A tweet about Anthony Weiner illustrates the worst kind of journalism—false equivalence wrapped in a false narrative.
For political reporters at the New York Times, it seems every horrible new revelation about the Republican presidential nominee—say, he hired a guy who boasts about providing the internet platform for white supremacists and who was charged with domestic violence—requires some tortured comparison suggesting the Democratic nominee is just as bad.
On Monday, Maggie Haberman, one of the paper’s lead political correspondents, joined their ranks with a particularly noxious tweet, drawing a false equivalence, wrapped in a false narrative:
The problem for Clinton team – after Democrats repeatedly pointed to Bannon personal past, going to be hard to argue Weiner is off limits
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 29, 2016
Stephen K. Bannon, the Breitbart News chief executive Donald Trump hired to lead his campaign, not only boasted to journalist Sarah Posner that, under his leadership, Breitbart provided the platform for the racist “alt right” movement; he was also revealed to have a credible charge of domestic violence against him, Politico reported. The charge was dropped only when authorities were unable to locate the woman who had made the charge. (Police called to the scene of the incident had a corroborating eyewitness report of evidence that the complaint made by Bannon’s then-wife was credible.)
Meanwhile, Anthony Weiner, the former congressman caught—yet again—tweeting photos of his Jockey-clad, bulging crotch to a woman who is not his wife, was never hired by Hillary Clinton to do anything. Plus, no one in the Clinton campaign has ever argued that Weiner is “off-limits.”
Weiner is married to longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin. What happened was that Abedin issued a statement saying that, in the wake of revelations of the latest Weiner sexting scandal by the New York Post, she and Weiner are separating, and asked that the couple’s privacy be respected. That’s it.