The political scandal that was Weinergate, ended yesterday when former Anthony Weiner resigned yesterday morning. The embattled congressman finally caved to the pressure from fellow party members (including the Commander-in-Chief) and stepped down from office. While this part of the saga is over, other parts (including his pregnant wife Huma Abedin) have yet to unfold.
Watching CNN cover the Weiner scandal has been particularly interesting as the network’s political hosts debated what would come next for the hothead, tweeting Brooklyn politician. The elephant in the room, of course, was CNN’s recent addition to its line up and his similar wayward past.
Yesterday, TIME TV critic James Poniewozak wrote of the cable news networks coverage of Weinergate and their speculation of where Weiner could end up next.
As a TV critic, it was most interesting to me to watch CNN cover the event live, with Wolf Blitzer and John King asking whether Weiner could mount a political comeback, without raising the (maybe more likely) possibility that’s already being floated: that Weiner could end up a pundit on cable TV, perhaps on their own network, CNN.
Why the speculation? (And it is, right now, nothing more than that.) Well, a couple years after he left office in disgrace from a prostitution scandal, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is now Blitzer and King’s co-worker. Whatever the penalties for personal embarrassments in politics, the statute of limitations is shorter in media. More important, the numbers in media just work differently than in politics. To win a seat in Congress or the mayor’s office, you need a plurality of votes. To be a success as a cable-news commentator, it’s fine if a lot of people hate you, as long as a significant, loyal fraction love you enough to watch. And whatever Americans in general think of Weiner, there may be a significant following of progressives who still like his voice and his politics and believe he got a raw deal. That’s a built-in audience!
While admittedly, my political leanings made me more receptive to Anthony Weiner’s performances on the House floor, I am aware that not everyone feels the same. In fact, after his exit many commentators behind the scenes said it was those same grandstanding antics that kept House and Senate Dems from coming to his defense. But for folks like me, Weiner’s rants (i.e. his infamous 9/11 compensation bill rant seen below) were the fire the Dems needed.
Still on TV, Weiner would not be trying to stay in line with the party for the sake of being embraced up the ranks. Being in television, the congressman could fully unleash his hell raising personality and possibly rope in some ratings in the process.
What do you think of a hypothetical Anthony Weiner Show? Would you watch the former Congressman or have you seen enough?
Share your thoughts Clutchettes and gents- weigh in and tell us what you think!