During the Weinergate saga, which finally concluded yesterday in a teary-eyed press conference, Weiner had no shortage of supporters who trotted out various tortured defenses of the embattled Congressman. Here’s some of The Daily Caller’s favorite conspiracy theories, red herrings and straw men. Let’s call them the “boners.”
Because Occam’s Razor has never been particularly popular in American politics, some theorized that Weiner was framed by a malicious hacker who exploited a security flaw in Weiner’s yfrog account, all so said hacker could send a picture of bulging underpants to a random girl who followed Weiner on Twitter.
The evidence to support the theory was so overwhelming that the blog Cannonfire was left no choice but to run with the headline: “CASE CLOSED! CONGRESSMAN WEINER WAS FRAMED!”
Even ABC News picked up on the theory, which was making its rounds through the Internet.
One would think Weiner’s admission of guilt would put an end to the conspiracy theory, but then one probably wouldn’t know much about conspiracy theorists. Cannonfire refused to budge, saying Weiner was indeed hacked. The only reason Weiner admitted to sending pictures, the blog argued, was to keep Andrew Breitbart from releasing a photo so lewd and powerful that it would destroy Weiner’s career.
Speaking of Breitbart …
Killing the Messenger
If supporters of Weiner had a tough subject to defend, they had a perfect enemy to attack in Breitbart. Weiner defenders claimed the scandal was a vast, right-wing smear designed to bring down the Congressman.
“Of course, none of this would’ve happened had conservatives not employed an ‘anything goes’ effort to destroy Rep. Anthony Weiner,” Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas said in an interview with Daily Caller during the scandal. Moulitsas also refused to protect the identity of two underage women who were named on his website during Weinergate.
And Joan Walsh, Editor-at-Large of Salon, wanted everyone to know that, no matter who tweeted what, Breitbart was a bad, bad man.
“If it turns out that Rep. Anthony Weiner sent dirty pictures to a college student via Twitter, I will be surprised,” Walsh wrote. “However, there is one lesson I won’t learn: I will never, ever take the word of Andrew Breitbart or anyone in his army of political sewer workers, over the word of someone who denies his claims, without independent proof.”
After Weiner’s mea culpa, Walsh submitted her entry for the backhanded compliment of the year: “In the end […] Breitbart was right about Weiner. Since he appears to need my validation, I will say one thing: Maybe this means he learned from the Sherrod mess, and got his facts straight before publishing this time.”
Let those who have not tweeted lewd pictures cast the first stone
Another popular defense was to ask, “Is not Anthony Weiner human?” Hendrik Hertzberg at The New Yorker advised people to look inward at themselves and see the saucy tweets that they all send, both over the Internet and in their hearts:
“On MSNBC, the cable-news ‘home page’ of my political tribe, one commentator said that one of the things Weinergate shows is that powerful politicians assume they can get away with things that regular people can’t,” Hertzberg wrote. “If they do assume that, they’re wrong. It would be more accurate to say that they can’t get away with things that regular people can. Look around you. Consider your friends, your work colleagues, your relatives, maybe even yourself.”
And over at DailyKos, writer Meteor Blades wonders if we’re not all responsible for Weinergate in a way, like that Bob Dylan song, “Who Killed Davey Moore?”
“Think of all the intense time spent by so many clever minds this past weekend on trying to figure out who hacked Rep. Anthony Weiner and how,” Meteor Blades writes. “Wasted time not just because he wasn’t hacked and somehow imagined he could bullshit his way out of the little mess he had made but, more importantly, wasted time that might have been spent digging into real scandals. Like the gigantic scam being run by the corporadoes in charge of our economy. But enough bashing the media—new and old—for its part in these affairs. What about the audience?”