Anthony Weiner: Liar, liar, pants on fire

21/09/2019 Posted by admin

by Rosa Hwang

Before you read this, prepare to despair for humanity.

In just one week, the online exploits of a U.S. congressman and his schlong got more press than Syria’s violent civil uprising, now entering its fifth month. Google News estimates about every 0.09 second — in the time it takes you to say “Weinergate” — the web already generated 14,000 results on the subject.

Congressman Anthony Weiner — a seemingly smart man, a seven-term Congressman — taking pictures of himself in various states of undress, then texting the images to women he met online.

The indiscretions are embarrassing, but a politician getting caught in a sex scandal is hardly new. Although in Weiner’s case — unless there are more sordid revelations — his may be the first sex scandal in U.S. political history that doesn’t technically involve actual sex. Nevertheless, good leaders have been doing bad things since the Bible was written. So what makes this story — and others like it — so irresistible?

For the answer, I’d like to take you a back to a politician, once touted as the “next big thing.”

Before he ever ran for president, or for the title of “Worst Husband in the World,” John Edwards was as close to a rock star as you can get on Capitol Hill. I attended an event in 2003 in Washington when the young senator from North Carolina came in with his thousand-watt smile and perpetually sunny disposition.

I watched Edwards work the room and it was a sight to behold. The ladies swooned. The men sucked in their stomachs. In one fell swoop, he had them hooked. I was reminded of a quote from my favourite book, Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice: “He is as fine a fellow as ever I saw. He simpers; he smirks and makes love to us all.”

Former presidential candidate John Edwards makes a statement to the media following a federal court appearance in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on June 3. Photo by Gerry Broome, The Associated Press.

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Today, of course, Edwards is just another cheating politician. He’s been labelled a creep who fathered a child with his mistress, while his ailing wife was dying of cancer. He’s been accused of being a crook, who allegedly misused campaign funds to try and cover up the affair. He was recently indicted by a grand jury on six felony charges. If convicted, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison.

But all those dizzying events aside, I was struck by an interview I saw with legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, right after Edwards publicly confessed to the affair. He aptly pointed out Edwards was guilty of the one crime that was truly unforgiveable by the media and the electorate: hypocrisy.

Portraying himself as the son of a poor mill worker, who stood up for the little guy, Edwards’s story couldn’t have been scripted better. He fell in love with his law school sweetheart, stood by her through the death of their son, through her successful fight against infertility, and her bouts with breast cancer.

The truth hurts.

Rep. Anthony Weiner is questioned by the media near his home in New York on June 11. Photo by David Karp, The Associated Press.

When a public figure is exposed as a liar, there is an unspoken agreement between the news disseminators (us) and the news consumers (you). The real story is not about sex — it’s about the lies we tell ourselves. Licentiousness breeds corruption, so it’s our responsibility to give you all the sordid details and your responsibility to take it all in, right? We all hop on that bandwagon faster than a fairweather hockey fan during the Stanley Cup Finals. The titillation is merely a side dish, served alongside the main course — kind of like vegetables, bathed in an oily, greasy coating.

As unsavoury as that meal sounds, it will likely remain on the menu. Why? Because “Anthony Weiner” is the most popular search term on Google right now by a country mile — and “Weinergate” is the top trend on Twitter too. Oh — and probably because you read this blog, with the subject matter, “Anthony Weiner.” Admit it. You were interested.

I’m getting indigestion.

Rosa is a senior producer at Global National, based in Vancouver. Follow her on Twitter: @RosaHwangTV.

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