New York Times Puff Piece on Weiner Ignores Contact with Underage Girl That Caused Him to Resign
Two quotes from Anthony Weiner. Compare this:
“Cape. Tights. Looking for my sidekick.”
. . . .
“You will gag on me before you cum with me in you.”
— Anthony Weiner chat with blackjack dealer Lisa Weiss
“I came back strong. Large. In charge. Tights and cape shit …”
— Anthony Weiner DM to 17-year-old high school student from Delaware named “Ethel”
The New York Times bestowed a big sloppy wet kiss on Anthony Weiner’s NYC mayoral ambitions yesterday. The piece allows Weiner to portray his decision to come clean and to resign as mostly unforced; a laudable decision to lay bare his soul to save his marriage and show his fidelity to the truth.
In April 2012 it was revealed that evidence of Weiner’s potentially inappropriate contact with underage girls was the ultimate reason he was forced to resign. Somehow that fact never made it into yesterday’s piece. The following quote is from an April 2012 New York Post piece:
President Obama was willing to put up with a lot of Anthony Weiner’s antics — the bad boy congressman’s sexting with women he never met, tweeting pics of his own penis, and acid tongue.
But the White House finally got fed up when reports emerged that the pol was in contact with an underage girl.
According to a new book, the cold shoulder from the White House was the beginning of the end of Weiner’s career in Congress.
To his credit, Dave Weigel noted yesterday on Slate that the New York Times Magazine piece is less than forthcoming about Weiner’s contact with underage girls:
The headline that finally brought down Anthony Weiner would have been poison to any politician. It was a June 10, 2011 Fox News exclusive by Jana Winter, the reporter currently fighting in court to protect her sources on the James Holmes story. And it read:
Exclusive: Police Investigate Weiner’s Messages to Teenage Girl in Delaware
Winter had been chasing down ledes, and was “at the high school junior’s home” when the cops showed up. . . .
. . . .
As readable as it is, the New York Times magazine profile of the Weiner family sort of blows right past this.
Indeed it does.
Weigel understates the importance of this omission, however, when he tells his readers that there was really nothing to the communications with the underage girl:
By June 13, it was clear: Weiner hadn’t sent anything sexual to the girl. New Castle County police confirmed that, and washed their hands of the media frenzy.
But, contrary to this assertion, it was never “clear” that Weiner hadn’t sent anything sexual to the girl. Weigel can hardly be blamed for taking at face value news reports saying police had closed the case. But, for those who were watching closely when this all unfolded, the timeline made it “clear” that no such conclusion could be reached with any confidence. As I noted in a June 11 blog post titled Weinergate: Five Is Not Two:
- On Wednesday, June 8, the New York Post was told that the girl was telling her mother that there had been only two G-rated messages:
The girl’s mother, whose name is being withheld, told The Post Wednesday that Weiner sent nothing obscene — and sent only two brief messages to her daughter about seeing him during an April school trip to the Capitol. . . . The mom said she pointedly questioned her daughter about whether Weiner sent her anything obscene, and the girl swore it was all G-rated.
Note: this is not a claim that she showed her mom messages, but that she had told her mom the messages were G-rated. And that there were only two.
- On Thursday, June 9, 2011, this blog published proof that Weiner had sent the girl the second message quoted at the top of this post: a reference to Weiner being a Superman in cape and tights. This direct message seemed especially creepy given that Weiner had employed identical “cape and tights” imagery as a grooming line for a woman with whom he had exchanged explicit sexual messages (see the quote at the top of this post).
- On Friday, June 10, 2011, now that the “cape and tights” line was out of the bag, all of a sudden we were being told that there had been five direct messages, and not two. Their alleged content was described in the New York Times, and the creepy line “I came back strong. Large. In charge. Tights and cape shit …” was edited to read: “I came back strong … Large. Tights and cape. …” Readers were not informed that Weiner had included an expletive in his message to the 17-year-old high school junior — much less that the “[t]ights and cape shit” line resembled a line that Weiner had used with an adult woman with whom he had sexted.
No press account claimed that any reporter or police officer had actually seen the messages, or determined with certainty whether anything had been deleted. It is an open question whether Weiner went down the same road with the high school girl that he went down with the Vegas blackjack dealer — or whether he would have, at some point, if he had not been found out.
If Weiner makes good on his bid to run for NYC mayor — and today’s puff piece surely suggests that he is — it is certain that his opposition will not overlook these unpleasant facts as readily as the New York Times has consistently whitewashed them.
P.S. I raise these issues with some trepidation. The night that Mike Stack was SWATted, June 23, 2011, Ace of Spades and I received email threats telling us to stop talking about Anthony Weiner and Gennette Cordova, or our safety could not be assured. One week later, I was SWATted. People involved in other harassment of myself and my family have displayed an unhealthy fixation on the Anthony Weiner story.