Jake Weinraub

Rep Weiner Caught in Twitter Bulge Pic Scandal

Filed By Jake Weinraub | May 31, 2011 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics
Tags: Andrew Breitbart, Anthony Weiner, Daily Kos, New York, scandal, Twitter, weinergate

Deemed "Weinergate," the controversy surrounding Screen-shot-2011-05-27-at-11.04.09-PM.pngthe bulge shot photo supposedly tweeted to a college girl by NY Representative Anthony Weiner has liberal and conservative blogs alike engaging in a muddled internet mess of accusations.

A brilliant team of internet detectives, tweeters, and designers are working together in an effort to debunk the continuing hoax that claims NY House Rep. Anthony Weiner tweeted a photo of a man with a bulge in his pants to his young female Twitter follower.

Daily Kos contributor stef has put together a timeline of the scandal, which began with twitter user Dan Wolfe's (@patriotusa76) May 11 tweet that a "top 5 RightWing blogger has sexscandal pics of "big time" Congressman @RepWeiner.

Two weeks later Dan Wolfe excitedly linked to a screenshot he claimed was taken from Rep. Weiner's yfrog twitter photo account, making Wolfe the only tweeter who had "seen" Rep. Weiner's photo. Dana Loesch, contributor to Andrew Breitbart's conservative blog BigGovernment.com, (@DLoesch) claims to have grabbed screenshots from Rep. Weiner's original account but has not released them. Many news sources have carelessly claimed that the photo appeared on Rep. Weiner's yfrog, despite the "proof" solely being Wolfe's screenshot.

Rep. Weiner calmly claimed his social media accounts had been hacked, brushing off the situation as a prank and a distraction.

Genette Cordova, the college student in question, wrote a statement to the NY Daily News claiming she was harassed for weeks online after she started following Rep. Weiner on Twitter:

I have seen myself labeled as the "Femme Fatale of Weinergate," "Anthony Weiner's 21-year-old coed mistress" and "the self-proclaimed girlfriend of Anthony Weiner."

All of this is so outlandish that I don't know whether to be pissed off or amused, quite frankly. This is the reality of sharing information online in the 21st century. Things that I never imagined people would care about are now being plastered all over blog sites, including pictures of me from when I was 17 and tweets that have been taken completely out of context. I tweeted once (it was reported that I said it twice) that "I wonder what my boyfriend @RepWeiner is up to."

I am a 21-year-old college student from Seattle. I have never met Congressman Weiner, though I am a fan. I go to school in Bellingham where I spend all of my time; I've never been to New York or to DC. The point I am trying to make is that, contrary to the impression that I apparently gave from my tweet, I am not his girlfriend. Nor am I the wife, girlfriend or mistress of Barack Obama, Ray Allen or Cristiano Ronaldo, despite the fact that I have made similar assertions about them via Twitter.

There have never been any inappropriate exchanges between Anthony Weiner and myself, including the tweet/picture in question, which had apparently been deleted before it reached me. I cannot answer the questions that I do not have the answers to. I am not sure whether or not this letter will alleviate any future harassment. I also do not have a clear understanding as to how or why exactly I am involved in this fiasco. I do know that my life has been seriously impacted by speculation and faulty allegations. My reputation has been called into question by those who lack the character to report the facts.

Meanwhile, Internet user Eileen B rendered the screenshot likely photoshopped through a series of tests:

Notice how the little birdie logo on the right (under the word Upload) shows a square of fuzz around it? That's because it's an image embedded in the screen grab. It's been saved multiple times before rendering itself on that page - then "grabbed" by Breitbart. Same goes for the logos on top, and the picture itself.

5769146061_6b6af03612.jpg

Now, look at the words on the top right -- Popular and Upload. They're generated by HTML when the page is loaded, just like the text "RepWeiner" is. So, they were created at at exactly the same time -- because they're fonts being rendered.

In an unaltered screen grab, they're equals.

However, under analysis, "RepWeiner" is rendering much brighter and with fewer color artifacts. It has clearly been saved more times than "Popular" and "Upload."

BigGovernment.com creator Andrew Breitbart, the same man responsible for the firing of former Agricultural Department employee Shirley Sherrod based on a doctored video portraying her as a racist (which is all kinds of twisted), jumped on the case, spending more time knocking Rep. Weiner for saying he was hacked than questioning the validity of the screenshot.

To echo Cordova, only time will tell the lasting effect this faux-scandal will have on those involved. With media outlets not taking the time to check their facts the way stef and other internet users have done, the drama has disastrous potential. But despite the accusations, Rep. Weiner has kept his cool, no doubt able to add this situation to his repertoire of relaxed humor and self-inflicted penis jokes.

Here is the report from CNN:


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Andrew Breitbart has shown himself on numerous occasions to be unscrupulous. I am sorry that the young woman involved has had to endure such harassment. (I feel for Rep. Weiner too, but he can take care of himself.) I hope she finds a good lawyer and receives the justice that she is due from the besmirching of her name by the right-wing smear campaigners.