Tag Archive: Anthony Weiner

The Republican Party’s twisted masculinity

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and alleged child predator Roy Moore, dressed as a cowboy.

The latest revelations regarding Donald Trump‘s affair with and payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels don’t seem to be fazing Republicans. The reaction seems to be no more negative within the GOP than when Trump was caught on tape bragging to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women. Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana, even accused Trump of raping her, and some 19 women have also accused Trump of sexually assaulting or harassing them. This yawn from Republicans about Trump’s conduct toward women extends to many other Republican politicians as well. For example, U.S. Senator David Vitter was caught and admitted hiring prostitutes in 2007, and was re-elected in 2010. Likewise, Newt Gingrich has been a top Republican presidential contender and adviser for years, even though he is a serial adulterer who presented his first wife with divorce terms as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery. That these Republican men never seem to be punished by their supposedly “family values” base for sexual misconduct or mistreatment of women may be because the Republican Party thrives on a twisted notion of masculinity.

The Breitbarting of America

Trump/Breitbart propagandist Stephen Bannon

Trump/Breitbart propagandist Stephen Bannon

Donald Trump‘s unofficial electoral win, as well as the elevation of Stephen Bannon to Trump campaign CEO and then future White House counsel, demonstrates how Andrew Breitbart‘s style of propaganda and fake news has triumphed. The mainstream media helped the Breitbart model win, cheering every step of the way. All of this is dangerous for the country.

Before his death in 2012 from a heart attack at age 43, Andrew Breitbart launched Breitbart.com, Breitbart.tv and other related sites, which furthered right wing narratives such as “Scary Brown People” and “Corporations Good, Government Bad.” During President Barack Obama‘s administration, Breitbart helped to push anti-Obama and anti-Democratic Party stories, many of which were at least partially fake or based on doctored videos (i.e., propaganda), but which got picked up by the major news media and became the news, with marvelous results for the GOP. Among the best-known stories flogged by Breitbart were:

Lawrence O’Donnell makes Anthony Weiner look good

This past Monday, Anthony Weiner scheduled some 13 televised interviews in a last-ditch effort to improve his flagging campaign chances in the New York Mayoral primary that took place the next day. The last of these scheduled interviews was with Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC‘s “The Last Word.” Viewers should have gotten a hint that the interview would not go well when O’Donnell tweeted earlier in the day that:

For his last TV appearance before election Anthony Weiner will grace at 10pm. But I just can’t think of anything to ask him.

Sure enough, as seen in the video above, when Weiner appeared on “The Last Word,” O’Donnell said, “I have really just one question for you…: What’s wrong with you?” The interview devolved from there into what Weiner accurately characterized as a “split screen harrangue” by O’Donnell, who seemed obsessed not with Weiner’s sexting, but with the ex-Congressman’s years of public service and failure somehow to work for free after resigning from the U.S. Congress. It was beyond rude and bizarre. It was poor journalism. By the end, Weiner came off as a completely sympathetic figure and O’Donnell, ironically, was the picture of an ass.

This “interview” should be shown in journalism school with the caveat: If you’re being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to be a “journalist” and you schedule a tv interview with a public figure, either ask real questions or, if you admittedly can’t come up with any, cancel the interview.






Anthony Weiner’s Messaging Fail

By now, most of us are  familiar with Anthony Weiner‘s personal behavioral lapses in his Twitter sex scandal. However, Weiner’s public messaging failures in this case were also epic. Weiner adopted a strange strategy of denying part of the story, i.e., that he had sent photos of his underwear-clad crotch to a woman via Twitter, but then saying that he could not state “with certitude” whether the picture in question was of him. This vague answer struck many reporters as suspicious, and they continued their media feeding frenzy that, within a few days, led to Weiner’s press conference where he did an about-face and admitted that the picture in question was of him, that he sent the photo, and that he had sent similar photos and/or had similar online exchanges with approximately six other women. Now Weiner’s political career hangs by a thread.

So what could, and should, Weiner have done differently, messaging-wise, once the initial stories about him were publicized?