Weinergate and more on The Reliable Source Live

Jun 01, 2011

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts were online Wednesday, June 1, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Much to discuss, considering the holiday-shortened news week.... Weinergate! Media scrum mulls the congressman's refusal-to-discuss, as pundits count the number of hotties on his "follow" list... GOP "press tart" Lisa Baron kisses and tells... Sax rethinks its scandalous murals ...
Paul Simon turns to a D.C. lawyer for help with lyrics. . . . Ed Schultz suspended for Laura Ingraham slur
 ... and JC Hayward hopes for Tony nomination for "A Time to Kill" cameo.

Do you think it's unreasonable that Rep. Weiner answer clearly 1) is that photograph of him; and 2) does he know anything about who might have sent that photograph? He doesn't seem to want to answer those questions, for some reason.

On the one hand, I can understand the moral-high-ground approach of I don't want to dignify that question. On the other hand, if I were being wrongly accused, I'd probably abandon my moral-high-ground in a hot instant.

Easy for him to prove he was hacked. Have an impartial jury view photo then Weiner in a similar pose and have them make a determination. Actually he should be more worried about the photo showing he shaves his legs!!! Why does he shave his legs? Real men dont

Every possible answer only poses new questions, doesn't it?

Sarah Palin's email account got hacked, remember? A Twitter password is no harder to break. Pranks and hoaxes to embarrass politicians are surely not rare; Breitbart & his proteges have pulled some notable and nasty ones. Why be naively shocked at the suggestion that this tweet was likewise an imposture?

Absolutely correct. That's one of the things we'll be exploring today -- how easy or how hard is it to hack someone's Twitter account?

Weinergate is a great giggle-inducing name, even if only for a faux scandal, but what are some of the other surreal scandal names that I may be forgetting?

Maybe our fellow gigglers can remind us -- anyone?

Anthony Weiner is a combative hyperpartisan. If right-wingers hacked his account to smear him, everything in his past says he'd be demanding an investigation from the floor of the House. He'd want the perpetrators caught and punished, and he'd want to use it to smear all Republicans. But he says he wants to turn the other cheek and just forgive this "prank" (he's backed off the "hack" talk). Is there anything in Weiner's personality that makes you believe that's possible? And his disastrous interview made him look incredibly guilty. Isn't the simplest Occam's Razor explanation true? That he intended to send a direct message -- not a public tweet -- to his favorite little coed? And he screwed up? All his behavior afterward -- deleted his photo account and having the young girl delete all her accounts -- just more evidence?

Well, Weiner does say he's hired a lawyer to investigate what his next step should be -- though some naysayers are viewing this as a sign he needs to mount a defense.

There's no simple Occam's Razor here. On the one hand, does it make any sense that someone would hack his account just to do this? On the other hand, the level of stupidity required to tweet a picture of your crotch to a stranger -- yes, even if you erroneously think you're Direct Messaging it -- is hard to fathom. Nothing, nothing about this story makes sense.

Wow. Isn't it great that there are no issues to talk about these days so everyone can focus on Weiner's twitter account and Palin's bus?!

Welcome to Summer 2011. Shark attacks are just around the corner.

Anyone who has seen their friends or their own facebook accounts hacked should know how often this occurs. Twitter is notoriously insecure from a technical standpoint and I don't even see why this is a worthy question. When there were joke posts about CNN reporters doing crack there were not questions like this.

True -- seems like Facebook hacks are fairly common (I don't follow enough people on Twitter to know if it happens there a lot too). It would be easier to dismiss if this followed a pattern of hacks we've seen before; this one is just weird and unique enough that no one can let it go.

My theory: Weiner and his wife were sending each other "boudoir" photos and one of them got misdirected to the college students. This would explain why Weiner won't deny that it is him in the photo. And some of the photos are on his wife's State Department-issued Blackberry, which is a huge no-no even if your husband is a Congressman. Wiener has managed to embarrass himself, his wife and the Obama administration in the form of Hillary Clinton. This would explain his belligerance to the media and his lawyering up AND why he hasn't asked police to investigate.

