Anthony Weiner stars in 'Bye, Bye, Pervert!': Howard Stern, Bill O'Reilly, Rachel Maddow savage the jackals of the press

Anthony Weiner was driven from office by a combination of his dumb behavior, bluenose political hypocrisy, and — most of all — media ridicule and ridiculously excessive coverage.

The TV media reshaped this narrative into a lurid soap opera complete with hectoring questions (from establishment news outfits) such as, “Where is your wife?” as though TV reporters expected — nay, demanded — that Huma Abedin appear at Weiner’s side as in a scene from The Good Wife, itself a piece of fiction rooted in real-life scandals. On Thursday, during Weiner’s resignation statement, a hooted “Bye, bye, pervert!” became a bigger sound-bite than anything Weiner said. Howard Stern writer Benjy Bronk once again took this strategy to its greatest extreme by yelling out things like, “Will you maintain your hot physique and smooth sexy chest?” As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow put it this night, Bronk’s presence in the press pool offered “grossly appropriate, profane satire of what this controversy has become.” On Fox’s Hannity, guest Ann Coulter said, “Never have I loved Howard Stern more.”

When it comes to pinning blame for Weiner’s downfall, conservatives and liberals agreed on the primary source, although for different reasons. For Bill O’Reilly, “even though the American media tilts left, it will not tolerate being manipulated,” and thus, “the far-left Congressman was toast.” Rachel Maddow’s take was more trenchant. For her, Weiner was “not accused of corruption,” what he did was “not illegal” (it was “gross”), but the forced resignation had “less to do with his behavior than the media’s reaction to his behavior.”

Time-period competitors The O’Reilly Factor (Fox) and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC) both featured Benjy Bronk’s bellowed joke-questions prominently, even subtitling them onscreen to make sure viewers knew Bronk said, “Bye, bye pervert!” At a certain point in the news cycle on Thursday, Bronk himself became a news story, rating coverage in both The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, among other outlets.

Bronk was almost a welcome relief — a blast of crude honesty — in comparison to the politicians who scrambled in front of TV cameras in recent days. Watching the nauseatingly pious calls for resignation by everyone from Democrat Nancy Pelosi to Republican John Boehner, one could not help thinking our TV screens might suddenly flicker and go dark, only to suddenly spring back to the bright light and images of TV spiritual charlatans such as Jim Bakker and Jerry Falwell.

Too bad The Daily Show was a rerun on Thursday night; the hanging judge Jon Stewart has yet to render his final verdict.

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (107 total) Add your comment
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  • DrV

    I love that EW, Fox, and MSNBC have all been sucked into the Benjy Vortex.

    I’d wager he was also the only member of the press who has the herps.

    • etm

      I LOVE Benjy!!! I love when Howard gets stuck in the Benjy vortex. Benjy=non-stop laughter.

      • Senior Sr.

        When he takes his Valtrex, he is radio gold. Not so funny when he has an outbreak, tho.

      • Tom

        Who would send pictures of his or her private parts to minors?

      • MissD

        Who sent pictures of their private parts to minors Tom? Awwwwww, did Tommy have too much kool-aid?

      • UGH

        Way to go Benjy!

      • Leah

        I don’t know Tom, who did? Not Anthony Weiner. He sent a couple of messages back and forth with a teenage girl… weird? Maybe. But the girl and her parents both said there was nothing inappropriate in the messages. If you’re going to listed to the sensationalistic stories the media is putting out there, please learn to be discerning enough to pull out the actual facts.

      • Ajla

        Creolebway on March 9, 2011 i work for a law firm against ppl like you. and when our tinelcs call in saying they have collectors saying if you dont pay. im gonna send your husband back in a body bag.. it makes me wonder how you must feel when you sleep at night. sell your soul for a harley and a boat.nice. your kids must be proud.

    • john_c

      I believe AW did it to himself. His lies is the fuel for the media frenzy. He has noone to blame but himself.

