More than 5,000 words into the New York Times Magazine report on everything ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and his wife, Huma Abedin, want you to know about Weiner's "sexting" scandal that led him to resign from Congress in 2011, reporter Jonathan Van Meter pauses the story.
Van Meter, a contributing editor at Vogue and New York Magazine, had worked diligently on this New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story -- multiple interviews with Weiner and Abedin, both as a couple and separately. On some level, the prurient banality of what he was writing about must have gotten to him.
As he described listening to Weiner discuss the "original behavior" that culminated in the elected official, husband and father-to-be sending a photo of his own torso "wearing gray boxer briefs and an obvious erection" to 45,000 Twitter followers (rather than privately to a 21-year-old college student in Seattle), Van Meter writes: "I startled myself that day when, after two hours of listening while he unburdened himself, I heard these words come out of my mouth: 'Maybe we should stop there for now.' Never has an interview felt so much like a therapy session."
And there were still 3,000 words and a crying outburst (Weiner's) to go. This last event took place over the "enormous root-beer float" Weiner ordered after dinner, as opposed to his more restrained tearing-up over breakfast.
Abedin broke down, too, or so she 'fessed up to Van Meter, two days after the scandal went public. As a top adviser to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Abedin was en route to Africa when a supportive phone call came in from the White House.
"With tears streaming down her face, she turned to (Clinton staffers) and began talking about some issue that was on the Africa agenda. 'They just totally went with it and got down to work. There was no attention paid to my tears. And I was like, "Thank you for just responding like that."'"
Like Van Meter, maybe we should stop there for now, too. Never has reading the newspaper felt so much like a therapy session. But how little these confessional torrents seem to have to do with genuine healing.
Under a headline describing the power couple's "post-scandal playbook," this extended peep behind the scenes and into the mental boxers with Weiner & Wife seems to be all about voter-vaccination.
Weiner, as he told Van Meter at that first, slightly moist breakfast interview, is now running for mayor of New York City. His political action committee has already spent $100,000 on polling and research that revealed New Yorkers might give him a second chance at public office depending on what they thought of his behavior, or lessons learned, after his disgrace.
"By agreeing to be interviewed," Van Meter writes, "Weiner and Abedin would seem to be trying to give voters what they want -- and gauge public reaction."
The cynicism is breathtaking, but to be expected from a pair of proteges of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who long ago proved they would exchange their souls to keep the motorcade running. But maybe the cynicism (or incompetence) of The New York Times trumps all.
In 8,000 words, the paper "of record" could find no room to mention Abedin's far more significant scandal in her own right. I refer to Abedin's extensively documented familial and professional ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
These ties start with Abedin's parents, who were recruited by Abdullah Omar Naseef, a leading Muslim Brotherhood figure and later financier of the al-Qaida terror network, to run a Saudi-supported think tank in Jeddah. The think tank produces a publication called the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.
Having studied the inter-relationships among the Abedin family, the Saudi government and the Brotherhood in depth, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy explains the academic concept of "Muslim minority affairs" -- which, in effect, constitute the Saudi-funded, Brotherhood-supervised Abedin family business -- as "shorthand for a long-term, high-priority policy to spread Islam until, finally, it comes to dominate the non-Islamic nations of the world."
To be sure, this is a giant red flag over the background of someone whom Van Meter describes as the secretary of state's "senior adviser."
Meanwhile, he writes, "Clinton is a mother figure to Huma." Bill officiated at the Abedin-Weiner wedding. How can anyone with insight into Abedin's jihad-network connections -- which includes her own long association with jihad financier Naseef -- not wonder whether Muslim Brotherhood influence subverted the secretary of state's policy-making during the "Arab Spring"? A less superficial investigation of the Abedin-Clinton relationship might help explain why the U.S. calamitously supports Muslim Brotherhood efforts to come to power across the Middle East.
As Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., discovered last summer, however, asking a responsible question about this apparent national security scandal is taboo. We finally accept that Alger Hiss was a Soviet agent executing Communist strategy through the secretary of state's office in the 1940s, but we ignore evidence of global Islamic influence inside the U.S. government today. We find ourselves benumbed by sex-scandal details -- the ultimate diversion from truly grave issues of fitness for office.
The fact is, if Abedin's Muslim Brotherhood connections compromised the secretary of state, they would compromise her husband's mayoral run in New York City -- and, come to think of it, her "mother figure's" run for the White House.
Diana West is the author of "The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization," and blogs at dianawest.net. She can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.