Well, if that were true... what a weird photo to send to your wife. Or anyone, for that matter.

I honestly don't know how anybody could believe this is legit.... This is the guys official twitter page for goodness sake! I can see no gain in "tweeting" a picture of his junk.... also, that could be anyones package. Gray boxers? I can't believe this story has any juice

That's why I remain skeptical too. It just doesn't make any sense that anyone would think, however fleetingly, that this would be a good idea. But then, like I said, nothing about this makes sense.

Sorry Sax owners --- the murals are not the reason nobody goes to your restaurant. We don't go there because of the insulting $75 minimum. People usually spend that much anyway, but not when required. Looking forward to see the next restaurant to take that spot.

Well, they've gotten rid of the $75 minimum; now it's just a two-course minimum.

I was really bothered about the whole Weiner thing, and then I saw that MSNBC has Luke Russert covering it and I became all bothered all over again, forgetting what I was initially troubled about, instead crying about the fate of journalism.


Rox, your're the only one who I think I can get a definitive answer from (or Amy, but your strong suit seems to be cousins). Can you stand one more Royal Wedding question? Why is my friend insistent that Kate Middleton cannot be Princess Catherine? She swears she can only be the Duchess of Cambridge since she's not of "royal blood." I brought up Fergie, who was HRH, Princess and Duchess of York. There's a gin and tonic riding on this. Am I wrong? Thank you!

Your friend wins---I think. I'm not an expert, but Catherine has no royal or aristocratic blood and is therefore not qualified to have "Princess" brfore her name. Her current title is Her Royal Highness  Princess William Arthur Philip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus. The interesting question is what she'll be when William becomes Prince of Wales and then king. He can ask his father and then change the rules himself to a certain degree. I guessing she will become Catherine, Princess of Wales; after that, I don't know.   

Do you know what the best middle finger aspect of that story is (and Lisa Baron knows it): Ari Fleischer was not single during the S.C. primaries.

He was in 2000, when the story took place. He married two years later, in 2002. 

Is it the heat or something in the water that has everyone so darn crazy ? I mean seriously a picture of someone in their underwear hardly qualifies as "lewd." Are we going back to Victorian morals or is this just a slow news cycle ?

You can quibble with whether the story is getting too much coverage (fwiw, very little in the print edition of our paper, a lot on the Web); but I think most non-Victorians would look askance at a married elected official tweeting underwear shots of himself to young stranger -- assuming that's what happened, which I do not assume.

I have always found that Prince William to be a handsome young man. Is he seeing anybody, romantically I mean?

I'm confused. William is the one who just got married. You mean Harry?

Is this going to be some sort of field experiment?

Yeah, man, so better change your password today -- I've already looked up the name of your childhood pets, and I'm pretty close to cracking the code.

Who do you suppose pays the tab when Donald Trump and the Ex-Governor of Alaska dine, or do they go dutch?

It was pizza. I bet Trump treated her----and left a tip ("Drop the birth certificate thing. Didn't work out so well for me." 

Does Puppygate count? Michael Steele using a stunt pup for his senate ads.

That always makes me go "awwww."

There are just my gut reactios. When I first heard of the Weiner weiner, I assumed it had to be a hacker. Yet, it does seem a little creepy that he chose to follow a number of attractive women, if the New York Post is correct. And we know the Post never had an agenda...What is your take on the fact that a large percent of who Weiner followed were good looking females?

We are also exploring the evolving notions of Twitter etiquette and what it means to follow someone you don't know. ABC did some investigative reporting into the makeup of Weiner's Twitter follows, fwiw.

Weiner's wife is so gorgeous. She works for Hillary Clinton - right?

Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, is  indeed quite a looker. They got married last summer.

If someone did hack the account, wouldn't a racier picture have been more effectively scandalous? While inappropriate, the photo wasn't exactly x-rated...

Yet another aspect of this story that makes no sense. It doesn't make sense that Weiner did it; it doesn't make sense that a hacker did it.

I knew Ari was a dog! More details, please.

She met him during the Iowa caucuses in the 90's, then hooked up with him a couple times during the Bush campaign. He vanished and wouldn't return her calls. Their last encounter opens the book and is pretty graphic. 

