Can one even imagine how much different -- and better -- our political culture would be if our establishment media devoted even a fraction of the critical scrutiny and adversarial energy it devoted to the Weiner matter to things that actually matter? But that won't happen, because the people who comprise that press corps, with rare exception, are both incapable of focusing on things that matter and uninterested in doing so. Talking about shirtless pictures and expressing outrage about private sexual behavior -- like some angry, chattering soap opera fan furious that one of their best-known characters cheated -- is about the limit of their abilities and their function. And doing so is so easy, so fun, so self-justifying, and so exciting in that evasively tingly sort of way.

Glenn Greenwald (Slate)

Posted on 6/9/2011

E.J. Dionne piles on:

Big numbers are thrown around — Sen. Jon Kyl said Tuesday that Republican agreement to raising the debt ceiling would require $2.5 trillion in spending cuts — with little inquiry as to how such reductions would affect actual people, future economic growth or our capacity to invest in ourselves. Ah, but trying to answer such questions would distract us from the Weiner story.

Okay, most of us will always pay attention to sex stories, and apocalyptic fears are usually a form of paranoia. But we're a superpower with big economic problems. We're acting like a country that has all the time in the world to dance around our troubles by indulging in ideological fantasies and focusing on the behavioral fantasies of wayward politicians — who, by the way, keep creating opportunities for distraction.

I'm already so tired and irritated with this story. He shouldn't have lied, but outside that, nothing he has done is illegal, it's just morally kind of icky and just like the stuff that goes on behind closed doors in millions of homes across America. Let's talk about anything else.

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