Weiner only a distraction

Weiner only a distraction

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner has been called a lot of things in the past few weeks. And most of them are not very nice.
Weiner (D-N.Y.) first came to the attention of the entire country in late May, when a picture of the representative in his underwear was posted to social networking site Twitter. In the weeks that have followed, Weiner has slowly and painfully unraveled for the public to see and criticize. First came the uneasy denial — he was unable to say “with certitude” that the photo was of him — and, by June 6, the press conference during which Weiner admitted that “the picture was of me, and I sent it,” along with the admission that the original photo was one of many sexually inappropriate Facebook and Twitter messages sent to several different women.
And since June 6, a disturbing and increasing flow of Weiner’s contacts have come out, revealing an intricate web of lies, cover-ups and behavior that is inarguably inappropriate for a man who is both a congressman and married.
The scandal has been among the most talked about news stories of the past few weeks, understandably. We all want to know what sordid behavior was going on in Weiner’s life. We’re curious, nosey creatures, rapt with any celebrity sex scandals, let alone the lives of our friends and families.
So what’s the damage in all the coverage, all the watercooler chatter, all the gesticulating?
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) put it best when she said, “This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Rep. Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House.”
She might as well have added “and the entire country.”
This is not an editorial about whether Weiner should resign, although the opinion of representatives seems to be, staunchly, that he should. Rather, this editorial is to call attention to our attention being severely misplaced.
We’re naturally interested in sex scandals for obvious reasons — they’re exciting and inspire heated gossip. Did he or didn’t he? Just how far did it all go? We’re all guilty of paying more attention to some throwaway scandal than what’s really going on in the world once in awhile. But with the Schwarzenegger love child story immediately preceding the Weiner Twittergate, this seemingly endless stream of distractions could become truly damaging. Let’s keep the watercooler talk at the watercooler, and the news in the headlines.