Have you ever participated in an activity that was moronic, stupid or otherwise shameful? For Representative Anthony Weiner, he did this last week. In his conscience, he knew it was wrong to send risqué pictures of himself to women over the internet, but he did it anyways. Multiple times.
I look at how he handled this situation.
He was found to have posted a Tweet containing a photo of him in his boxer briefs. It was like those ‘magic-photos’ where you have to turn your head sideways to see what’s going on. It was a low fidelity mobile photo. On TV, I couldn’t see it, but on a computer I could. Whatever.
Weiner then claimed his Twitter account was compromised and “wasn’t sure” if that was a photo of himself. This fueled the media to speculate on that statement and either find the source of the hack or get to the truth – either way, it wasn’t coming from Weiner’s PR team.
Today, Weiner admitted that he lied at the same time a cache shirtless photos of him surfaced on a conservative blog along with family photos in the background. It was confirmed that he was no stranger to posing for women on the web – six of them in fact. In the background of his muscular chest, there was a framed photo of him and his wife. Classy.
I have no issue with the fact he did this. If you’re in politics, you’re powerful and can do whatever you want without consequences. Perhaps his wife of less than a year, Huma Abedin, will have the courage to leave him and show that these actions in fact do carry consequences.
I do have an issue with deception and lying. He previously laid blame into third party, Twitter, claiming he was hacked and it was an act from pranksters. I didn’t buy it. He has a Verified Twitter account and those are special accounts that don’t allow password resets except from internal staff. This alleged compromise was unconfirmed from Twitter. (Verified Twitter accounts are similar to AOL’s Overhead celebrity accounts in how password resets are to only be performed by qualified internals.)
If Weiner simply said he made a mistake that he posted the photo and apologized, there wouldn’t be a media frenzy over it. The media is obsessed with scandal and youthful metaphors and euphemisms and his deception fueled it even more. Look, men send photos of themselves over the internet all the time. That’s not new. But when our elected officials are caught in a lie, it is a reflection of their core values and ethics.
Personally, I don’t think the prima facie matter had any meaningful impact on his career. However, I do feel that his deception and lying will render him not electable and unfit for representing his constituents in New York. Of course, this is also a strike against Democrats – which is why his peers are even more critical of him.
When you mess up, just tell the truth. Admit your wrongdoing and apologize. If you’re scared, that’s called having a conscience. Often, when you tell the truth in a scandal, it passes over and nobody cares. When you lie, people form a negative opinion on your decisions, your judgment and your alignment to their values. Own the situation and address it. Silence and false statements makes the media turn up the volume and spread your controversy to more people.
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