Patterico's Pontifications

6/7/2011

Beyond Parody: Joseph Cannon Doubles Down (Update: Meet the Weiners)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:48 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: This PJ Tattler headline says it all: Truthers and Birthers, meet the Weiners. Weiners being, of course, being the “Truthers” of the Weinergate scandal.

Yesterday I cited a parody of the conspiracy theories aired on sites like the Daily Kos, etc. that was actually written on Daily Kos.  And to their credit, it appears to still be there.  So yes, I will write something I never expected to write.  Go to Daily Kos and read it, it is a very good and funny piece.  Yes, at Daily Kos.  It feels as weird to write it as I am sure it is for you to read those words.

But just like when mocking the UN, it can be very, very hard to parody the conspiracy theorists, because generally parody involves comedic exaggeration and it’s kind of hard to out-exaggerate these people.

So thus we turn to Joseph Cannon.  He is apparently the proprietor of the website CannonFire, which is the originator of the yfrog exploit theory.  It sounded reasonable at the time, and there was an important feature to the theory: it was all repeatable (at least until yfrog allegedly fixed the exploit).  In that sense it was very similar to Charles Johnson’s Rathergate “experiment” where he simply took a copy of Microsoft Word, put it on its factory settings, typed out the document and produced a nearly exact replica of the supposed original memo written in 1973, in that you didn’t have to take Johnson’s word for it—you could do it yourself.  And several people I trusted including Lee said that they had replicated the yfrog exploit.  By all evidence the yfrog exploit was real, but ultimately a red herring.

So you would think that people like Joe Cannon would be eating some crow.  I said yesterday that it is wrong to judge people in 20/20 hindsight and I am sticking to that.  Still, yeah, in hindsight this guy is a heap of crazy:

Yes, it is proven that Anthony Weiner had highly sexualized internet relationships via email and chat with various women. Breitbart has strongly intimated that one of the photos in his possession is very, very explicit. It is fair to presume that this image involves an erection sans underwear.

Breitbart’s repeated references to that photo could be taken as a subtle threat to release it.

Okay, first, if you watched Hannity last night, Breitbart was making no bones about it.  He had the goods on this jackalope but he didn’t want to completely humiliate the man so he was holding off on releasing the worst picture until and unless Weiner made it worse by continuing to deny it.

So Weiner gets up there and confesses and all of us go, “okay, looks like it wasn’t a hack and he did everything he was accused of.”  But that wasn’t good enough for Joe Cannon, because he was still in love with his hacker theory:

A while back, in a comment, I said that I would not believe Anthony Weiner himself if he said that he tweeted that picture on the night of the 27th.

I also said that, were I him, I would make that very “confession.” Saying “I sent that picture on the 27th” would be the quickest way to get the whole sorry business into the rear view mirror.

You see, he thinks that Weiner was still framed, and thus he was blackmailed into confessing something he didn’t do.  And then it gets weird (which is why it is going below the fold), but funny, too:

I’ve also said (from nearly the beginning) that I suspected that Breitbart’s crew had gained access to one or more photos sent to, or taken by, a woman other than Gennette Cordova. A lot of people shared those suspicions — which have, of course, been justified.

I became confident that the picture did not depict Anthony Weiner. At least, it appeared that something other than his penis inhabited his underwear. Frankly, it still looks like a shot of a man who is literally playing “hide the salami.” After making an embarrassingly close study of various Weiner photographs, I simply could not believe that he’s that well-hung. To put the matter crudely. (Many of my readers suggested that he had thrust a forearm into his undies.)

Hmm, Joe seems to be a little more easily impressed than I am.

Then again, Lawrence O’Donnell is equally easily impressed:

Or perhaps they doesn’t understand the skewing of the perspective there.

Alas, Cannon goes on:

Anthony Weiner today said that he sent the picture via Twitter to Gennette Cordova. He said that he had never spoken to her on a personal level. She tells the same story, and there is no reason to doubt her.

