New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter mishap has already become the crotch shot heard-round-the-world, thanks largely to obsessive media coverage of the episode. And now, the media itself has taken a prominent role in the latest twist of the Weiner saga.
Gennette Cordova, the Seattle-area college student who was the unwitting recipient of the lewd Twitter photo, blasted the New York Post over the weekend for its "exclusive" cover story last Friday reporting that she "agreed to pose for pictures" in order "to offset what she said are unflattering snapshots of her" now splashed across the web. Judging by the story, this run-in also seemed to mark the first time Cordova agreed to discuss the scandal in the media.
Or was it?
In a series of June 3 messages on Twitter--the only forum where Cordova has spoken publicly about the controversy--Cordova blasted New York Post reporter Reuven Fenton. She claimed that Fenton never identified himself during last week's photo shoot in Bellingham, Wash., where she goes to school, and that she never agreed to speak on the record.
"I was 'Trojan horsed' by an NY Post reporter who never said who he was or that he was interviewing me," she tweeted. "And after that invasion of privacy where they got me to speak casually, there's still no story here! Let it go."
In subsequent tweets, Cordova went on to explain that she had "allowed a local student who does freelance for the post to take pictures. I was off my guard because he was a student. ... the one 'interviewing' me said he was the photographers [sic] 'assistant.'
"That's pretty misleading saying that story was an "exclusive interview", don't you think @Newyorkpost?" she then proclaimed before offering the paper a link to the Society of Professional Journalists' ethics code. "If I've refused to do interviews with credible shows like Good Morning America, why would I give an interview to @NewYorkPost?"
Cordova also called out Politico for its sensational repackaging of the Post story.
The Post, for its part, is in Fenton's corner: "We stand by our reporting," a spokeswoman told The Washington Post. Fenton is a 2008 graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and has been working at the Post since January of 2007, according to his LinkedIn profile.
"Weinergate," as the scandal has come to be known, began two weekends ago when Weiner's official Twitter account forwarded a photo of a man's crotch to Cordova. Weiner denies having sent the image, claiming that his account was hacked--and both he and Cordova deny having any connection apart from following one another on the micro-blogging site.
But as much as Cordova and Weiner probably wish the whole episode would just go away, there's no indication that will happen anytime soon: In the latest development, Andrew Breitbart, the founder of the conservative web site Big Government, claims to be in possession of new explicit photos and chats involving a second woman and the Democratic congressman from New York.
"The detailed new information suggests that the Brooklyn- and Queens-based representative and the young woman in question were involved in an online, consensual relationship involving the mutual exchange of intimate photographs," Breitbart wrote Monday. "BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com were approached regarding this information more than a week prior to the separate, independent event of Friday, May 27, 2011, when a link to the now-infamous 'gray underwear' photograph appeared publicly on Rep. Weiner's Twitter feed."
Breitbart said he would be updating his site with further details throughout the day.