Weinergate: Barbara Walters Loses Reporter Cred – UPDATES

I know, I know; I am the only blogger in the world, it seems, who is not writing about Anthony Weiner. Mea Culpa — Mondays are my busiest day, and today I didn’t even get to go to Adoration, so you know it was just unmanageably busy.

I didn’t even see the news when it broke! You guys know more than I do.

But according to Ed Driscoll, it was a late-afternoon of awesome political theater!

Watch video here. Pelosi is finally going to look into this.

To my way of thinking, the saddest part of this story is Barbara Walters devolution; this once-respected newswoman nears the end of her distinguished career by playing as ghastly a non-sequitur as I’ve ever heard, saying (in essence) if Sarah Palin ‘can ride around on her bus,’ Weiner Can Stay in Congress.

When Joy Behar, of all people has to defend Sarah Palin from your bizarrely gratuitous swipe, you know you’ve let your hate lead you too far into Whackyland.

Listen (if you can stand the noise of this show) to Walters talking about how she “knows” Weiner and “knows” his wife, who of course works for Hillary Clinton, whom she also knows.

This is the problem with the mainstream media in a nutshell. They “know” the people they’re supposed to be covering, and they consider themselves “friends” of those people. And it has ruined them. As you listen to Walters, all you see is passionate advocacy; not a newswoman concerned with the truth of a story, but a partisan doing everything she can to divert attention from a story she doesn’t like — even to comparing a private citizen on a bus to a sitting congressman having some sort of cyber-engagement in his office — and championing her “friend.”

This has never been a nice story, which is why I haven’t written about it until now. But I still am less interested in Weiner than in how the press reacted to this story. Some were willing to believe him, simply because he said they should. Some seemed like they didn’t want to believe him, but didn’t want to not believe him, even more. The usual partisans tried to blame and smear the usual partisans.

We don’t actually have a genuine press any more.

Thank God for the Internet, says I. I wonder how much longer we’ll be able to traipse its environs freely.

UPDATE I: Instalanche! Thank you Glenn Reynolds!. Much appreciated. And note, Reynolds is typically bright, calling Walters “Collateral Damage.” Heh.

Meanwhile, here is Weiner just lying

Obnoxious video

Katie Couric and the Gravitas Issue
(Discusses female newsers)

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://cristinahaines.blogspot.com/ Cristina

    I agree…with everything.

  • Marty

    I think you are correct about Walters… one could probably trace the decline and fall of journalism to when journalists became celebrities and started falling for the blandishments of those they were supposed to report on… and by the Clinton Administration becoming all-out cheerleaders for one side.

    A shared liberal worldview doesn’t hurt, either, but it is all of a piece.

  • jeff

    It was the same with John Edwards…. only after the evidence became overwhelming did the news media acknowledge that the National Enquirer had a credible story. Up until that point the professional journalists did their best to sweep it aside as unimportant yet here we are just a few days removed from Edwards being indicted for campaign finance violations related to his mistress and Rep. Weiner is proving once again how the traditional media has neglected their responsibility in our society.

  • http://www.TheMadisonProject.org Maggi

    Barbara Walters had credibility? Who knew

  • Clint

    For someone playing catchup, you’ve managed to cut right to the heart of the matter.

    It’s a running theme with Andrew Breitbart, and one he’s been entirely up front about.

    He’s not going after ACORN or the Department of Agriculture or Congressman Weiner.

    He’s going after the mainstream media, exposing the way they react to scandals among Democrats.

    He releases enough to start a buzz; gives the media time to settle on a narrative; publicly challenges them to question the narrative; gets attacked viciously from all sides; and then plays his trump card: the information he held back at the start, information that cuts right through the constructed media narrative and exposes it for the sham that it always was.

    It’s quite brilliant.

    The only thing I’d quibble with: “We don’t actually have a genuine press any more.”

    We never did.

    It was a myth they constructed and sold to us. It was a nice myth, a comforting myth, and it’s sad to have lost it. But it was always a myth.

    Recall that Dan Rather got his big break when he managed to construct a narrative that John F. Kennedy was shot by a communist because of the hostile environment created by Republicans in Texas. Remind you of a more recent shooting?

  • nohype

    Yes, Barbara really did “know” a person she was covering. Google Barbara Walters Edward Brooke and then explain why this woman was taken seriously as a reporter for most of her career. We have not had a genuine press for some time, but now with the Internet we can see just how awful it is.