Thus, Weiner made the most amazing confession conceivable: That he just sent a crotch shot out of the blue to someone he did not know. Worse, he used Twitter — which places all images on public display, even when sent as a direct message. (The example here proves the point; that painting was sent by “Chalice” as a DM, yet it is also public.) Moreover, he did this incredible thing knowing full well that there were political enemies tracking his every move on Twitter.

Sorry.

I don’t believe that scenario. I accept every part of his confession except for the statement about the night of the 27th.

So I want to make sure we are clear here.  He thinks that Weiner and Cordova’s story doesn’t add up but there is no reason to doubt her. Um, isn’t the fact it is not adding up reason to doubt her account?

Look, here’s the thing.  Weiner did everything he could to avoid copping to this until he literally had no other choice.  Does that sound familiar?  Does that remind you of anyone?

(Source.)  And do you remember how when Edwards was caught he came clean about everything?

Oh, wait, except he didn’t.  First he admitted to the affair, but denied fatherhood of the child.  Then when forced he finally admitted to that.

Now to be fair, Weiner did admit to some things he wasn’t immediately required to.  He didn’t have to admit to having online flings with six women.  But is it possible that he thought he could lie about his exchange with Cordova—perhaps even making himself believe he was being noble by sparing her the glare of the limelight?  And isn’t that the simple solution, here?

I certainly thought so, asking Cordova herself questions and comments like “@GennetteC why did he think YOU wouldn’t report him to the press?”  I frankly hectored her a little because I smelled bull___, and I am kind of allergic to bull___.  But having slept on it, I am not sure how much it matters if they were sexting each other and I don’t plan to pursue that further.  But it does provide the simple explanation as to why their story doesn’t add up—because they are lying.

But Occam’s razor is no friend of Cannon:

In particular, Breitbart has made it clear that he possesses an explicit shot, probably involving an erection. If I were Weiner, I might say anything — anything — to forestall that image from being made public….

If I were Weiner, I would have said exactly what he said today, even if I had not sent the picture on the 27th.

Now that he has said what so many wanted him to say, he hopes that the whole affair will go away within a couple of weeks. Perhaps it will. Already, some newsfolk seem bored. (That was fast!) Even one Republican commentator has said that the story won’t have legs because no laws were broken and the congressman’s constituency will probably forgive him.

Suppose that Weiner had said: “I am guilty of improper relationships with half a dozen women, and I am guilty of sending these women erotic photos, but I did not send that picture to Gennette Cordova on the 27th.” What would be the result?

Obviously, the journalistic feeding frenzy would continue for months.

More importantly, Breitbart would, under those circumstances, release the ultra-explicit photo, which probably depicts an erection. That shot would be published ad infinitum for the rest of Weiner’s life.

Faced with that rotten choice, I would have gone with the “Get it over with as soon as possible” option.

So you get this all?  Breitbart or a co-conspirator hacked Weiner’s account (and sent it through Tweetdeck and not the yfrog exploit) and sent a fake weinerpic and then forced Weiner to falsely confess by threatening to release the x-rated pic.

But that presumes that Breitbart already has Weiner dead to rights for what he sent to Meagan Broussard (who tells her story, here).  And rather than just break that story Breitbart instead hatched an elaborate scheme to…  frame him for a different “crime?”  That action would not only be pointless, but if uncovered would threaten to discredit the real, blockbuster story sitting in his lap.

And then, oh my, he gets into the issue of the age of Weiner’s digital paramours (because Weiner said he doesn’t have certitude about their ages) and he writes:

Way back in 1995, not long after I first acquired an internet-ready computer, I made the cyber acquaintance of a lady we will here call Madeleine. She claimed to be 44 years old — older than I was at the time. She also claimed to be a former research scientist living in another state. Our dialogue soon became…hmm. How to put this? It was much (much) heavier than flirtation but could not be classified as cybersex. Although we never exchanged photos or spoke voice, I repeatedly asked to meet her.

This woman was phenomenally articulate, intelligent, well-read and well-traveled. She demonstrated knowledge of foreign languages. Anyone chatting with her would presume that she had been to graduate school.

