Weiner-Wienergate: CNN video: Weiner refuses to deny that he sent lewd pic

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As many Americans avoided the news over the long holiday weekend, those watching the social networking site Twitter saw a fascinating story unfold involving a liberal congressman and a photo of a clothed but discernibly turgid body part that was broadcast publicly from his verified Twitter account and addressed to a young lady to whom he is not married.

In case you missed it, on Friday night a lewd photograph was sent from the Twitter account of U. S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to an attractive female college student from Washington state. Weiner initially claimed that his account -- an account that has been verified by Twitter as genuinely belonging to Weiner -- was hacked. Despite this claim of identity theft, Weiner has not sought the assistance of law enforcement in finding the culprit.

The tweet in question contained the handle of a single Twitter user (known as a reply or mention) followed by a link to a photo on Weiner's yfrog account. (yfrog is a service that provides a simple way to upload a photo and share it onTwitter.)

I'd rather not describe it in detail, but the photo would qualify as a display of nudity under Oklahoma law, although the body part in question was somewhat clothed.

Blogger Ace of Spades took the lead in covering the story, on his own blog and on his Twitter account, pointing out the holes in Weiner's claim that the photo was the result of a hack, challenging Weiner to take the matter to the FBI or congressional computer security officials. As a "reward" for his persistence, Ace has seen the story brushed off and his own work dissed by conservative commentators in the mainstream press.

To my pleasant surprise, however, CNN has given the story some coverage. On Tuesday, Weiner, who is married to a former assistant to Hillary Clinton, finally deigned to be questioned by the press about the photo, but he didn't bother to answer any of the questions, as you'll see in the CNN video below. Kudos to CNN's Dana Bash for grilling Weiner and refusing to be satisfied with his lame non-answers.

To put this in context, last week there was a special election in New York's 26th Congressional District occasioned by the resignation of Christopher Lee, married Republican congressman who sent a shirtless photo of himself in response to a woman's Craigslist personals ad, evidently looking for an extramarital affair. When the picture came to public attention, Lee quit in disgrace.

(Someone will object that Republicans believe in family values, so Lee was a hypocrite and deserves more condemnation than a Democrat up to the same or worse. But I've never heard of a Democrat candidate for office defend extramarital affairs or sending lewd photos to strange women.)

For my Tulsa readers, Weiner's performance is the equivalent of Kathy Taylor's "That is crazy" response to evidence in computerized election board records of her double-voting in Florida and Oklahoma in the November 2000 general election. The denial didn't come for hours, during which time her team could have ascertained that the physical evidence linking her to double-voting no longer existed. Weiner's non-denial denial suggests that he believes evidence still exists that would finger him as the culprit.

Weiner has over 40,000 Twitter followers but followed only 91 Twitter accounts as recently as April. That's not an unusual ratio for a celebrity, as Peter Ingemi notes in a New York Post op-ed:

Coincidences all, but there's one more that millions of Twitter users will understand best: On Twitter, famous people tend to have tens of thousands to millions of followers -- but they themselves follow only a fraction of that amount. Rep. Weiner is a man of national prominence, a rising star in the Democratic Party, frequently on TV, a past and likely future candidate for mayor. He knows and is known by thousands of movers, shakers, members of the press and politicians on the city, state and national levels. Yet, as of yesterday, he was following fewer than 200 others -- and, with all those famous folks to choose from, one of the few he followed was Cordova, a 21-year-old college student who lives nearly 3,000 miles away in Bellingham,Wash.

The target of the lewd photo, an attractive female college student who tweeted a joking reference to Weiner as her "boyfriend", was one of those handful of follows. By following this young woman, Weiner made it possible for her to send him private direct messages (DMs) on Twitter. Karol Markowicz makes the case that it's likely Weiner intended to send his coed Twitter pal a DM but failed:

If you're not a twitter user, you may not be aware how easy it is to accidentally send a private message as a public broadcast. Here's my friend Iggy asking his 3614 followers if we're on for lunch tomorrow and here's his correction later. Here's reality star Lisa Vanderpump wishing someone well and her correction. These are just two examples in the last few days. It happens all the time. It's happened to the best of us.

That's why it was clear to most regular twitter users exactly what had happened. Congressman Weiner meant to send the photo privately but made the same mistake as Iggy and Lisa--with slightly worse-off consequences.

Back in February, Weiner promised to change his profile picture to his bar mitzvah photo when he had gained 10,000 followers. But he assured his Twitter followers at the time that he wouldn't go further than that.

Clearly the Jewfro is working. Nearly 10k followers. If i hit that ill post my Bar Mitzvah pic. #dontworrynobrispicsat20k

Despite that promise, it appears that on Friday Rep. Weiner provided his more than 40,000 followers evidence that the covenant ceremony had indeed been performed.

MORE: Blogger Doug Ross has put together a comprehensive timeline of the story and Weiner's intriguing Twitter connections.

STILL MORE: Stacy McCain boils it down -- one consequence or the other is true and either way the story matters:

CONSEQUENCE A: An influential member of Congress has been the target of a disgusting,criminal and perhaps politically motivate smear attempt, involving the illegal penetration of a government official's private communications; or

CONSEQUENCE B: An influential member of Congress, married to a key aide to the Secretary of State, has been engaged in surreptitious sex-messaging online and, when this sordid activity was exposed, has initiated what can only be called a "cover-up attempt."

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Bob said:

Democrat Congressman Weiner doesn't want Law Enforcement involved in Weinergate because he probably is the perpetrator of the alleged "prank" of an obscene picture sent to a 21 year old college co-ed hottie via Twitter.

Another degenerate Congressman?

What else is new?

Oh, you say when a married GOP Congressman from NY26 sent a shirtless beefcake picture to an adult gal wanting a date necessitated his resignation when the GOP leadership immediately threw him under the proverbial bus?

But Democrat Congressman Weiner's picture of his wiener eruption from beneath his underware does not "rise" to the same level of Congressional degeneracy?

I guess that's because the Democrats always use the Congressman Barney Frank Ethics Standard. After hiring a male prostitute for $60, he then allowed self-same prostitute to run a male prostitution ring from Frank's D.C. residence.

And this really isn't an ethical problem for Democrats?

mark said:

While I sometimes find myself agreeing with Weiner on policy matters, his conduct here confirms that he is a 24-carat gold-plated phony. He's lost my respect entirely.

Even if HE didn't send the photo, the mere fact that a married, middle-aged Congressman is "following" a 21-yr. old woman is cause enough to question his judgment and morality.

It's simply amazing to me how so many on the liberal Left continue to defend the guy.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 31, 2011 11:05 PM.

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