  • Mo

    Actually, the MSM started to sink when Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America” lied about the Tet Offensive because he hated the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. He took what was a major victory for the U.S. forces and made it into a defeat. Many people STILL don’t know about Cronkite’s deliberate and successful attempt to sway public opinion. No, he didn’t do it alone, but his manipulation of the story was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.


    I was talking about this with my sister and brother-in-law, very well-informed, normally, but neither had any idea of this, and the article talks about how anyone younger than 55 might not know. But for those of us who do remember, it started the progression of the MSM towards where it is today (and of course, the Internet made all the difference).

    For me, it was not only the Cronkite story, but the biased stories in the MSM (AP and Reuters, especially, as well as the NYTimes) about Israel; these stories were particularly egregious over the last 10 years (probably longer, but that’s when I started noticing the insanely slanted “News” stories against Israel). In fact, in the case of Israel, I’m seeing the same bylines I saw at the start of the 2nd intafada, the same people writing from Gaza and the West Bank.

    The MSM is a bit like the entire edifice of liberalism, teetering on the edge of disaster. Liberals cannot understand why the welfare state and Medicare and the entire entitlement era may be falling. Barbara Walters can’t understand how the MSM is falling apart. This is much like the ending of the Soviet Union. Did any of us think it would fall apart as it did?

    Like the Soviet Union, it is taking a while for the reality to sink in to the MSM. It is bankrupt, of money and ideas, and it has been overwhelmed by the Internet and the flow of ideas, much as capitalism was shown to be the system that worked.

  • http://primordialslack.com Joan of Argghh!

    Here’s when Barbara Walters lost her cred:

    Furthermore, Kennedy approached the Soviets with an offer to help undermine Ronald Reagan’s 1984 presidential reelection campaign. Kennedy proposed a public relations blitz and mentioned his friends — Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters, by name — as willing to assist in the propaganda effort.

  • http://primordialslack.com Joan of Argghh!

    Mo, you beat me to it! Great minds, etc.

  • Mo

    Hey Joan, I didn’t know about the Cronkite/Walters/Soviet connection, fascinating (and scary) stuff!

  • http://www.freedominion.com.pa/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1621513#1621513 backhoe

    All of The Make Believe Media ( hattip: Ace of Spades ) has
    become “infotainment” now- it has all the credibility wrestling matches on TV used to have.

    Any person of normal intelligence and literacy can write a news report- perhaps that is why reporting had to be elevated to “journalism” with its worthless credentials and degrees.

  • Andrew B

    What we need is a return to the “bad old days” of journalism, when a newspaper wore its politics on its sleeve. One knew, much like British tabloids today, what one was getting when you bought a particular newspaper. There was no pretense of objectivity. You wanted a particular partisan slant and you got it.

    We still get that slant today, but with the insulting veneer of disinterested, non-partisan, totally objective, Olympian remove. Give me sordid honesty over sanctimonious deceit any day!

  • stan


    Go back to the CBS hit piece where Fred Friendly and Eric Sevareid set up Barry Goldwater and smeared him. Or the Schorr lies about Goldwater and nazis. Or the media complicity in covering up for JFK.

    Of course, the hatred of Nixon that resulted in Watergate had its beginning when he was in Congress. The news media didn’t like what he did to their communist friends and they absolutely hated him for it.

    The news media has been biased, corrupt and incompetent forever. The strong tilt in bias and corrupt practices favoring the left goes back at least to the rise of the Soviet Union. Remember the Times’ Walter Duranty? Remember the slanted reporting from China? Remember Whitaker Chambers noting that there were so many communists working in the Time-Life building that they produced their own daily paper?

  • CJ

    Mo, I realized how the MSM was lying when I moved from Texas to NJ and started reading the NYT. I was surprised to find how unpopular Reagan was becoming in his first term, according to the paper and how much his reelection was in trouble. I was truly shocked about the landslide for his second term. I predicted then that history would be scandalized about that period, but realized later how the MSM has controlled even not only news, but history. It took the internet and bloggers, like The Anchoress among many, to expose the lies.

  • brother jeff

    We have no genuine media anymore. I second.that. rush calls it ‘state run’ media for laughs, but to be precise it is an unofficial state media which carries water for the DNC and Obama.

  • brother jeff

    And agree that it started with Cronkite in vietnam. From that to airhead mika brezinski giggling while she literally gets text messages from the white house during Morning Joe.