...that a Democrat who may or may not have posted himself in his underwear on the net (which may be immoral but not illegal) gets a heckuva lot more coverage than a Republican who may or may not have bribed people on fidelty matters...and may actually get indicted...

Are we talking about Sen. John Ensign? Sorry, that's been a much bigger story, both in this column and in the Washington Post as a whole.

So when it comes to royalty you have to marry a relative in order for s/he to ascend to the same "rank" as you? That's kinda icky.

Not incest. The are thousands of royals and artistocrats all over Europe----many are related (Victoria had a bunch of kids) but going back three or four generations.

I demand to see Sarah Palin's transcripts from all those colleges she attended!

That might be interesting.

He wasn't married, but I doubt his then-girlfriend would have been pleased that he was doing what he was alleged to have done (not that she should be surprised - campaigns are notorious cesspools for throwaway cheating.)

Exactly. Lisa called him a "casual lover."

Yes, when William is King, he can create her Queen by letters patent. And possibly have her crowned--that's up to him. She could also become the Princess of Wales by the same process, except Charles would have to issues the letters p.

And the tabloids will call her "Princess Catherine" or "Princess Kate" no matter happens.

Actors from The Wire were at the Justice Department and I am not reading about it from you guys? This confuses me.

I'm dismayed the Justice Department didn't tell us about it until after it happened, and even then didn't alert us to the important new development -- which is that Eric Holder plans to throw David Simon into jail unless he creates a new season. Glad to hear it.

Is that the brand he uses to shave his legs, too?


In Canada, it would be called The Weiner Affair (l'Affair Sausicon Chaud in Quebec and parts of New Brunswick).

Thank you for that.

The Weiner story is nowhere near the worst hacker story of the week. I mean, how could those PBS hackers tease us like this? No Biggie, no Tupac. Hacker jerks.

You're right. That was just plain cruel and irresponsible. Do we know for sure it's not true, though? I mean, maybe they are in New Zealand.

Names and Faces: PBS website hacked

Don't these people realize that they will one day have children that are absolutely mortified at their parents for their lack of discretion and common sense coupled with their desperate need for attention?

She already has a young son. Personally, I'd be horrified for my son to read my memoir if it was anywhere close to this. But Lisa is pretty comfortable putting it all out there: Remember, she wrote a column about her sex life, so it obviously doesn't embarass her.  

Why do politicians even bother to have twitter accounts?

Good question. Twitter is a disease, plain and simple. It makes people insane. A decade from now I expect the CDC and FDA will be issuing warnings.

Um, has that poster ever READ Weiner's Twitter feed? This is a guy who made a joke about him and Boehner meeting at Dykman Street. It's not "official" in the sense of being boring and beyond reproach, by any means. BTW, why don't you contact Weiner's wife and ask for her views on this controversy? Ask her directly if she follows her husband's tweets and whether she knows anything about the photo.

Yes, I will do that with my subpoena power. Because I'm sure she'll be willing to take my call on the topic.

As I said, I look forward to going to Sax when something else takes its place -- in about six months.

That spot had seen a lot of turnover -- Posh, Ortanique, the BET place...

This marriage has two years as its lifecycle

Two whole years? They've only been dating six months, so I use the multiple of three: 18 months.

I'm pretty sure that if I texted a picture of THAT to my wife, my stuff would be piled up in the front yard when I got home. It might even be on fire.


Last night on the Daily Show Jon Stewart had a whole segment on how he is friends with Anthony Weiner and how he has seen Anthony's 'junk' and "it's not that big....it can't be that big!" it was hysterical. But, in all honestly, I really hope it isn't him. I like him as a politician and I dont want him to break my heart the way Elliot Spitzer did...smart guy, you think he's too smart to do something that stupid and then you find out he did it anyway....

Eliot Spitzer broke your heart -- really? I thought his downfall was that everyone hated him even before his indiscretion.

Have you seen this photo of Dominique Strauss-Kahn leering at Michelle Obama? it was taken during the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, PA., in September 2009:  Notice (or at least hope) she could take that little old man down with one hand tied behind her back!

