I’ve been a bit amazed at the post-bizzaro press conference insistence by some on the left that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) is a wronged man. Ezra Klein via Twitter professes to be puzzled how this can be a big deal. Richard Cohen writes:
We are doing a terrible thing here — we hypocrites of the press, especially of the blogosphere. Every man lives a bit in a fantasy world, maybe women, too, but I know nothing of them. Every man is a boy, either in mind or in deed. Much of this is harmless. There are no bodies. There is no crime. This is the case with Weiner. No damsel was in distress, and no one was rescued.
This is the place for me to condemn Weiner. Consider it done. He’s a liar and a creep, although how one can be the latter without being the former is beyond me. (Still, lying is impermissible.) But I would also like to condemn those who made it their business to destroy him, who deputized themselves to invade someone’s private life, his fantasy life, and hold him up to ridicule.
Let me point out that Weiner went beyond fantasy. Or have we forgotten that these are real women with whom he was communicating? Women who, gosh, he thinks, are not underage. Women who he supposed would not blackmail him. Women whom he apparently told his wife about before their marriage but could not bring himself to give up. The press isn’t invading his mind or his bedroom; it’s looking at his Tweets and talking to the women on whose Timeline he was willing to risk his marriage, his career and his self-respect. (As for the comment, “Another Christian has been thrown to the lions. The ‘Christian in this case is a Jew,” I am dumbfounded and dismayed that Weiner’s religion should enter into the discussion.)
As for the “I just don’t get it” response of some young liberal men out there, I can only imagine that ideology so dominates their lives that they fail to see the harm in a public figure’s not-at-all-private conduct. Or perhaps they too see the Tweets as a harmless pastime. Maybe, for all the “sexual harassment” training we’ve gotten, we’ve forgotten some essential training in ethics.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes:
The private citizens of Queens voted to make Anthony Weiner a public citizen and their Representative. They assumed he would show judgment not for himself alone but for them and their interests.
Instead, he has shattered his ability to serve their interests. In an age of aggressive computer hacking, he also put himself at risk of blackmail by criminals or adversaries. His week of fantastic lies proved how vulnerable he or any public figure is to selling out his integrity to save himself from humiliation.
Or as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in perhaps the most astute words he has ever uttered, “I know Congressman Weiner and I wish there was some way I can defend him, but I can’t. Okay?” If Reid can figure it out, certainly the male media elite can, okay?