[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Update (II): If you thought that no one would be lame enough to defend these interviews… you’re wrong.
If you thought that Congressman Weiner couldn’t look worse than he did in this post, well you were wrong. There is of course, this video, too, from MRCtv (and the man formally known a College Politico):
Watch to the whole thing, especially the part where he calls one of the reporters a jackass. Really, I haven’t seen a performance this awful since when Connie Chung interviewed Gary Condit.*
Update: Right Wing News calls it “the Hindenburg of press conferences.” Heh.
Meanwhile as a follow up to something I wondered out loud this morning, we might finally explain how he accidentally would tweet such a thing to the whole world.
Now as Lee pointed out in the comments to that post one way to send a direct message is to type the following in a normal tweet:
d @Stranahan Howdy.
And that would send a direct message to Lee Stranahan and only Lee, saying “Howdy.” (And note: this only works if Lee is following you.) But without the d, it just becomes a normal tweet, mentioning Lee, which flags it for his attention, but doesn’t prevent anyone else from seeing it
Thus one theory is that somehow Weiner lost the “d” converting it to a regular tweet. But my point, previously ill expressed, is that you needed a bit of specialized knowledge to know to do the “d” trick and my guess is that most people do what I do, which is use various features that set up the direct message for you. They vary in the program, but on the surface it looks like it is almost impossible to accidentally send a direct message. In other words, this isn’t like hitting “reply all” in an email. You have to access a different part of the program—at least in my experience. Weiner’s experience might be different. But the key thing is that the program is then doing that formatting for you–that is writing out “d @Stranahan” and then the message for you.
But there is still a way this could happen within a program menu clearly designed to send only a direct message. You see, it seems that if you are sending a direct message that is longer than 140 characters, by a smart phone, the system will break the message into two parts. And then what happens is that the signal that it is supposed to be a direct message, the “d” is only in the first part. So suppose I sent a message to Lee that went like this:
d @Stranahan I can’t believe that his staff let him down like that in #Weinergate. U would think that someone would take him aside and say gee, you really shouldn’t be following a porn star.
Well, then my blackberry would break that up into two messages, one a private message that would say:
d @Stranahan I can’t believe that his staff let him down like that in #Weinergate. U would think that someone would take him aside and say
And then it would break off the rest of it, and transmit to the entire world:
@Stranahan gee, you really shouldn’t be following a porn star
(Which needless to say could create all kinds of problems for Lee in his personal life.)
This is backed up by advice given here and here (thanks to Sarah W and Hunt). So, there you go. It’s all speculation, but it’s a theory that fits the facts: the Weiner wrote a long direct message, and half of it was split and automatically sent to the whole world without his consent. And what is attractive about it is that, well… let’s face it, that is almost like a booby-trap in the direct messaging system. So you could easily imagine a person very reasonably being ignorant of that and being caught unawares.
But like I said, that is only speculation. We need an investigation if we are ever going to get at the truth. Now, mind you, Congressman Weiner if you actually sent the message yourself don’t go filing a false police report. And besides it looks like you are going to get an investigation whether you like it or not, or report it as a crime, or not.
* As a lawyer, I have to say that Chung’s interview was an almost textbook example of a cross examination, especially employing the technique of forcing your subject to repeat a rehearsed answer. By comparison, I think eliciting Weiner’s repetitious answer was more spontaneous, but equally effective.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]