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Conspiracy Theories Revisited

On June 1st, about a week before Anthony Weiner came clean that the now-infamous picture posted on twitter was of him, he told Rachel Maddow, “I’m kind of concerned how wide and far this conspiracy theory has run.” He was referring to the members of the press who were hounding him. But as we now know, the actual conspiracy theories were those expounded by him and his supporters. Here are the top five:

Seamless Hacker: This was Weiner’s initial claim, as soon after the Twitter message that originated the whole scandal went up, he posted, “Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next? #TheToasterIsVeryLoyal.” Even before some of the women with whom Weiner had online flirtations began to come forward today, Weiner’s story was already being undermined by some online forensics showing that the offending tweet was sent from Tweetdeck, just like all of his other tweets that night, as well as by Yfrog’s confirmation that it had not been compromised.

Justice Thomas’s Gang: The Daily Kos’s own, unironic words were, “Congressman Anthony Weiner was stalked, set up, smeared, and this was coordinated to protect Clarence Thomas from scrutiny . . . And now this gang, this conservative media mafia, has done a hit on a U.S. Congressman . . . carefully timed to protect corrupt Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas from scrutiny.” The belief was motivated by the Kos community’s identification with Weiner’s loud and repeated calls for Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from more Supreme Court cases due to his wife’s activism.

A conservative “somebody”: Joy Behar’s first reflex on The View was to blame Weiner’s political adversaries. “Well, somebody is out to get him, apparently, ’cause they don’t like his politics,” she said. Her claim found no resistance from the rest of the crew, who began an inquiry into male psychology.

Right-Wing Propaganda: The Twitter feed of Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert is a feast for gloating conservatives today. By May 31st, Boehlert was convinced that Weinergate was a scandal invented by conservative media “Ok @DLoesch,” he tweeted to Dana Loesch, who helped break the story, “when youre done tweeting…feel free 2 address the fool U made of yourself w/ Weiner ‘story.’” On June 4th he alluded to “More dopey RW backpedaling on Weiner,” and continuously re-tweeted claims that the story was fake.

Dan Wolfe: This tweeter, who posts under the name PatriotUSA76, became a source of intense speculation in the past week. He was long known to have a fixation on the New York congressman, but soon blogger Joseph Cannon began to consider him a possible source of the whole controversy, and others followed. As Adam Clark Estes of The Atlantic writes: “In Cannon’s scenario Wolfe would have discovered the email address to upload and tweet a photo from Weiner’s Yfrog account, grab the screenshot on Yfrog, retweet the tweet from Weiner’s account and possibly tip off Publius at Big Government all within a few minutes.”

Dana Loesch–Dan Wolfe Alley-Oop, Assisted by Andrew Breitbart: The Daily Kos’s alternate narrative was that “1) Rep. Weiner’s Facebook was hacked, giving the hackers access to post on his Twitter if the accounts were linked. 2) A link, supposedly to the underwear photo was then tweeted out by the hackers, tagging the college girl but visible to all of Twitterville. 3) Meanwhile, the hackers have taken a screencap of another Yfrog account with the photo posted to it, and then photo-shopped Rep. Weiner’s name in at the top of the page. 4) They send this photo-shopped screencap to Dana Loesch as “proof” that Rep. Weiner indeed posted the photo.” This belief in such impressive coordination shows a very high regard for the right-wing conspiracy’s abilities on the part of the Daily Kos.


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