Did Weiner Documentary Overexpose the Clinton Campaign?

So get this: A new documentary about Anthony (Carlos Danger) Weiner, former New York Congressman and serial cyber flasher, may have contained embarrassing content. Oh, not about Weiner – we’ve known for a long time that he’s incapable of embarrassment. No, it’s the Clinton presidential campaign that might be embarrassed.

Filmmakers Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg are debuting Weiner at the Sundance Film Festival this month and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “Distributors who saw the film before Sundance Selects and Showtime partnered to acquire it say the footage is explosive and potentially damaging to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

Weiner chronicles the period after its subject was forced to resign his congressional seat for “sexting” dirty pics to assorted women and lying about it. Weiner did what any disgraced pol who had so betrayed the public trust would – he ran for Mayor of New York. His former chief of staff Kreigman and Steinberg began filming it all to capture his struggle and final, redemptive triumph.

Makes sense. New York is cosmopolitan and forgiving, Weiner is a talented politician, and his glamourous (and forgiving) new wife Huma Abedin was Hillary Clinton’s close confidant and advisor – practically making the Weiners Democratic royalty.

But along came Carlos Danger. That’s the nom de cyber Weiner used to continue his internet adventures. He was caught again, and lost the New York Mayoral Democratic primary to Bill “Sandinista” de Blasio. But Steinberg and Kreigman kept the cameras rolling including, apparently, to capture Huma’s reaction upon learning about Sexting II, Digital Boogaloo. That’s the problem. According to THR:

Multiple parties who viewed early cuts of the documentary say Clinton's team is seen trying to pressure Abedin to immediately cut ties with Weiner, fearing the scandal will hurt the secretary of state's bid for the White House. (Abedin, who has become something of an obsession for the far right, remains married to Weiner and has a son with him.) The footage is said to offer the kind of rare window into the cutthroat machinations of a presidential campaign that is typically reserved for such fictitious shows as House of Cards.

But now Kreigman says no Clinton operatives appear in the film, “raising the question,” in THR’s words, “of whether it has been edited to expunge any fodder for the Republican Party.”

But, said THR, “in yet another twist in the labyrinthine tale:

sources say Kriegman and Steinberg turned down an aggressive offer from CNN because they were worried that network chief Jeff Zucker might water down the unflattering look at Team Clinton (CNN declined to confirm whether or not it made an offer on the film). 

So did the filmmakers wipe the documentary clean of Clintonian dirt, “like with a cloth or something” as Hillary might put it? That Team Clinton pressured Huma to give Carlos Danger the heave-ho is certainly believable – just think of the Clinton pals who’ve gone to jail. And it wouldn’t be the first time the party and its media allies have covered for Clinton. Besides, there’s no percentage for a couple of liberal Democrat movie makers in crossing their subject’s wife and her boss – the woman they probably hope will be the next POTUS.

As for Weiner, the filmmakers hope it counters the former congressman’s sleazeball image. Steinberg lamented to THR that “Many people have reduced Weiner “to a punchline and caricature …’”

No, Elyse, he did that all by himself.

Matt Philbin
Matt Philbin
Matt Philbin is Managing Editor of MRC Culture