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Rep. Anthony Weiner, Internet Daredevil

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, June 9 2011

Rep. Anthony Weiner; photo credit: mysticchildz

If you really pay attention to the details of this whole Anthony Weiner situation, one of the things that jumps out is just how amazingly reckless the 46 year-old married member of Congress was in how he mixed it up online.

We're not just talking sassy hashtags here, of course, or his energetic single-day pan-Internet sprint in March from Twitter to Facebook to Daily Kos to Reddit. The New York Times' Ashley Parker and Michael Barbaro recount how the Queens Democrat again and again responded to women who had digitally high-fived him for his work advancing liberal policies or going after his Republican colleagues by initiating conversations that very quickly turned sexual -- and, if the women involved are telling it true, sending along photographs of his privates that weren't solicited. Remember, these aren't White House interns, or even campaign videographers. These are female fans whom Weiner had only "met" via their Facebook profiles or Twitter accounts.

In one interaction detailed by Parker and Barbaro, a 26 year-old Texas woman was contacted by Weiner after she left the single word "Hottttt" on a Facebook page that featured a video of Weiner speaking. Soon, he was sending along digital pictures of him in his altogether. "I was like, Wow, that’s kind of out there, daredevil," said the woman. That's a rather remarkably exposed way of a politician engaging online.

And one that turns out to have been a not very smart one -- given that at least one of the women Weiner plucked from the Internet went and passed along his notes and photos to Andrew Breitbart.