alleged cyber-attack, which could fall under laws prohibiting cyberhacking and impersonating federal officials.”
That’s crucial. By claiming that his accounts had been “hacked,” Weiner was asserting that he was the victim of a crime, which he would obviously want to report to the proper authorities. And Weiner’s claim is now a matter of public record, reported by the New York Post:
“Anthony’s accounts on both Facebook and Twitter were hacked,” said spokesman Dave Arnold.
The photo does not belong to the Democrat and wasn’t taken by him, Arnold added.
OK, then, let the crime be reported to the FBI so that the mysterious malefactor can be appehended and brought to justice. But the facts of the case are just starting to look very strange. Ace of Spades has a mirthful takedown of Weiner’s explanation, which he subsequently expanded further, and finally reiterated with breathtaking clarity.
Now, when Ace has to play Ben Bradlee in this drama — when a mere blogger is the one asking the questions that by all rights you’d expect to be asked by actual reporters and editors in newsrooms in Washington and New York – you can be excused for thinking there’s something badly out-of-whack in the media universe. Myself, I’m just happy that Politico and the New York Post are reporting the story. However weak their initial reports may be, it’s Saturday during Memorial Day weekend. Not a lot of top-drawer investigative journalism talent is sitting around the newspaper office on the Saturday before Memorial Day, and it might take a couple days for this story to break big-time.
But it will break big-time, trust me. Anybody who looks at this is going to notice things like Dan Riehl noticed and Moe Lane noticed. I guarantee you reporters at the New York Times and the Washington Post are already sniffing around this story. Some young B-teamer on the Capitol Hill beat would like nothing better than to take down a congressman over Memorial Day weekend while all the big dogs in the newsroom are vacationing at Ocean City.
This story isn’t going away, not any time soon. Patience.
(Original post time 3:22 a.m.)
UPDATE II (1:10 p.m. ET): Ace continues to play Ben Bradlee to the blogospheric newsroom, and updates to note this important point: Anthony Weiner was only following 91 people on Twitter, and Gennette Cordova was one of them. Weiner is now actually following 194 people, according to Da Tech Guy, but the point remains: Why her?
Velvet Hammer at Ironic Surrealism continues to update her exhaustive compilation on Weiner’s women, including the high-school student (!!!) who listed her “turn ons” as “married men.” NTTAWWT.
The Village Voice is compelled to take notice of the developing scandal. This is about a congressman from New York, a former aide to Chuck Schumer whose reported ambition is to become mayor of New York City. The major media are going to have a hard time ignoring a story like this.
Linked by POH Diaries — thanks!
UPDATE III: OK, now the story is covered by New York magazine, where Mike Vilensky writes: “Some right-wing bloggers are asserting that the photo might be evidence that Weiner is having an affair, according to Gawker.”
I don’t know about “some right-wing bloggers,” but I have asserted no such thing, nor have Breitbart, Riehl, Ace, et al. What is actually at issue is whether, as Weiner and his spokesman say, Weiner’s accounts were hacked and, if so, who perpetrated this federal crime. If there was no “hack,” on the other hand . . .
Well, finish that sentence yourself. Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media doesn’t believe in Twitter coincidences.
reporter stenographer at NBC New York apparently takes Weiner’s claim at face value.
As can be expected, Fleet Street takes notice, with a story in the London Daily Mail. Ask anyone who covered the Clinton scandals: In the era of online news, the British press is any scandal-plagued Democrat’s worst enemy. British reporters are utterly ruthless about scandals and, unlike their American colleagues, don’t give a damn about the partisan affiliation of the target. If the Telegraph, the Times or the Guardian gets a scoop on a U.S. scandal, Matt Drudge won’t hesitate to link it.
UPDATE IV (4:10 p.m. ET): OK, now we have a very significant development: In March, porn star/stripper Ginger Lee boasted that she had received a Twitter direct message (DM) from Rep. Weiner.
She is a fan of Weiner, and raved that getting this private communication from the Democratic congressman was “like a DM from Buddha.”
This is what I believe lawyers would call “pattern evidence,” and if anybody in the major media thinks they can safely ignore this story much longer, they’re wrong.
UPDATE V: Linked by Uncoverage — thanks! — and also thanks to Donald Douglas at American Power for giving a tip of the fedora to Da Tech Guy. Da Tech Guy got a ‘Lanche and also his own Memeorandum thread.
There are certain headline formulas that are automatically newsworthy. “Congressman + coed” is one. “Congressman + porn star” is another. The fact that the story appears to be only a case of inappropriate private communication — no one is suggesting that Weiner was boinking his Twitter friends — does not lessen its news value.
Remember that no one ever claimed that Rep. Mark Foley had sexual relationships with House pages. It was the “inappropriate communication” that got him.
UPDATE VI: Linked by Don Surber and The Rio Norte Line — thanks! Just in case any idiot is buying into the Daily Kos conspiracy-theory claim that Andrew Breitbart made up this scandal, Nice Deb recounts how she saw it as it happened:
I happened to be on Twitter right after the thing emerged, but I chose to demurely avert my eyes:
@Nice Deb:@redrivergrl @GennetteNicole ///tell me someone made a copy of that before it was taken down…
@Nice Deb: @redrivergrl @GennetteNicole Oh, I see you did. LOL. #tcot (I don’t blog about crap like this)
Meanwhile, our Ben Bradlee (Ace will be played by Jason Robards in the film adaptation of All The Congressman’s Weiners) is not exactly happy with Rich Lowry’s crew:
I hate busting chops on an important conservative media outlet but what exactly is NRO’s problem? They have 800 people over there and 40 blogs. No one can do a ten minute post suggesting some questions that remain outstanding here?
Even in their g–d–d “web briefing,” apparently there’s just no room to mention what is actually happening on the right side of the internet dial.
Better get it together, NRO. You don’t want to make Ace angry. There is nothing scarier than an angry
Ewok Jason Robards.
UPDATE VII: Outside the Beltway examines the Daily Kos Breitbart-centric conspiracy theory. And laughs.
UPDATE VIII: Weiner spokesman in an e-mail to the New York Daily News: “This is intended to be a distraction, and we’re not going to let it become one. Anthony’s accounts were obviously hacked. He doesn’t know the person named by the hacker, and we will be consulting on what steps to take next.”
OMFG. A “distraction“? Yeah, never mind that there seem to be exactly two alternatives:
- Weiner, a member of Congress with a high security clearance, was the victim of a federal crime involving a breach of his online communications accounts; or
- Weiner sent a picture of his penis to a college girl.
We’re about 40 hours into this story, and this “I was hacked” claim is looking less plausible with every passing hour. Please note how much better Felicia Sonmez reports the story for the Washington Post.
Gennette Cordova appears to be back on Twitter and has promised to release a public statement “soon.” Lee Stranahan asks, “Would your spouse buy it?”
The Associated Press has done a small item on Weiner — basically a press release, exhibiting zero skepticism toward his claim of being “hacked.”
Ace of Spades points out that the MSM keep misreading the timeline of Weiner’s Tweets.