Up next: Should a woman whose marriage has been ruined by her husband have her career ruined too?
How CNN reported the fallout of Anthony Weiner’s sexting
Yesterday was a pretty shit day for Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide and the vice chairwoman of her campaign.
Late Sunday night news broke that Abedin’s husband Anthony Weiner, former congressman and the finest example of nominative determinism since the guy called Rod who has been hit by lightning twice, had been caught sexting again.
The story about Weiner texting pictures of his crotch and his toddler son to a “busty brunette out West” was top of yesterday’s network news. By lunchtime Abedin had decided enough was enough, and announced their nearly-six year marriage marriage was over. She was reportedly “sickened” by the involvement of her son in the sexts.
A shit day by anyone’s standards. So let’s hope Abedin didn’t sign off by tuning into Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” evening news show on CNN. Because given how annoying I found its stupid, reductive coverage of her story, I can only imagine how pissed she would have been.
After outlining the details of Abedin’s heartbreak, CNN’s Brian Todd wondered: “Is she now a liability for Hillary Clinton?”
'Is she now a liability for Hillary Clinton?' – CNN just now. Come the fuck on pic.twitter.com/qQCqjitxbp
— joshi herrmann (@joshi) August 29, 2016
Then Blitzer got involved.
“Up next,” he said before an ad break, “Is Huma Abedin a political liability for Hillary Clinton?”
Donald Trump had spent his day inviting the news media to make an absolutely ludicrous connection between Weiner’s horniness and Hillary Clinton’s national security judgement. Blitzer accepted the invitation with as much glee as a guy with a facial expression as permanently chagrined as his can muster.
“Does Donald Trump make a sound point,” he asked CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, obtusely? “No,” she replied.
The farce was finally over.
What happened to Abedin on that show – and in much of the sub-CNN coverage too – is something a lot of women are fairly familiar with: being blamed for stuff that they didn’t want to happen and had no way to prevent.
On the one hand, something bad has happened to her over which she had no control (her brainless husband sliding into some woman’s DMs and asking her what she’s wearing). On the other hand, she is getting the blame for it all the same.
It’s like a cruel parody of having your cake and eating it. Women who have been shamed after a violent sexual assault know the drill.
That’s not normally how the apportion of blame works. Normally people are expected to take responsibility for things in rough proportion to how much they contributed to the things happening, or at least how much they intended the things to happen.
In this case, Abedin’s marriage has been ruined by her husband, and leading pundits and correspondents are wondering out loud: should her brilliant career be ruined too?