      Ken, why did you talk about this when you were pointing finger to the media?

      • cattyfan

        I agree. Once again Ken Tucker displays his political stupidity. Weiner got the boot because of his LIES…not only to the media, but even behind closed doors he lied to his fellow Democrats. And initially he claimed to be the victim of a crime (hacking.) For THAT he lost his job…and rightfully so.

      • Jesse

        So long, Weiner. Comedians are going to miss making fun of you, but in the end it’s probably a good thing that you pulled out before you finished…

    • Vince from NYC

      Benji is an idiot and Howard is lame. They crashed the press conference and made a scene because they are jealous that O&A were the first to get a hold of some of the more provocative pictures. Instead of trying to stay relevant with stupid public stunts Howard should not take off half year.

      • Mike H

        no question benjy is an idiot but what he did was fantastic and hilarious. Do you think Howard stern pays any attention to what O&A do? I like them but Howard is way out of their league.

      • Vince from NYC

        When they make national headlines he absolutley pays attention..

    • Daley

      Yes, yes, yes… but KEN! What did Glenn Beck do??? I need my daily Ken Tucker Glenn Beck blast! This article just doesn’t feel complete without it. I wonder what Ken’s reaction would have been if it was one of Beck’s lackyes instead of Stern’s…. probably not “a welcome relief — a blast of crude honesty.” Why don’t you mull the scenerio over, Ken, rewrite the article and get back to me. Thanks!

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  • mirogo

    “nation’s great hanging judge” – each word: devastating, accurate, scalpel and bludgeon at the same time. sublime. well done.

  • kcusick

    How did Rep. Anthony Weiner come to his decision to resign from the House. Check out “A Day in the Life of Anthony Weiner” on The Loop, where we pretended to follow him around for a full day.

  • Anne

    Today Bronk actually outdid Weiner for lack of class.
    The Congressman’s poor wife, mother & other faily had to hear that and someday, their child will see this too. What purpose did it serve?
    It would be good to keep in mind that when something like this happens, there are other innocents involved.
    What Bronk did just wasn’t necessary on so public a stage. They got their wish…Weiner was already resigning.

    • Rusty

      I think Weiner’s family was already embarrased to the Nth degree. Having Benjy shouting things couldn’t have made it any worse. If nothing else, it shows how dumb Weiner actually is. Why didn’t he just deny Benjy entrance to the press conference in the first place?

      • Matt

        Well, you’re not a family member of a politician who’s embarrassed himself and his family, so I’m not sure you’re so qualified to say that it “couldn’t” cause more embarrassment. I’m also a little concerned that you think Weiner was standing at the entrance of the room personally admitting each person to hear his resignation.

      • Obvious Man Says

        Better question….why did he have to announce his resignation in a formal press conference? Couldn’t he have just gone away?

      • Rusty

        It’s comment board Matt, get off your high horse. Being a politician puts you and your family in the public eye. You have to realize that your every move has a potential for embarrassment. If you don’t want to deal with it, get an office job.

    • ccc

      This was his own fault. He should have thot about the consequences beforehand!

  • Lyn

    “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” Amid the gasps about the ickiness of it all, I’m surprised more people haven’t focused on that extraordinary day on which Weiner had journalists ushered into his presence — one after another after another after another — and delivered to each a series of on-camera lies and alibis. He was innocent, his twitter account was hacked, evil bloggers were to blame, etc. It really was a tour-de-force of mendacity, even for a politician. People have been shamed out of public office for much less; good riddance.

    • Ana

      What he did wasn’t a crime though. As I’ve said before there are politicians going around spouting all sorts of lies on camera that actually impact our lives and they’re being ignored in favor of this idiot. I wish the media had had the guts to take the high road for once.