  • http://moneyrunner.blogspot.com/ Moneyrunner

    I was glued to the TV last night to watch the press reaction and caught a few interviews that reinforce what Elizabeth said. On VanSusteren’s “On the Record” show she had Kirsten Powers and I live-blogged the conversation.

    Kirsten Powers, former Weiner girlfriend says that sending dirty pictures to girls around the country is “Between him and his wife.” It seems that Weiner’s actions have no reflection on Congress and the image that people have of the ruling class. “Between him and his wife” is repeated again. This must be the talking point that the media are going to be repeating innumerable times in the days ahead. It will be followed by “move on.”

    Powers says she is outraged by the accusation that there is a double standard and “humans are flawed.” “Of course lying’s wrong but people lie about these things…. He’s trying to protect his wife.” Really? That’s what he was trying to do? Van Susteren wasn’t buying this.

  • kenneth

    From now on, I’m only voting for candidates who are swingers with open marriages. That would take this whole affair business out of the equation. Our country is circling the drain a little faster each day and this is what we spend our time deliberating. Politicians handling their sex lives like adolescents and adolescent tittering about it by the media.

  • Doc

    The corporate media will act as the palace guard as long as they can for any powerful Democrat as long as he’s useful. If they can’t bury the story, they’ll soften it to minimize the damage to their Party. People like Walters are as loyal to the Party as Pravda reporters used to be. It wasn’t that Walters was close to those she was protecting, it’s that they were Democrats. Walters and her brethren would never, ever protect a Republican in this manner, nor should they.

  • PineKnot

    Walter Cronkite was aided and assisted by Frank McGee. As an active duty military man during Vietnam, I was completely outraged by the news coverage of the war. Yet, behind the cover of being news persons, no one called it treason.

  • Neo

    Democrats are already known to be the “scum of the Earth” so exactly what does this episode change ?

  • Mutnodjmet

    When Joy Behar is the voice of reason, you know you’ve crossed a bridge too far. Great perspective, Anchoress. You prove that it is sometimes worth waiting to opine on a developing story.

  • Teresa

    Thank you for posting Walters comments as I never suffer through that show. Maybe Walters and Chris Matthews should co-host a show. Matthews implied on his show that maybe this episode was the fault of Weiner’s wife! The relationship between the mainstream media and democrat politicos is so obvious to all except the dim-witted that they just do not matter any more. Thank God for the internet.

  • jtd7

    @Neo — I am a Democrat and I read The Anchoress regularly because I appreciate her thoughtful perspective. You come over here and call me “scum of the earth” to my face.

  • http://www.recruitinganimal.com Recruiting Animal

    Oh yeah, the good old days. How many times have we heard about liars like Walter Duranty misreporting from the Soviet Union or the coverup that journalists regularly did for loverboys like JFK. My guess is that in spite of Barbara Walters, the host of a daytime ladies’ show, it’s a lot more free now.


  • bandit

    You’re confused – these Dems rumpswabs aren’t hired despite their lack of credibility – they’re hired because of it. They’re hired to carry water for the Dems – stop doing that and they see the backside of the person in front of them in the unemployment line.

  • Gail F

    How about Barbara Walters’ sympathetic treatment of Jack Kevorkian last week? I happened to catch that sickening biton the evening news. “He wanted to be called Dr. Life.” !!!!

    I know she used to be considered a serious journalist but I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t light weight and iffy. The last time I watched anything on purpose that had her in it was the “Most Fascinating People” special where she picked CAMILLA as the Most Fascinating Person of the year because she “waited so long for her prince.” Yeah, she wrecked two families and destroyed Princess Diana’s life waiting for her prince. I fail to see the romance in it.

    This is particularly egregious, thanks for posting it. As a woman I am embarrassed that The View is even on television.

  • mojo


    To hell with “journalists”, give me a good, old-fashioned reporter any day.

    Election Council President: [at the territorial statehood convention] The chair recognizes its old friend; that distinguished member of the Fourth Estate, founder, owner, publisher and editor of the Shinbone Star, Mr. Dutton Peabody, Esquire!
    Dutton Peabody: Thank you, thank you, Mister Chairman, for those kind words; but why don’t you tell them the whole truth: founder, owner, editor, and I also sweep out the place.

