Anthony Weiner, Tosser

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 9 2013 12:25 PM

Anthony Weiner, Tosser

ITV, as anglophiles and former expats like myself probably know, is sort of the hard-partying stepchild of British television. Founded in the 1950s to provide official competition to the BBC, it hasn't built up the sprawling news division or dramatic series catalogue of the mothership; it hasn't launched as many outsider comedy series as Channel 4. It's good on soap operas, game shows, and lifestyle stories. Lucy Watson, as probably very few Americans knew until yesterday, is ITV's New York correspondent, a job that involves more celebrity coverage and "how are the Yanks reacting" stuff than politics.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Anyway: I doubt Anthony Weiner knew any of that context when he subjected himself to an interview with Watson and spent most of it mocking her.

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Here's how Weiner interacted when Watson asked, in a pretty fair way, how he was campaigning amid scandal. (This is the only reason foreign media would be interested in a politician who's set to lose an election in four weeks.)

Watson: How do you carry on, when what’s gone on in your personal life?
Weiner: I guess you must be under the impression this is supposed to be easy. It’s not. I’m fighting for a tough job, that requires a lot of toughness when you’re on the job. So, this is the way I’d want it to be.
Watson: Is it ambition, is it hunger for the big job, the power?
Weiner: It’s hard to take you seriously. No, it has to do with wanting to be mayor of the city of New York. And wanting to help the middle class and those struggling to make it.
Watson: What is is that you want to do…
Weiner: [Affecting British accent] Or the hunga for the big job. Or the hunga for the big job. Uh, why don’t you go to my website, anthonyweiner.com. I want to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it.
Watson: Would anything stop you?
Weiner: I just have a feeling I’ve, like, stepped into a Monty Python bit. I don’t know, would anything stop me? Now is a rock going to fall on my head? No, nothing’s going to stop me. I’m going to win this election.

The clip that made it on the air is mostly about Weiner being pompous -- surprise, surprise.

I see no great or transferrable lesson about politics and media here. Does Weiner still think he's a relevant public figure? Is he hurt that he's been reduced to a character in a freak show that generates mild international interest? Totally understandable, though I'm not sure what he gains by acting out when it's revealed to him. If he wants to be funny he should study the mayor of London.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.