I saw a clip of Chris Matthews screeching about Anthony Weiner and, shortly afterwards, read this in Glenn Greenwald’s column:
I’d really like to know how many journalists, pundits and activist types clucking with righteous condemnation of Weiner would be comfortable having that standard applied to them. I strongly suspect the number is very small. Ever since the advent of Internet commerce, pornography — use of the Internet for sexual gratification, real or virtual — has been, and continues to be, a huge business. Millions upon millions of people at some point do what Weiner did.
This is even more to the point:
Reporters who would never dare challenge powerful political figures who torture, illegally eavesdrop, wage illegal wars or feed at the trough of sleazy legalized bribery suddenly walk upright — like proud peacocks with their feathers extended — pretending to be hard-core adversarial journalists as they collectively kick a sexually humiliated figure stripped of all importance.
I feel bad for Weiner but I’d have more respect for him if he’d ditched the tearful, interminable apology and instead told the press corps, “I’m resigning. This is not because of the sexting, which is legal and none of your business, but rather because I lied about it and got caught, and therefore will never again be able to function as an effective advocate for universal health insurance and other vital legislation that 99 percent of Democratic politicians are too cowardly to touch. So have a nice day and go fuck yourselves.”
Footnote: The Weiner fiasco is yet another cautionary tale about the limits of power and privacy, and a reminder that “social networking” technology is inherently creepy. The congressman turned to new-media gadgets for virtual reassurance of his potency, to avoid real-life complications, not realizing these gadgets have become more real to many people than their own flesh and blood.