We are all chatting about Weiner and not Detroit. This is a Democrat ploy of misdirection.
— Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) July 31, 2013
It seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, and then it really, really did. A spokesperson for Anthony Weiner’s soaring mayoral campaign offered some color commentary on a former intern yesterday, responding to the intern’s tell-all piece in the Daily News by calling her a “twat,” a “cunt,” and a “slutbag” in a phone conversation with Talking Points Memo‘s Hunter Walker. But, like, she never meant for you to hear any of that stuff, saying last night that she thought her comments were off the record.
Now the Internet is just covered in slutbag, which was trending nationally on Twitter last night. Good job, America. Proud moment for all of us. But some people–conspiracy theorists and the brain trust over at FOX News, mostly–are convinced that in addition to being wildly stupid, all this talk about Weiner is evidence of something much more sinister.
The latest round of trouble in Weinerville kicked off when former intern Olivia Nuzzi wrote a tell-all for the Daily News . When Walker at TPM called Weiner spokesperson Barbara Morgan to discuss the story, she responded by opening an enormous can of slutbag. Walker writes:
[S]he went off on a curse-filled rant about Nuzzi, describing her as a fame hungry “bitch” who “sucked” at her job. Morgan also called Nuzzi a “slutbag,” “twat,” and “cunt” while threatening to sue her.
“I’m dealing with like stupid fucking interns who make it on to the cover of the Daily News even though they signed NDAs and/or they proceeded to trash me,” Morgan also told TPM. And also: “It’s all bullshit. I mean, it’s such bullshit. She could fucking–fucking twat.”
Why would you say any of this stuff to a reporter? Our first guess was that Barbara Morgan was nursing an open head wound while fielding phone calls. In fact, she told Business Insider last night, “In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off the record conversation. It was wrong and I am very sorry, which is what I said tonight when I called and emailed Olivia to apologize.”
That’s a deeply stupid assumption, especially when a reporter is calling you for an interview. But rather than dwelling on why this happened, let’s turn to the Internet, who knows why this really happened. SlutbagGate–and Weiner’s entire campaign–are merely flimsy screens blocking the true story from view. Besides anti-tax frother and living relic of the ’80s Grover Norquist, who thinks this is all to keep us from talking about Detroit and how it’s the Democrats’ fault, we’ve also got:
The Illuminati picked Huma over #Weiner. It’s clear.
— Geronimo (@JbJabroni10) July 31, 2013
The Illuminati explanation is actually a pretty popular one, even before “slutbag” broke:
The irony in Anthony Weiner’s sex scandal, while being hysterical, is also proof of the illuminati.
— Peyton Frick (@PFrick1) July 26, 2013
With the headline “Weiner’s latest scandal”, I’m convinced #anthonyweiner is on the payroll of the feminist illuminati
— Miles Grun (@TrilloGreen) July 25, 2013
And then there’s this one, which reads like a #TCOT MadLib:
— Jami (@Jami_USA) July 25, 2013
Then there’s the ever-popular “Agenda 21” explanation (you know, the U.N. treaty that’s going to let “them” come in and take over the country, except that it really, really isn’t):
— Vicki (@VickiMDonovan) September 30, 2012
Then there’s this guy, who’s been spamming the Twitter accounts of newspapers and T.V. stations for weeks with this creative theory:
— Roger Fredinburg (@Radioroger) July 25, 2013
All in all, it’s an impressive grab-bag of idiocy, but it’s missing a certain vile flavor. What could it be? Oh yes, Islamophobia:
Why does the Muslim wife of Weiner stand by that man? She is close to Hillary. Is there a hidden agenda.
— Thomas Balderston (@TomBalderston) July 26, 2013
— David Nicholson (@David_Nicholson) July 29, 2013
As ThinkProgress mentioned yesterday, FOX News has been a lead purveyor of the “What We Really Need to Talk About Is Evil Huma” meme, with a panelist on Sean Hannity’s show saying, “What’s amazing to me is that we’re spending time debating Schmeckle-gate, OK? When Huma Abedin, who has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, who was connected to the chief financier of al-Qaeda, is his wife and has top security clearance.”
That’s an important point. And by that, we mean, it’s a good reminder that no matter how fucking idiotic the Internet gets, FOX can be counted on to be just a little bit worse. Great job all around.
Send story tips to the author, Anna Merlan