“In a big field, a guy’s gotta find a way to stand out.”
The Atlantic‘s David Frum, a former speechwriter to President George W. Bush, was referring to Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, who just dropped his hat into the 2016 presidential race.
But he might as well have been talking about himself.
Big fish, small pond sort of thing.
Frum finds himself in hot — no, make that scalding — water Monday morning after a weekend of tweets he claims were intended for Twitter’s Direct Messaging system. In them, Frame wonders if Wimbledon champ Serena Williams has been doping her way to a win.
He went on, apparently and allegedly to someone on DM.
TV One’s Roland Martin asked Frum to come on his show Monday morning to answer for his weekend tweets. Frum readily accepted the offer. “David Frum has some explaining to do after his tweets over the weekend,” said Martin.
Frum’s defense — so far — is that his messages were intended for a private conversation and not public consumption. Therefore he’s, um, deleted them.
Frum is not the only journalist who occasionally turns into a complete idiot on Twitter.
As some recall, CNN’s non-media critic (wink! wink!) Brian Stelter recently thought he was using Twitter’s private messaging system when he wrote “Wolf is the worst.” (Yes, as in his seasoned colleague Wolf Blitzer.)
When observers called him on it, he said he had copied and pasted something “someone” had sent him. Who that someone is remains a mystery. But according to Stelter, he was just trying to prove to the person how his views on Wolf have flip flopped.
The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald wasn’t quiet about his views. “Typical @DavidFrum: casually insinuates Serena cheats with steroids, using innuendo to provide cowardly deniability,” he wrote on Twitter.
So what did Frum have to say for himself on TV One?
Martin asked his panel of guests, which included Frum, why Williams’ physique is even a concern. “At the end of the day, winning is winning,” he said.
Frum attempted an explanation.
“The New York Times ran a very strange story about body image issues,” Frum replied. “I’m not a big sports fan, but I am a big consumer of news media. Tennis has had large suspicions…when a reporter writes this long story saying this athlete got bulky, I thought, I am going to decode this story. …I tweeted two tweets on my public timeline. Someone who is a Twitter follower of mine who knows Serena a little bit sent me very angry messages.”
He said they had a 25 tweet exchange.
“I have no idea whether Serena Williams uses steroids or not,” said Frum. “Look, there is a lot of talk about steroids in Tennis. There has been a lot of talk about other athletes.”
ESPN columnist Howard Byrant, who also appeared on Martin’s program, took issue with Frum’s reasoning. “I didn’t think it was decoding,” he said of the New York Times story on the physiques of female tennis players.
The rest of Martin’s panel collectively called the commentary concerning Williams’ body “racist” and “sexist” and men trying to police women’s bodies.
They even brought up first lady Michelle Obama and the “abusive comments” she’s received regarding her chiseled look.
Martin, meanwhile, raised the issue of Kim Kardashian backside. “Serena’s butt is real, Kim is fake,” the host said. “…But if that was a white woman woman with a body like that, oh my God, she be celebrating.”
Frum, the only white person on the panel, seemed to turn purple as he took a hideous amount of heat over his remarks.
He had nothing to say about Kim Kardashian’s behind.