      • Cheryl

        Why are so many people hung up on the fact that “he didn’t commit a crime.” Is that really your measure of appropriateness of behavior? He lied to people’s faces, multiple times. Not sure what you do for a living, but I could lose my job for multitude of reasons, none of them needing to be illegal…

      • Sam

        Pres. Clinton did far more and yet, is practically canonized.

      • Jay

        @Cheryl: Its the hypocritical nature of it all. Winer basically did NOTHING WRONG. What he did was not illegal, and the only damge done was to his marriage.
        So, he lied about it…. big deal. It is none of our business anyway.

        Politicians break the law and lie about more important things than this everyday, and yet THAT is overlooked

      • K. Harker

        Totally agree Ana. And for me, this doesn’t compare to the idiots spouting family values and the importance of marriage who then get caught with a homosexual prostitute (only matters that they’re gay because they demonize the gay community). He showed incredibly poor judgment, but the response is so far from proportionate to the crime.

      • cattyfan

        Weiner falsely claimed his account had been hacked. That, I believe, could be seen as a crime…especially since he called out certain bloggers by name.

    • Esmeralda

      I don’t know I think he should go, beascue1) what Clinton did was not as ENTIRELY creepy and weird in quite so public a way. We never had to see pictures of his bony, waxed chest, and junk in underpants. Not sure Weiner’s going to live this one down, I can’t look at him without being skeeved.2) He must not have ever. done. ANY. work. beascue was this not apparently a full-time job for him? How do any of these cats get anything done? So I think he should step down like anyone working at 1-800-MATTRESS would step down once it became clear they were doing everything but their job while at work. But i don’t really care, I’m just so disgusted with this whole class of a-hole politicians at this point.[]

  • chillydogs

    The whole point Lyn – what this article is saying is that if he didn’t lie to the media about it, they wouldn’t have focused on him like a laser. If he had kept quiet or not given so many interviews, they probably would have moved on eventually. Others have done worse and are still in office. Did they lie to the media?

    • Anne

      It’s not just that he lied to the media, he told DUMB lies and seemed irritated that they didn’t accept them. I seriously believe that if he had, at the start, sat down with one reporter and confessed to everything and gone to “rehab” (or whatever it is he’s going to) then he’d still have his job. The press — and Americans — love a narrative, particularly one that ends hopefully. A chagrined politician asking for forgiveness at the START of a scandal will almost always be treated as something uplifting. But DENYING the scandal and trying to use the press to further a poorly-constructed set of lies just pi$$es them off. Once you cross the press, you become their target. It was completely within his control to manage this properly, but he wanted to deny the behavior and will away the controversy.

  • Mike

    The guy who was screaming during the press conference has no business calling himself a journalist. What an idiot.

    • TorontoTom

      Journalists don’t report the news anymore – they try to make news.

      • Rahu

        Bradwick1 on February 15, 2011 When i was a kid pueppts used to be over the top edge of a pueppt stage with some sort of barrier hiding the performer. get a tall barrier at foot of stage you can walk behind with your pueppts. i guess some people would misunderstand that concept and get scared. pueppts attatched to people in full view is ventriloquism which this obviously isnt?get a semi opaque barrier FOR NOW!? great voices all!

    • Reading 101

      He isn’t a journalist, Mike. Read the article.

  • April

    I don’t know how twitter works, but can’t you stop receiving the tweets? I mean after 1 picture wouldn’t most people say stop sending me these.

  • Redeyecat

    For a second it looked like Tucker might make it through an article without telling us what John Stewart thought. Humanity was saved however, when Tucker let us know Stewart hadn’t commented yet.

    And what’s so “pious” about telling a dirtbag to get lost? Used to be it was a good thing to stay away from people acting poorly. Just because Tucker apparently likes hanging out/working with the type doesn’t mean Pelosi and Boehner should.

    • Redeyecat

      Not to mention, the actual most “nauseatingly pious” moment of the whole fiasco was Weiner claiming “he was a victim” of an internet hack but didn’t want to waste the police’s time with it. That jackhole has nobody to blame but himself. Leave it to Tucker to avoid the obvious to defend a liberal dirtbag….

