Last July, ABC and NBC highlighted a temper tantrum from Rep. Anthony Weiner, alleging on the House floor that the Republicans were denying health care to the heroes of 9/11. To Diane Sawyer, Weiner spoke for all of America: "Every now and then, someone seems to express the nation's frustration with the endless wrangling and delay in Congress."
Remember Weiner when liberal journalists roll their eyes at the stupidity of conservatives. Weiner's social-media sex scandal was underplayed by the national media precisely because they thought their ultraliberal star was far too smart to commit these stupid sex pranks with women he barely knew on the Internet.
The Old Media were clearly slow to jump on this story, even when Weiner all but admitted his guilt when he refused to deny he'd taken a picture of his own crotch and then couldn't deny "with certitude" that this was his body. They knew what these answers meant, and yet they still waited for some other media -- the New Media -- to get to the bottom of it.
Andrew Breitbart and his blog Big Government began this story, and they finished it, at least in terms of forcing Weiner to confess he lied to everyone -- spouse, staff, media and public. Breitbart was right in explaining why: There's an obvious double standard when the liberal media cover political scandal. They're a pack of hungry lions to devour Republicans; they are mellow leaf-eaters when Democrats cross an ethical line.
Let's recall the quick and dirty end of Republican Mark Foley's career in 2006. When the story came out that Foley had sent lewd Internet messages to male congressional pages, the networks filed an amazing 152 stories over the first 12 days, almost all of them after Foley abruptly resigned. Foley's scandal was a sex (SET ITAL) talk (END ITAL) scandal. Investigators never found a physical relationship, but the media chewed that story clean to the bones. The timing -- just weeks before midterm elections -- surely was delicious.
The media not only demanded that Foley go, but so did House Speaker Dennis Hastert, since he didn't stop this apparent predation of teenage Hill volunteers.
"But this is more than just one man's downfall," insisted Matt Lauer on NBC. "It could be a major blow to the Republican Party, desperately trying to hold on to control of Congress in the coming midterm elections." NBC's story then carried angry sound bites from outraged Democrats.
This is where the double standard's transparently obvious. The media have worked overtime to limit the story. It's about Weiner -- and only Weiner.