The Best of Weiner Fest

Sorry about that headline—but hey, if you can’t beat ‘em…

So far, we at CJR haven’t paid much attention to this dastardly “Weinergate” business. But the congressman’s blitz of interviews yesterday was fantastically awkward television, if lacking much in the way of substance and news value. Weiner sat down with Fox News’s Bret Baier, CBS’s Nancy Cordes, ABC’s Jonathan Karl, NBC’s Luke Russert, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Each powered professionally through their interviews, but it was hard not to see on their faces and hear in their voices a certain pang—something that read: it was never supposed to be like this.

As we said, it was wonderfully squirmy stuff. Especially good was the moment where Baier struggled for just the right TV-ready words for the issue in hand. “Is there a picture out there of you in your…” he began, gesticulating and pausing to find just the right thing to say. He settled upon the antiquated “drawers.”

But the best of the bunch was definitely the Blitzer interview. There’s just something about Wolf in a story like this.

First this:

BLITZER: This is the picture - I’m sure you’ve seen it by now. Is this you?

Then this:

BLITZER: Well, we just want to resolve it once and for all. You would know if this is your underpants, for example.

And because he’s a digger:

BLITZER: Have you ever taken a picture of yourself like this?

While the TV newsmen and women have been dancing around exactly how to describe the picture—repeat after me, “an erect penis in a pair of briefs,” not so hard—the print, the web, and the chyron writers are having a ball. (Sorry.) Weiner has said consistently in interviews this week that with a name like his he’s used to a drumming. And to go by the way headline-writers are treating him, he’s not wrong. It looks like we’re going to see a lot of “swelling controversies” and “suspicious packages” as Weiner sticks this one out.


Anyway, we thought we’d gather together some of the best.

Here are Weiner’s hometown papers, the Post and the Daily News:

Here’s a nice play from Death + Taxes:

HuffPo had fun with a Rush Limbaugh tweet:

Even Howard Kurtz is getting in on the action:

The jokes about the, errr… drawers, can creep in even when you might not have meant them to. Take this sentence in Josh Kraushaar’s piece at the National Journal today about the chance a Republican could pick up Weiner’s seat. It’s all very scholarly until…

Weiner himself faced his toughest re-election in his career last year, winning 59 percent of the vote against an underfunded Republican opponent. For Weiner, that was a limp performance…

Our emphasis.

But our award for best headline goes to a Gawker recap of a Fox News segment. Not for any clever pun or twist. But for its sheer deadpan can’t-argue-with-that-ness.

No doubt.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor. Tags: , , , ,