Why is Anthony Weiner talking about pie?
Sometimes a story seems too silly to be true, or too gossipy and salacious to be worthy of serious attention. But with this remarkable press conference, Anthony Weiner legitimized the story of the lewd picture that went out from his Twitter account in a way no conservative blogger ever could have.
Let's take his word for it that he was "hacked," and let's assume that the tweet in question wasn't, say, an errant DM. Let's also assume that Weiner has chosen not to involve the police in the matter for the quite understandable reason that he doesn't feel like having law enforcement go through records of all of his electronic correspondence and social-media activity. It then becomes close to impossible to explain why he would have conducted himself like this at a question-and-answer session with reporters, if there weren't some aspect of these events that he was desperate not to talk about.
Weiner doesn't want to engage with a pie-throwing mischief-maker, he says here. But then why did he bother going out to talk to journalists who were obviously going to ask him about the pie?
"This was a prank that I've been talking about for a couple of days ..." he began.
And: "If I was giving a speech to 45,000 people and someone in the back of the room threw a pie, or yelled out an insult, would I spend the next two hours responding to that?"
And: "This is the tactic. The guy in the back of the room who's throwing the pie, or yelling out the insult, wants that to be the conversation."
He filibustered, basically. And he criticized the reporters who were asking him the questions, calling one a "jackass."
It is not possible that Weiner, who is actually incredibly skillful at dealing with the press, thought that these journalists would respond to his stated desire to move on by thanking him and duly moving on to questions about the national debt. Nor is it possible that he thought that going out there and yelling at them for asking him questions would put the matter to rest.
It is, however, possible that Weiner, who knows something about providing viral-video grist to liberals, hoped to incite a backlash against the stupid old MSM for badgering him about a dirty mystery-tweet when there are so many important issues to discuss.
If that was his thinking, it seems like a miscalculation. If Weiner stuck to his original story, and no proof emerged to refute it, then sure, it would be him against Breitbart-world. As it is, he is giving even the most sympathetic observers reason to wonder just what's going on, and why he won't put things to rest when it ought to be so easy to do so.
Weiner's former roommate Jon Stewart, mocker without parallel of mindless media feeding frenzies, and reliable leading indicator of liberal-opinion-maker opinion, mustered this on his show last night: "As a friend, I hope this is not true."
This can't really end terribly well now for Weiner, who hopes to win an election for mayor of New York City in 2013. This stupid story about this stupid picture is going to come out, whatever it is. And even if the version of events that emerges answers whatever outstanding questions there are about the actual incident, Weiner has now ensured that there will also be questions about his bizarre behavior after the event.
The pie-thrower, whoever he or she may be, is winning.