Is it fair to call that a leer? I think the funny part is the president's back-off expression.

I love it when you read, so I don't have to! Thanks for sharing the good parts! Surely, though, there are some other VIPs mentioned in the book. Scoop on three people does not a bestseller make.

Not that much. She talks a little about John McCain's feud with Ralph Reed, admits she had a serious crush on David Israelite, and shares her childhood and family.  She REALLY hates Christie Whitman, but only worked for her briefly. The book is  mostly about her life working for Ralph Reed, and her climb up the political press ladder. 

Do you think Donald Trump has hurt his celebrity "career" (now much more lucrative than his business dealings) by his presidential "campaign?" He used to be an essentially apolitical figure -- a cartoonish rich guy who seemed in on the joke -- America's Scrooge McDuck. But through his bizarre trafficking in birtherism (and now his willingness to cater to Sarah Palin), has he become seen as a fringe right-winger? And would the "old Trump" have sat stonefaced as Seth Meyers mocked him at the White House Correspondents Dinner? (I think he would have laughed along).

I don't know. I haven't checked ratings for "Celebrity Apprentice." I'm also not sure that Trump would have ever had a good chuckle about being made fun of.

If Mrs. Curry was America's Next Top Model in 2004, wouldn't she in fact now be America's Top Model? What happened?

Funny thing about all those Next Top Models: They never do graduate to the Current Top Model.

um, no. no no no no no no. no she is not.

She's an exotic beauty. I think she's stunning, but looks are always subjective.

I demand to see her medical history, which she promised but never delivered during the 2008 campaign. I wonder if she's ever been treated for emotional or psychological ailments.

Does she strike you as the type who would seek help from a professional?

Why is she called Kate with a K when Catherine is spelled with a C?

That's pretty common, but I don't know why. (Cate Edwards is a "C".) Do we have a Catherine/Kate chatter who can answer?

It lets you get your message out to people without the evil media getting in the way. Sarah Palin has been doing pretty well with a Facebook and Twitter account. If you know what you're doing, it's a great tool.

You said tool.

Why does anything that Breitbart churns out get any play at all? Doesn't his total lack of credibility call this whole "scandal" into question? Did anyone other than Breitbart see this alleged photo before he started beating this story? Hasn't the alleged victim said she was a victim of a similar posting before by a stalker or ex-bf?

Well, it would be one thing if Weiner said, "no such tweet went out from my account -- that's a total fabrication." But he acknowledged something happened -- a hack, as he put it -- which opens up the story of who would have done that and how and why.... Yes, the young woman who was the target of this photo says she had been previously "harassed" by another Twitter user after Weiner started following her.

Is Donald Trump just a media whore or is he seriously trying to be a politician? Eating pizza with Sarah Palin just screams publicity stunt.

What ISN'T a publicty stunt with Trump?

Thanks for putting that terrible 80s? 90s? Stevie Wonder song in my head: "Ari Fleischer, a part-time loooover ..."

Hey, she said it. That song, by the way, sucks. Which is oddly appropriate.....

I'm stunned by all this. I mean, I would have thought the internet was secure enough where I could send private x-rated e-mails and assumed they would be safe and never seen by anybody but they people they were intended for. Mr. Weiner has my sympathy here. I mean, of course it was impossible for him to know better.

I keep thinking about that story a week or so ago about the Palin aide whose Twitter DMs to a stranger got her in trouble. What she said didn't seem particularly damning to me -- just ordinary shoot-from-the-hip political insider stuff, not particularly flattering but whatever -- but how stupid to be sharing that with someone you only know from Twitter! Who, of course, then turned it over to a reporter.

I guess this means a trip to Barnes & Noble for me.

Ralph Reed was in the next hotel room, which will either make it more interesting for you---or creep you out.

I think it has already been diagnosed. It is called Narcissistic Personality disorder. It is in the DSM

So true.

What i find amusing is that men somehow think that a random photo of a dude in his drawers makes us (women, that is) all hot bothered and ready to jump into the sack pronto. Cue Brett Favre, Chris Lee, etc.

