The PJ Tatler

Since when does not having an opinion stop a blogger from blogging?

I only ask that question in reference to this post over at Hot Air, where Ed writes that both he and Allah have stayed away from Weinergate because neither had any opinion about it. Huh? I don’t get that line of thinking. To be perfectly clear, I didn’t have a strong opinion on the story when I wrote our first Tatler post about Weinergate. It all seemed too coincidental, but it was reasonable to make allowances for the possibility that he’d been hacked. It does happen; I’ve been hacked once myself, but all the hacker did was send out spam emails to some of my contacts. They certainly didn’t try anything as elaborate as what Weiner initially alleged. And actually, I started writing the big timeline post as a way to get my own arms around the facts so I could figure out what seemed most likely to be true, and then to have one place to go to and return to, to get at the undisputed facts, as apart from the conspiracy theories and so forth. I wanted to get the timeline straight in my own mind, and help others do the same. I always thought that that was one of the things blogging is for: Investigate, test theories, get commenters and readers involved to bring their own views and expertise to bear. We’re not gatekeepers; bloggers are facilitators.

And by the way, if Weiner really was hacked (which, contra Ed’s post, Weiner is no longer claiming) this was a very sophisticated hack. I don’t mean in the way they hacked him, but what they did once they had hacked him. They didn’t just send out spam, as most hackers do. They apparently didn’t even hack his email, which would be the most useful thing for a spammer to hack. They hacked his Facebook and maybe twitter, according to Weiner’s second version of events, and sent out one message to one specific person in Weiner’s twitter follow list, and that one specific message was designed to look like it came from him as a private message to her. And they did this late on a Friday night on a holiday weekend, when few were likely to even see it. But with 45,000 followers it was reasonable to think that someone might see it, just not a whole lot of people. If this was a hack (which Weiner said on Friday, but isn’t saying now), it’s either one of the most devious political dirty tricks ever devised — in a non-election year, no less, and against a rep. in a safe seat — or it’s the work of some very sophisticated folks, possibly foreign and hostile intel, waging some type of cyber warfare against a sitting federal official. That kind of action, by the way, the Pentagon may now consider as an act of war against the US, with all the military implications that go along with that.

So in calling this a hack, which Weiner did as his very first public response on Friday night (but has backed off from since), Weiner inadvertently made this story a much bigger deal than the pic would imply. This was a legitimate story to pursue, from the start.

Update: Note to Nathan Goulding at NRO: Do your homework. The recipient of the photo was not a “random recipient in the internet.” She was one of only 91 people Weiner had taken the action of following. They already had a connection, based solely on that fact, a connection the enabled direct messaging. Not random. At all. And he had done a shout out to her time zone, on the opposite coast from him and his district, on Friday — and we know she saw that, because she retweeted it. Again, not random.

And where do you get the idea that politicians don’t do dumb things?