How creepy? Creepy enough that ABC posted this footage (which was recorded a few days ago, of course) just within the past hour and then sent around the link via e-mail. I didn’t go hunting through their archives for it, in other words; they’re pushing it on people tonight themselves because, understandably, they (a) want to atone for having aired this guy’s lies as news last week and (b) presumably want the world to see what an almost pathologically fluid liar he was when cornered. The last 80 seconds of it will have you squirming in your seat — not only the way he claims to be the innocent target of a hoax but his insistence on lecturing the interviewer for assuming the worst, taking care to maintain accusatory eye contact the whole way. It’s genuinely disturbing.
If, like me, you felt bad for him when he choked up at his presser today, spend four minutes watching this. It’ll straighten you right out. And if you still feel bad after that, read the Corner’s round-up of last week’s conspiracy theories in Weiner’s defense. In a sane world, the people mentioned in that post would be the angriest at AW tonight for making them look like royal chumps. Instead, rest assured, most or all of them will end up doubling down by casting Weiner as the victim instead. Not ABC, though. Good for them for holding him accountable.
Update: At Slate, Jack Shafer says the endless apologies after the endless lies only make the whole thing creepier:
He called his behavior, including his many lies about claiming he’d been hacked, “a terrible mistake.” He said he was sorry so many times that his utterances reached the point of semantic satiation—completely bled of meaning and heard only as strange repetitive sounds…
Weiner owes me no apology for his serial lies because I understand that that’s what politicians do when they’re cornered by their fibs or unseemly behavior. I’m not even sore with him for scapegoating the press over a problem of his own making. That, too, goes with the territory. Nor am I outraged that he went onto national television to attempt to cover up his lies, telling Rachel Maddow that he wasn’t “trying to be evasive” and he just didn’t “know” whether the Tweeted drawers photo was of him. For me, when the mass of lies equals the mass of apologies, the whole package congeals into some new sociopathic form for which there is yet no name. (Weinerite, perhaps?) That he was caught lying about his personal life, and not about public policy, doesn’t really matter to me. By demonstrating that he’s as good a liar as he is an apologizer, Weiner tells us everything we need to know about him.