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New York Times Deletes, Then Republishes, the Story of the ‘Weiner Women’



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The New York Times has now republished in full Michael Barbaro’s online story about the women involved in the Anthony Weiner affair — a story which was initially published on June 10th, then deleted because it was not yet “ready for publication.”  In a nifty bit of web sleuthing, Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed reconstructed the majority of the original text by repeatedly searching Google News, which retained large portions of the article in its cache.

In the story, the women interviewed offer a decidedly mixed picture of the disgraced former Brooklyn congressman and Democratic firebrand, who is now seeking the mayoralty of New York.  One complains that “Every new headline and news story about him reminds reporters and bloggers that we exist,” while another cheers Weiner’s mayoral campaign as “a perfect comeback story.”

Some passages of the article have been altered considerably from Kaczynski’s early version.  In the original, author Barbaro declares, “This is the life of a Weiner Woman: infused with indignity, two years later”; that sentence does not appear in the new version.  In the original, Barbaro also had harsh words for Weiner’s attempt at a political comeback:

Anthony D. Weiner’s improbable campaign for mayor of New York is a carefully calibrated wager that voters have made peace with his lewd online behavior, a seemingly victimless cybercrime for which his wife and family have forgiven him. But for the women who were on the other end of Mr. Weiner’s sexually explicit conversations, the scandal remains an open sore that has cut short careers, disrupted educations and shattered reputations.

By contrast, the corresponding passage in the current version reads:

Anthony D. Weiner’s improbable campaign for mayor of New York City is a wager that voters have made peace with his lewd online behavior, a subject he has largely left behind as he roils the race with his aggressive debating style and attention-getting policy proposals.  But for the women who were on the other end of Mr. Weiner’s sexually explicit conversations and photographs, his candidacy is an unwanted reminder of a scandal that has upended their lives in ways big and small, cutting short careers, disrupting educations and damaging reputations. 

In response to my questions about the paper’s decision to republish today, Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha stated, “Our editors decide when a story is ready for publication.  Outside coverage does not play a role in that decision.”



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