After some time, we drifted apart.

Two years later, Madeleine contacted me and apologized for her impersonation. She admitted that she was 17 at the time we met online. Seventeen was above the age of consent in her state but not in mine. For the first time, she sent me a photo, and I cringed to see the face of someone young enough to be my daughter.

Sweartagod, I had no idea. She could have fooled anyone.

Wow, words can’t even capture how I feel about that.  Just…  wow.

Update: Forgot to hat-tip Legal Insurrection on that one.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

26 Responses to “Beyond Parody: Joseph Cannon Doubles Down (Update: Meet the Weiners)”

  1. It sounded reasonable at the time, and there was an important feature to the theory: it was all repeatable (at least until yfrog allegedly fixed the exploit).

    Good piece, but I don’t think yFrog had anything to fix. It wasn’t an exploit, it was a password built into an email address. As I understand it, it still works the same way. As with anything, if you know someone’s password you can get into their accounts.

    MayBee (081489)

  2. But having slept on it, I am not sure how much it matters if they were sexting each other and I don’t plan to pursue that further. But it does provide the simple explanation as to why their story doesn’t add up—because they are lying.

    Agree.
    She even admits (although she deleted much of it) that she doesn’t think it’s anybody’s business whether they were communicating before he sent the picture. She also backs him on his statement that he didn’t “know” her.

    She is a progressive and a dissembler and she will do well in journalism. I guess she isn’t really the story, though.

    MayBee (081489)

  3. Actually, I posted it, on an earlier thread, I forget which,

    ian cormac (72470d)

  4. sorry i didn’t see it. i have been bad about following comments recently.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  5. What I wonder about is the parents of Betty and Veronica – I now think the girls were telling the truth but then the “PR” team got in touch with them and helped them craft that statement – Whoever was grounded (Betty, Veronica, whatever) I bet they were grounded not for lying but for … the messages…

    Janetoo (84c5f6)

  6. Janetoo- I would love for Tommy Christopher to re-interview Betty and Veronica’s parents now. As SarahW prodded him to ask yesterday, do they still find it disgusting that someone tried to warn their girls?

    And is it more or less likely, knowing what we know, that those girls were just making up the idea that Weiner had sent inappropriate correspondence to them?

    MayBee (081489)

  7. That’s even stupider than Matt Lauer. Which takes some effort.

    LowKey (8096f2)

  8. The left wing crazy is very crazy.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  9. Do you wonder if maybe Tommyx’s 100% proof that Veronica was cooking up DM’s came from an umimpeachable source: Gennette C? I wonder.

    “We weren’t having an ongoing flirtatious conversation” is a parse, they flirted in the open that very day, and I’ve no doubt her outfits have been mentioned at some point. At the same time I think its perfectly reasonable to notice how green she is.

    I don’t think she really knew the extent of his habits or extent to which she was an object of prey – in her own mind she’s a bright interesting and interested in life and politics person, and cute girl, with a career in journalism planned and not some chippie. Why wouldn’t he follow her and then, talk to her about things? She INTREEEEGS him.

    I noticed dealistic-interesting-and-interested-in politics-Broussard was proud of her chat virtue (“not an open book”) too. And I groaned that he fell for the “you’re too f*g real.”

    The vanity of it! prey. It’s sometimes said that men become liberals for the chicks and I think it must be true. They are suckers for their own vanity.

    SarahW (af7312)

  10. More to the point, I don’t think she realized Mr Skeevy was going to be foisting his second hand excitement in her general direction.

    SarahW (af7312)

  11. And it’s always possible Veronica mistook Genette for Ginger. THey sound alike.

    SarahW (af7312)

  12. Joseph? Jeff? Which?

    Joseph A. Cannon, former chairman of the Utah Republican Party and former chairman of Geneva Steel
    Joseph Gurney Cannon (1836–1926), U.S. Representative from Illinois and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; nicknamed “Uncle Joe”
    Joseph J. Cannon (1877–1945), Utah politician, newspaper editor, and LDS Church leader
    Joseph Cannon (socialist), American labor leader and socialist politician

    starboardhelm (e93080)

  13. starboard

    ah crap, you’re right. i kept calling him jeff for some reason. its joseph. its on the blog’s site. assuming its his real name.

