WashPost Wallows in Twitter Mini-Scandal: '@TedCruz Likes Porn' and 'Shifts Blame'

On Wednesday morning, The Washington Post wallowed in enjoyment over the micro-scandal of Sen. Ted Cruz (or more likely, a staffer) hitting the "Like" button on a pornographic tweet. The Post headline at the top of page A-2 wasn't objective. It read like a leftist blog: "At night, @tedcruz likes porn. In the morning light, the senator shifts blame."

Post reporters Ed O'Keefe and Avi Selk began: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) woke up Tuesday to find his name trending on Twitter - linked overnight to a certain explicit video, perhaps unfairly, perhaps irrevocably." The sentence expressed the media wish that this social-media gaffe follow Cruz around for all time. 

The Post on Wednesday offered 732 words exploring with great joy all that this story might "irrevocably" mean. At the bottom of that same page, in tiny type, came this dispatch: "Seattle mayor to step down amid scandal." They offered less than 150 words, if anyone noticed, to a fifth man accusing Democrat Mayor Ed Murray of sexually abusing him when he was a teenager. The "(D)" was in there.

That is barely news, though, as O'Keefe and Selk cracked open a beverage and uncorked their happy story about Cruz: 

Cruz, of course, is nowhere to be seen in the footage, which has been floating around the Internet for more than a year. But around midnight Eastern time, someone signed into the senator's official Twitter account and clicked a little heart below the video - and thus did @tedcruz "like" porn.

By late morning, reporters were waiting outside the Capitol to question the flesh-and-blood Cruz about his online alias's handiwork, which he disavowed.

"It was a staffing issue, and it was inadvertent," the senator said. "It was a mistake."

He said "a number of people" in his office had access to his account - contrary to Jimmy Kimmel and much of the critical Internet, who had assumed the senator himself clicked the heart before someone else unclicked it, after so much viral mockery.

But Cruz wouldn't name the mystery staffer or say how they might be disciplined.

And twice that morning, reporters asked him if he was the liker.

"No," Cruz said quietly as he finally walked away.

Then the Post revisited Cruz's memoir when he recounted watching porn in a professional capacity, as a law clerk at the Supreme Court, when the justices were decided on whether porn should be regulated on the Internet. The story ended by focusing on how the porn makers are capitalizing on the liberal schadenfreude: 

"Follow for the Same Porn @TedCruz Watches," reads the new banner text on @SexuallPosts.

And denial or not, the senator continued to be mocked across the Internet.

"Everyone on twitter after 1 a.m. on a Monday knows exactly how this whole thing works," one wag wrote after Cruz's spokeswoman blamed staff for the like. "You're foolin' nobody."

Quipped another: "Liking a porn tweet is by far the least offensive, most normal thing Ted Cruz has ever done."

Former Postie Chris Cillizza over at CNN offered his own version of ridicule, implying that Ted Cruz made a porn video (and hey, it's Twitter, so let's leave out what the Seattle mayor is accused of doing, and his party affiliation): 


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