How Weinergate became a media circus

So what is really all about? The following report includes some fascinating information about --info you can use, not just the old stuff they used to tell you.

The best time to learn about is before you're in the thick of things. Wise readers will keep reading to earn some valuable experience while it's still free.

Anthony Weiner's press conference Thursday afternoon to announce his resignation from the U.S. House of Representatives in the wake of a sexting scandal gave new meaning to the phrase "media circus."

Though brief, the announcement was an apt sequel to the similarly surreal presser Weiner gave in Manhattan on June 6. During that mid-day event, the New York congressman fought back tears for more than 40 minutes while confessing that he had carried on inappropriate electronic correspondence with six women--and then lied about his behavior in an effort to cover it up.

For today's press event, dozens of reporters filled a Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn senior center to cover the concluding mea culpa. And Twitter--the social-media platform that helped bring about Weiner's downfall--exploded with commentary from those watching online.

"Peyser! Peyser!" someone shouted as Weiner approached the podium, referring to Andrea Peyser, the acerbic New York Post columnist who had grilled Weiner at the previous event.

"Today, I am making my official resignation from Congress," Weiner said, bathed in the light of flashbulbs.

Weiner was berated by at least one heckler as he apologized to his constituents, family and wife, Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin.

"Are you more than 7 inches?" Benjy Bronk, a writer for "The Howard Stern Show," shouted at Weiner.

The assembled journalists didn't appear particularly amused. "Get him outta here," one yelled. "He's not with us." (According to CNN, a policeman later escorted Bronk out of the room.)

Andrew Breitbart--who hijacked Weiner's initial press conference 10 days ago--was not in attendance, but joked on Twitter: "In Coney Island at the Cyclone eating a Nathan's hot dog! Anything else to do around here this afternoon?"

All three of the major cable news networks carried the four-minute address live, with Martha MacCallum anchoring for Fox News, Tamron Hall for MSNBC and John King, Gloria Borger and Wolf Blitzer handling the special coverage for CNN.

ABC News aired a special report with anchor George Stephanopoulos, senior political correspondent Jon Karl and Chris Cuomo of "20/20." NBC News provided its local stations with an optional special report anchored by Brian Williams. CBS News also made the live feed available to its affiliates. Before the press conference on Thursday, had a live video stream showing the outside of Weiner's apartment building in Forest Hills.

"It's a dramatic moment," Blitzer said. "Almost tragic."

Weiner had widely been considered a front-runner to succeed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2013--that is, until a "gate" was attached to his surname.

Dana Bash, CNN's senior congressional correspondent, said the Weiner scandal unfolded slowly, in the fashion of many unflattering revelations about the nation's political class: "drip, drip, drip."

Thanks in large part to this incremental pacing, Weinergate became a major story in the U.S. news cycle during the past several weeks. Coverage of the saga occupied 17 percent of the news hole between June 6 and June 12, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, finishing well ahead of the ongoing unrest in the Middle East, the economy, and the 2012 presidential election.

That's how things stand right now. Keep in mind that any subject can change over time, so be sure you keep up with the latest news.

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