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Weiner's dirty laundry

Editorial

The New York congressman's responses about a photo sent to a college student on his Twitter account only make the media wonder what he's hiding.

June 02, 2011
  • Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York departs after speaking to reporters about an incident regarding a lewd Twitter photo.
Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York departs after speaking to reporters about… (Alex Wong/Getty Images )

We really, really don't want to be writing about Weinergate. Seriously. The travails of Rep. Anthony Weiner seem so much like a piece of here-today, gone-tomorrow political theater, a manufactured controversy just titillating enough to keep the Twittersphere thrumming, that we'd rather not add to the national embarrassment by throwing more ink at it. And yet…

Does anybody actually believe the distinguished Democratic member from New York when he says that he doesn't know whether the lewd photo sent on his Twitter account to a Seattle college student was a picture of him?

Weiner's bizarre answers when pressed on the question of the photograph so seriously strain credulity that they're keeping alive a scandal that by now would probably have gone the way of other momentary media storms, like last month's fuss over Newt Gingrich's account at Tiffany's. We strongly suspect that most people, even most congressmen, would know whether a close-up photo of their crotch had ever been taken. If nothing else, surely Weiner should recognize whether the distinctive gray boxer briefs worn by the photo's subject belong to him. Yet when questioned about the picture, he has asserted that it may have been digitally altered, and he tried to change the subject.

"I don't know what photographs are out there in the world of me," he feebly told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

We're willing to give Weiner the benefit of the doubt when he claims his Twitter account was hacked and that he didn't send the picture. That kind of thing, unfortunately, happens all too often these days. That's not to say he gets a free pass; if evidence does emerge that he is sending lewd pictures to young women, he should be held to account for both harassment (the digital equivalent of street flashing) and lying to the public. But no one has presented any such evidence.

Meanwhile, though, Weiner's lame explanations seem to indicate that he has an embarrassing secret. Coming clean might be less embarrassing than continuing to feed the media beast.

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