    Dutton Peabody: [protesting his nomination to the statehood convention] Good people of Shinbone; I, I’m your conscience, I’m the small voice that thunders in the night, I’m your watchdog who howls against the wolves, I, I’m your father confessor! I – I’m… what else am I?
    Tom Doniphon: Town drunk?
    – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

  • Noel Hausler

    Elizabeth Scalia is a columist at First Things which tells me she would disagree with anything left of centre. I wonder f she wrote anything about Foley and Vitter. Vitter is still in Congress and he actually had a sex with a woman not his wife. Weiner has not

  • http://mooseandsquirrel.ca/ Natasha

    Noel, the biggest issue is not that Weiner was inappropriate with young women less than half his age (including this juicy cybersex: http://www.radaronline.com/sites/radaronline.com/files/Wiener-Facebook-Transcript-Watermarked.pdf), but that he repeatedly lied about it while trying to cast blame elsewhere. He’s evil and only sorry he got caught.

  • Momma Kyle

    Not only did Wiener lie and convince others to lie for him—but the whole media smear machine did everything they could to try to discredit Andrew Brietbart—
    Where is the appology to Brietbart?
    Same old game—smear the truthtellers—whether it be Drudge or Paula Jones or Brietbart.
    No wonder ordinary citizens are afraid to stand up to them.

  • Nerina

    Noel, you need to read more of her writing. She would definitely surprise you. I don’t pretend to speak for Anchoress, but I doubt she would label herself “right” or “left.” She just doesn’t work that way. I’d say she’s “simply Catholic.” (This is not to say that she doesn’t have strong opinions, though).

  • Doc

    Noel, please tell me what conservative defended Foley. In fact please name one that did not demand that he step down. Because I recall no conserative on the radio that defended that slime. What I do recall is the Democrat/corporate media cabal using the Foley scandal to smear the entire Republican Party and all conservatives.

  • Gringo

    29 Noel Hausler

    Elizabeth Scalia is a columist [sic] at First Things which tells me she would disagree with anything left of centre. I wonder f[sic] she wrote anything about Foley and Vitter.

    Instead of idly “wondering,” why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and find out?

    Because The Anchoress has utilized different websites over the years, searching for what she said in previous years can be problematic. Here is a quote from The Anchoress at Dr. Sanity. The Anchoress calls it political expediency:

    Now, of course, it is politically expedient to cast suspicion and doubt upon a gay man communicating with a 16 year old boy, and the Dems love what is politically expedient. Which causes even this center-left journalist to call them a party without principles.

    Don’t get me wrong. Foley is a creep and good riddance, and I wish he’d take Denny Hastert with him…but my, there’s a Dem player throwing gay men under the bus in order to make political points. Well, why not? They know they can count on the gay vote…no risk there, right?

    Search the Internet yourself for what The Anchoress has said about Vitter. That is, if you are REALLY interested in finding out.

  • Gringo

    Sorry for my mistake for the Dr. Sanity link.

  • http://pungeon.blogspot.com LS

    I was still in high school when Barbara Walters became known as a “celebrity journalist,” a term I found even then to be oxymoronic.
    Strangely enough, I went to J-School.

    But my opinions on “celebrity journalists” have not changed in the slightest.

  • http://datechguyblog.com Datechguy

    Don’t forget that Walters was also sleeping with a married Senator from Massachusetts (Ed Brooke) 40 years ago, so of course she is defending Weiner

  • jack

    Palin – so in their heads – rent free

  • http://muellerstuff.blogspot.com Ken Mueller

    The anti-Palin campaign started almost immediately after she was selected as Republican VP candidate. I thought at the time that it was a desperate but necessary move because of the Democrats nominating a known nincompoop to play good cop/bad cop with Obama. Sarah Palin was very different from any VP candidates we had seen before. The strategy worked as a campaign slogan and since the Democrats know that their forte is electioneering all the time, and with the success of Ms Palin in drawing an audience, the persistence of this full frontal attack (aka Palin Derangement Syndrome) is the result.

  • Richard A

    What constantly surprises me about these things is this.

    In the very first administration under our constitution, Alexander Hamilton, to his immediate shame, provided our country’s history with a perfect example of how best to handle this type of situation. It worked out well for him, but how many of our recent politicos, having been caught more or less in flagrante, have behaved similarly?

    Well, Vitter dropped out of the governor’s race immediately – remember, before the affair became public, Hamilton confessed it to his boss, President Washington, and tendered his resignation – , kept himself clean enough to get elected Senator, and got himself ‘outed’ again three whole years before his re-election.

    Americans, publicly, don’t like adultery, but they really don’t like lying the about it and trying to pretend someone else is making it up to get him.

    Besides, Vitter’s from Louisiana, where the rules are different.