Monday, May 30, 2011

For Anthony Weiner, Twitter Has Double Edge

At New York Times, "Congressman, Sharp Voice on Twitter, Finds It Can Cut 2 Ways":

For nine months, Representative Anthony D. Weiner has been tweaking others via Twitter, poking fun at Sarah Palin, John A. Boehner and especially Michele Bachmann as he offers his 46,000-plus followers an unusually candid window into the thoughts, activities and edgy humor of a politically ambitious congressman.

Mr. Weiner always knew that his sharp tongue, combined with his frequent use of Twitter, had a potential risk. But over the weekend, Twitter trouble found Mr. Weiner in an unexpected way.

A sexually suggestive photograph of a man from the waist down, in nothing but underwear, was sent from Mr. Weiner’s Twitter-related photo-sharing account to a woman in Seattle. Mr. Weiner dismissed the picture, saying his account had been hacked and writing on Saturday in a Twitter message (of course): “Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next?” He told Politico, “The wiener gags never get old, I guess,” and his office issued a statement on Sunday saying, “Anthony’s accounts were obviously hacked.”

The recipient of the photo, a college student who follows Mr. Weiner on Twitter, told The Daily News that someone had been harassing her online for weeks and that “I assumed that the tweet and the picture were their latest attempts at defaming the congressman and harassing his supporters.”

Twitter would not discuss the episode, saying, “We don’t comment on individual user accounts, for privacy reasons.”

Mr. Weiner’s spokesman, Dave Arnold, said on Monday, “We’ve retained counsel to explore the proper next steps and to advise us on what civil or criminal actions should be taken. This was a prank. We are loath to treat it as more, but we are relying on professional advice.”

The episode was quickly dubbed Weinergate, and proved a cautionary moment for Mr. Weiner, who has embraced Twitter as an outlet for his feisty, in-your-face and occasionally off-color personality.

More at the link. The Times discusses Weiner's ambitions and abrasive personality. The report suggests that his tweets are "sometimes juvenile." Beyond that, though, the Times concludes with a breezy "this too shall pass" kind of tone, actually ending with Rep. Weiner's own jokes about the scandal. To be expected, I guess.

Anyway, at top, the photo's from the New York Daily News. Commenting on it at The Other McCain, Darleen Click argued:
... scroll down ... to see a picture of Weiner and bride out for a Sunday stroll hand-in-hand coincidentally.

Good lord, if that doesn't say something (how many press conferences of men with their stoic wives beside them do we endure?) ... I am more convinced than ever there was no "hacking".
Well, not only was there no "hacking," but Weiner and his office are referring to the episode as a "prank," not as a "hack." Big Government has the significance, "Weinergate Shift: From ‘Hack’ to ‘Prank’":
These statements, plus the fact that there is no indication yet that Weiner has reported the alleged hack to authorities, suggest a new possibility: the offensive tweet may not have been a “hack,” but perhaps an inside job by someone with access to Weiner’s social networking accounts.

It is fairly standard practice in congressional offices and on congressional campaigns for multiple staffers to have access to the politician’s social networking accounts.
There's still more at that post, but the conclusion is unfounded, IMHO. The Times makes no mention of, nor makes even the slightest alllusion to, the notion that Representative Weiner allows staffers to use his Twitter feed nor his yfrog image hosting application. Indeed, the report states that "his Twitter personality is all him," and that "Twitter is now part of his “morning constitutional, with The New York Times, the tabloids, my e-mail,” and he takes postings from his followers seriously, often making adjustments and trying new things at their urging."

That hardly sounds like someone who made spare keys for all his "trusted" aides. The conservative blogosphere has pretty much shown exactly what happened. Weiner (apparently) tried to send a direct message to Gennette Nicole Cordova, the Washington state college student who has confirmed most of the facts of the story, while omitting any discussion of some key issues. The story continues to play on Memeorandum. By the tone of the Times' piece, most in the MSM are yawning, and doing obligatory write-ups to head off anti-media outrage in the 'sphere. Meanwhile, Andrew Breitbart's taken to Big Government to dismiss progressive allegations that Weiner was "Breitbarted": "WeinerGate: We Are Simply Reporting the Facts."

We'll see how it goes from here. Tomorrow's a regular news day and some "real" journalists might decide there's still more to this story to be revealed.

Until then ...


Opus #6 said...

How is it that the young lady referred to Weiner as her "boyfriend" in a tweet weeks ago?