Now that Rep.Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is exasperating his liberal (excuse me, “progressive”) colleagues by refusing to step down, even in the wake of today’s revelation that Delaware police are investigating his direct online contact with a 17 year old girl, what is the mainstream media to do? One of two things, it appears:
1. Blame his plight on others. So the predictable Chris Matthews of MSNBC (who earlier this week had claimed that he was going to view this story, in his own words, “in an entirely unbiased way”), now says the reason that Weiner may have to resign is that culturally backward evangelical Christians don’t like what he has done. I didn’t make that up, and can give you a link to the videotape if you don’t believe me.
2. Try to turn the nation’s attention elsewhere, i.e. to a collaborative investigation of the e-mails from Sarah Palin’s time as governor of Alaska. I can never before recall a time when the media actually invited American citizens to join them in an “investigation” like this.
Personally, I think Matthews is a total buffoon, so his comments don’t surprise me at all. But the second item is far more interesting. First, let me say that I agree that Palin’s e-mails should be made public. So should Andrew Cuomo’s, Anthony Weiner’s, Gov. Rick Perry’s, and those of President Obama and members of his administration (especially all of those “czars” of his, who were not approved for their powers by the representatives of the American people and who suffer no oversight by the other branches of government.)
The argument, or so they say, is that these e-mails will give us all valuable insight into how she thinks and works with others. She is a prominent figure and while she holds no office now, she might aspire one day even to the presidency itself.
Fine. Let’s do it. And while the media is enlisting a cadre of Americans to help them quickly sort through it all, let’s have a look back at Obama’s e-mails while he was a senator from Illinois, and let’s have a look at his academic record from Harvard and copies of all of the term papers and theses he wrote while there. (In a break with tradition, Obama and Harvard have sealed all of these from public access.) And let’s get it done together before the 2012 elections, OK? Why? Because he’s a very influential American who might someday aspire to even a second term as our president, and it would be a good thing to gain insight into how he thinks and works with others. We didn’t have a chance to do that during the 2008 campaign, but the opportunity exists for the press and public to work together to right that wrong this time around.
Who knew that live blogging the former communications of public officials could be so much fun? I can’t wait to read Obama’s graduate theses or Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s e-mails to oil company executives, etc. and will be glad to assist the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Manchester Guardian in extending their current efforts to enlighten the public to a broad-based review of our public servants from across the political spectrum.