    Fixed.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  14. Nevermind .. you fixed it.

    starboardhelm (e93080)

  15. Fascinating that this fellow can make this accusation, but doesn’t seem to realize that this very kind of vulnerability is what is most concerning about Mr. Weiner’s behavior.

    His willingness to expose himself to the possibility of blackmail/extortion, while a sitting Congressman, simply for the titillation (or the lulz) is reckless and completely irresponsible.

    Because it’s not completely about the sex scandal. It’s the lack of judgement, the irresponsibility, the willingness to sustain a climate of false accusations against any who viewed his “evolving” explanations with incredulity, and his ability and willingness to lie, in a chilling and almost pathalogical fashion, that really call into question Mr. Weiner’s ability to remain in office and retain the public trust in the wake of yesterday’s revelation.

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  16. Do you wonder if maybe Tommyx’s 100% proof that Veronica was cooking up DM’s came from an umimpeachable source: Gennette C? I wonder.

    Could be.
    Tommy seemed very intent to intervene on GC’s behalf yesterday. He did not want you and Stranahan asking her for clarifying details.

    He’s communicated with her, and he’s proclaimed her solid, and that is supposed to be good enough for everybody. Ditto Betty and Veronica.

    As for GC, I *do* think it’s interesting if she was communicating with Weiner, and she seemed to say yesterday that she was. That got deleted. Who knows if Weiner’s PR people are watching her twitter feed. I don’t know if she didn’t know what he was up to, or if she has good reason to hide what they were up to.

    But she says today it would be good journalism for reporters to simply report what Weiner said about her yesterday.

    MayBee (081489)

  17. Maybe you are confusing him with Jeff Gannon? (Was that the guys name?)
    For that matter have they ever been seen in the same room together?

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  18. have

    i think i might have been. heh.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  19. Two years later, Madeleine contacted me and apologized for her impersonation. She admitted that she was 17 at the time we met online. Seventeen was above the age of consent in her state but not in mine. For the first time, she sent me a photo, and I cringed to see the face of someone young enough to be my daughter.

    Sweartagod, I had no idea. She could have fooled anyone.

    So he’s taking precaution to protect the identity of someone he’s never met, who conned him for two years, and who purportedly, if we can believe her this time, doesn’t need protecting in any case.

    papertiger (e55ba0)

  20. So he’s taking precaution to protect the identity of someone he’s never met, who conned him for two years, and who purportedly, if we can believe her this time, doesn’t need protecting in any case.

    Actually, he doesn’t know anything about his contact. “She” claimed to be a 44 year old woman, then claimed to be a 19 year old woman, but they never spoke on the phone or met. “She” was probably a man who did a very good job of pulling the wool over his eyes.

    Chuck Bartowski (4c6c0c)

  21. chuck

    one of the funnier jokes that bill maher said was this.

    studies show that 90% of people on the internet claiming to be 13 year old girls are actually… Bill Clinton.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  22. So true, Chuck. For anyone who has ever been in a chatroom, none of this is a surprise. But with Weiner being in a position of responsibility, you’d think he would have used more common sense. What an egotistical fool to think he could get away with it.

    PatAZ (f23d3e)

  23. I do have to admit that I find the fact that Huma is indirectly involved to be very fascinating given past rumors.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/06/07/reporter-gets-her-revenge-on-weiner/

    And that’s how Breitbart ended up hacking the press conference — the reporter Weiner called the cops on asked him to.

    aunursa (a2a019)

  25. aunursa, that’s just perfect.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  26. I think Cannon was born in Roswell to parents that must have crashed their spaceship before the Air Force captured them. It is the only theory that can explain his thinking that Weiner is admitting to all this so that Breitbart won’t release the other photo, a photo that we can all imagine but in no way want to actually see.

    MU789 (f493ef)


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