  • Aristigon

    About time he finally relented to resign. If he was a republican his office would be taken over already. I’m not saying there is a double standard, oh wait. that exactly what I’m saying.
    what took it so long?

    • Heckler

      If he was a republican, he’d still be in office, just like Vitter.

    • Peg Bundy

      Don’t start with the political party stuff. That cr^p doesn’t belong here.

      • CandaceTX

        ummm… we’re talking about a politician and a major political scandal that has basically taken over the airwaves for the last two weeks. Where EXACTLY does this cr^p belong?

      • Aliine

        Brilliant take. This valuing being atihenutc above all else seems like a more sophisticated, but no better, progression from the emergence of the let it all hang out and me, me, me that emerged in our culture with the rise of the hippy generation.

    • Kelly

      Just like Vitter!

      …oh wait.

    • K. Harker

      Give me a break. Republicans never attack their own the way the democrats have (I’m liberal, but democrats have zero balls when it comes to standing up to the republicans). Proof: Vitter.

    • Daz

      Really, Aristigon? What about Vitter? Isn’t he still in office? I think you have the double standard backwards.

    • Maiko

      I was a bit irked today to hear Luke Russert coming down hard on Weiner on Andrea Mitchell’s hour and when she bhuogrt up David Vitter and John Ensign, Russert remarked that at least they hadn’t LIED to Luke and a few other reporters in the course of a couple of hours! Give me a break! Widdle Luke got his feelings hurt? There is no equivalency between Weiner’s fantasy cybersex and some Republicans actually cheating on their wives with another hot body, even illegal prostitutes! Not sure Luke will ever match the success of his father.

  • Baba Booey

    On the upside, Larry Flynt offered Weiner a job.

  • Bruce from Missouri

    “About time he finally relented to resign. If he was a republican his office would be taken over already. I’m not saying there is a double standard, oh wait. that exactly what I’m saying.
    what took it so long?”

    Give me a break. Republican Senator David Vittert is still in office even though he used to pay prostitutes to diaper him. The fact that he is still there and Weiner is gone is a travesty.

    • DJ

      So you are comparing someone inappropriate pictures of himself to people, some minors the same as someone hiring a prostitute. Are you a moron. I think the answer to that is obvious.

      • Heckler

        Um, so you’re defending the guy who hired a prostitute during a vote? You’re saying that’s okay?

      • Peg Bundy

        Who sent pics to minors? I think you made that up.

      • Sam J

        @DJ Vitter’s act was ILLEAGAL and contrary to his “family values” campaign. He also had PHYSICAL contact with women outside his marriage. Weiner had “virtual fantasy” and lied about it. Breaking the law and being a hypocrit is worse.

      • K. Harker

        Wait, are you saying sending inappropriate pictures is worse than repeatedly hiring a prostitute to cheat on your wife while constantly spouting about the importance of family values? Are YOU a moron? I think the answer to that is obvious.

      • Daz

        No, DJ, YOU are the moron! Last time I checked prostitution was ILLEGAL, dumbass.

  • Frank

    John Stewart is a close, lifelong personal friend of Weiner.

    • Gilligan

      What’s your point?

    • boocat

      They were roommates in college..

    • econruth

      And yet, that hasn’t kept him from completely raking Weiner over the coals on almost every show since the scandal broke.

  • Liz Brown

    Benjy didn’t yell “Bye bye pervert”. That was someone else. Please correct EW.

  • e4ia

    Jon Stewart wasn’t supposed to be a repeat tonight. A new episode was scheduled. I wonder what happened.

    • Kelly

      TVGuide was wrong. Colbert was always scheduled as a repeat, and The Daily Show staff was alerting people in advance that they were in repeats tonight. Likely has something to do with staff commitments elsewhere (several had gigs tonight/over the Father’s Day weekend).

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