RSS
'Weinergate': Winners and losers
It's been a tough couple of weeks for Anthony Weiner, not to mention the many others burned by his sexting scandal. Who was hurt by "Weinergate," and who benefited?
 
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) may be the obvious loser of his self-made Twitter scandal, but who would have guessed "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart would suffer, too?
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) may be the obvious loser of his self-made Twitter scandal, but who would have guessed "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart would suffer, too?
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Things aren't getting any easier for busted sexter Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). He faces a House ethics investigation, several Democrats are calling for him to resign, and a decidedly not-safe-for-work photo, allegedly of Weiner, made its way onto the web, after a now-"mortified" Andrew Breitbart shared it with two camera-wielding shock jocks. Still, not everyone involved in this scandal took a beating. Here, a brief look at some winners and losers:

WINNERS

Andrew Breitbart
The "big winner" in this loser-filled scandal is Breitbart, says Rupert Cornwell at The Independent. Taking down Weiner is his "biggest coup yet," after past campaigns against ACORN and Shirley Sherrod. Now, Breitbart has transformed himself from a "conservative muckraker and scandalmonger" with scant credibility into someone the mainstream press has to take seriously.

The GOP
"Weiner's humiliation may fuel schadenfreude on the Right," says The American Spectator, but there's nothing that Republicans would like more than for the liberal attack dog to stick around "as long as possible, preferably becoming Lifelong Mascot of the Democratic Party." There is one thing the GOP might like better, and that's taking Weiner's seat in 2012, says Steve Kornacki at Salon. Weiner's district is actually pretty conservative, and it's clearly "winnable for a Republican under the right circumstances — like, say, a scandal involving the incumbent Democrat."

Alec Baldwin
Weiner was once the presumed favorite to be the next mayor of New York City, but now that he "appears to have sexted himself out of the 2013 race" to replace Michael Bloomberg, longtime political aspirant Alec Baldwin is "mulling a run," says Richard Johnson at The Daily. The celebrated funnyman is a "die-hard Democrat" from Long Island, and as a friend notes, "The Democrats need a high-profile candidate, and Alec can fill that bill." Since 30 Rock ends in 2012, that gives him plenty of time to mount a serious campaign.

LOSERS

Anthony Weiner and his family
Obviously, "Weiner is the major loser of the last couple of weeks," says Ujala Sehgal at Mediabistro. And it's his fault, says Joe Gandelman at The Cagle Post. By sexting strangers and then massively botching the damage control, he's "morphed into a political version of Charlie Sheen." Even if he somehow manages to keep his seat, it's "buh-bye" to his blossoming TV stardom, and his political relevance. And maybe to his pregnant wife, too, says Joan Walsh at Salon. Cyber-cheating on, then humiliating, a pregnant spouse is "the lowest thing most of us can think of."

Prurient media gawkers
The media has hit a new low, says Glenn Greenwald at Salon. For the first time, the press hasn't even tried to come up with any "high-minded justifications for luxuriating" in "vicarious titillation." If journalism now includes "mucking around in the private, consensual, unquestionably legal private sexual affairs" of public figures, shouldn't these gleefully judgmental media stars be nervous? Remember, "Breitbart hates a lot more than Democratic politicians," says Amanda Marcotte at The Nation. His next target could easily be "journalists he considers too good at their jobs."

Jon Stewart
Stewart and Weiner are old friends, and the Daily Show host has been excoriated for soft-pedaling the scandal, says Mediabistro's Sehgal. "Weiner's press conference should have been a Daily Show goldmine," but Stewart barely mentioned it during Monday night's show. Finally, the next day, he "sent up the tearful press conference, apologizing for not being harder on Weiner," says Anna Breslaw in Screenology. But he still couldn't catch a break, He broke a glass in the skit and sliced up his hand, requiring six stitches. Sheesh, "talk about karma."

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week