In Tennessee, a state senator resigned late yesterday in the final stage in a political scandal scenario that has become such a cliche that I developed a nine-step, fill-in-the-blanks version of it two years ago:
1. Politician _______s.
2. Rumors circulate that politician ________s.
3. Politician denies rumors.
4. Politician caught _____ing.
5. Politician says, “I did not _____, it was a misunderstanding.”
6. Politician blames media and bloggers.
7. Past partners, victims or witnesses show up to prove politician _______s all the time.
8. Politician admits he’s __________ed.
9. Politician apologizes to his family and to those who trusted him, blames it on alcohol and enters rehab.
(Please note: every scandal has its nuance — the nine-steps are merely a “framework” for ridicule and not a scientific formula.)
In this current Tennessee case, the state senator’s resignation came at the end of a boilerplate scandal: “family values lawmaker gets blackmailed by boyfriend of the intern with whom the lawmaker is having an affair.” (I apologize if I got some of the specifics of the scandal wrong in that description, as I make it a practice to tune out all but the beginnings and ends of any “news” related to lawmakers and interns, blackmail or hikes along the Appalachian Trail.)
I mention this resignation only to note how he followed step #6 even after the resignation, but then caught himself in recognition of the irony of blaming “the media and bloggers” in the context of a confessional. From the Nashville Scene, here’s a quote from the resigning senator’s on a radio talk show:
“I think a lot of people express frustration with the changing professionalism of journalism. That is, journalists used to have to verify sources and verify information before they put it out there. I guess with the blogosphere and just more people being engaged and the advent of the Internet, people get on the Internet or the airwaves or whatever and just say whatever, and I think they need to be more cognizant of they way they treated …
At that point, the lawmaker apparently recognized how ironic he was beginning to sound.
One last thing — a prediction.
The next politician who resigns will include “Twitter” in his list of things to blame.
Later: Upon reflection, I’ve decided to suggest to lawmakers they skip trying to keep up all the different web-based channels of expression they should blame and just blame “the media and every damn fool with a computer or an iPhone.”