[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]
Somewhere in the #Weinergate story, some people at Mediaite –most notably Tommy Christopher – made a decision that it was their job to actually make up excuses for Rep. Weiner that even Weiner himself wasn’t making. This is not the job of a journalist, really – especially when you take the further step of actually picking on specific individuals. It’s one thing to ask questions and posit theories but Mediaite went way beyond this. The vague suggestions that Mediaite makes turn into full-throated crazy at sites like DailyKos.
If this was in fact a hack, as Weiner claims, then it’s not unreasonable that the alleged hacker would do everything that he or she could do to make the individual look guilty, including retweeting the offending image, and then deleting it. Rep. Weiner is not just a progressive provocateur who has very few fans on the right, but he is also a very public figure with 45,000 Twitter followers. So it is perfectly reasonable to wonder why it would appear that his offending tweet was only retweeted once, by a Twitter user who goes by the handle @patriotusa76:
Sure it’s reasonable – and you’d think with their resources that they would have gotten the answer right.
Weiner’s 45k followers didn’t see the tweet because of the way Twitter works. When you send a ‘mention’ – putting another person @ handle in front, the only people to see that on their timeline are people who follow BOTH parties. It’s explained here.
So rather than 45,000 followers seeing it, it would have been whoever followed BOTH @RepWeiner and Gennette Cordvoa –this number might have been a handful of people. Maybe. Only 100 or so people followed Ms. Cordova.
Now, if people were viewing Rep. Weiner’s page – not the timeline, but his own page – they would have seen it. And that’s exactly how @patriotusa76: saw because he didn’t follow either one.
Mediaite needs to issue a retraction and an apology, ASAP. Why didn’t they check this out before publishing their story? And frankly, they SHOULD do a story on the nature and tone of the criticism over at DailyKos, especially since CNN used DailyKos as an example of counter argument.
Let’s see how objective Mediaite is.
UPDATE: Ezra has more on this here.
– Lee Stranahan