Message to guys: Stop doing this.

I'd like to know how much "work" she's had done!

Or maybe none. She's a very pretty woman in her 40's---nothing screams plastic surgery to me.

I noticed no one was really eating the pizza in the Trump and Palin photo op. I might just be hungry since it is lunchtime, but that NY style pizza looked to good to waste!

You're making me hungry. I love thin crust New York pizza.

I wonder how much "work" Sarah Palin's had done. She certainly seems to be starting daughter Bristol out early (age 20) on that path.

If she's had work done, then it's the very very very good kind of work where it doesn't look like you've had anything done. Many, many more people in the public eye who make me wonder.

I really dug Elliot Spitzer in an awesome truth-to-power way - I thought it was awesome that he could see that petty theft was just that, and the real thieves were on Wall Street, but it was Edwards who really broke my heart.

I'm sorry for you... Were there many hearts broken by Arnold Schwarzenegger? I doubt it. I assume John Ensign really let some folks down, though.

Do reporters have secret Twitter accounts under pseudonyms where they hope to receive juicy tidbits from political operatives?

What's the matter with email, for crying out loud? I'm always a little baffled, or annoyed, when someone sends me a news tip via Twitter.

Speaking of tools... Did you see Ben Stein's odious defense of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in "The American Spectator" (I think)? Among other things, Stein claims that DSK is unlikely to be a rapist because he's an economist (LOL!).

That essay was so ridiculous I can only assume it was written to draw page-views from mockers.

1. The place where I swim is a block from where The Donald and Sarah Palin had pizza. I usually swim on Tuesdays at 6 (the pool is small and takes lane reservations) but a meanie from my office delayed me, and I missed my reservation (I could have gone but the first-come, first-served lane sucks) so I just went straight home instead.

2. In 2001, I worked across the street from the World Trade Center. At the time of the attacks, when I would normally have been getting out of the subway, I was many miles away, being treated for pregnancy-related sciatica. My father always jokes that being lucky is when the person next to you is the one who gets hit by the boulder, and I'm starting to think he's right.

Your father's a fatalist, I take it? You were lucky in 2001, but I can't say that a close encounter with Trump/Palin comes even close to that.

The publication date is July 2011. I guess I'll have to wait and read something else until then. Like Monica Lewinsky's memoirs.

Missed that. More than I wanted to know.

That's not sufficient qualification for Sarah Palin to be elected President.

I never said it was. Just trying to give credit for her actual gifts.

Uh-oh, looks like someone didn't get an "A" in high school French. The Weiner Affair should be "L'Affaire Saucisson Chaud."

Thank you for your help.

I am far more interested in the dance party coming this Saturday. I normally despise code pink, but they may have finally done something noteworthy with the arrests at the TJ memorial. Im interested to see how the cops handle it if even a couple of hundred people show up and dance Saturday. These are the fights that while well intentioned from the government side, usually make the gov look stupid and out of touch. Do they really want to arrest 1,000 people, which will result in a bigger protest?

It's gonna be a long, hot summer -- tensions building in this whole dancing-at-the-Memorial thing.

Bigger dance party planned at Jefferson Memorial

Be careful what you wish for: Shark attacks were the big story just before Sept. 11.

Shark attacks and missing ladies. Same in 2001 as in 2005, right before the London bombings.

From what I understand they are doing face lifts with lasers now and the really good work can fool almost anyone...

Sure -- so how come we see so many people who look like they've had too much work done? (My thought on seeing previews for the new Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts movie: "Well, maybe she's playing a character who's had too much Botox.")

As a guy, I share this wonderment about the appeal of "groin shots". Yet, as a guy, I have to believe that the technique must work occasionally or else it would just stop.

It never works. Not for women, anyway.

The joke, of course, is on us, because with a name like Weiner, it was just a matter of time before something like this happened.

I gotta give him credit----he could have changed his name way back when but stuck with it. I'm sure he's already heard every possible joke...and now this.

Kids, enough twittering about Weiner today. We've got a column to write. Send your tips and sightings to reliablesource@washpost.com. And stay cool! Happy June!




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Reliable Source
Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

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