It was during the State of the Union speech, as President Obama was making his way down the aisle to the podium, that Congressman Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, got an excited tweet from Victoria Brink, a student at Texas State University. “I just saw you on TV.”
It was when Cohen responded that those in the media who monitor congressional tweets started to get excited. “Nice to know you were watching SOTU Happy Valentine’s Day beautiful girl. ILU” (Yes, there are those who actually monitor congressional tweets. It’s called the Weiner Watch, after infamous penis tweeter and former congressman Anthony Weiner.)
When Cohen deleted the tweet 15 minutes later, the media went into full scandal mode.
When reporters discovered Brink is a beautiful bikini model, they started frothing at the mouth. The congressional conversation with the “Blonde Bombshell” was on the Internet the very next day. The media likes nothing more than a sex scandal that might take a politician down and ruin a life or two. It doesn’t matter that Cohen is a bachelor. He’s 56! She’s young enough to be his daughter!
Only it turned out she is his daughter—whom he was introduced to by an old flame three years ago. Since then, Cohen has been a loving and doting father. The congressman took his newly discovered daughter to the White House Christmas party two months earlier. He kept the wonderful revelation from his staff and the press because he didn’t want to put his daughter through exactly what happened after the State of the Union.
I first saw the story on CNN. “What seemed to be flirtatious tweets between a congressman and a 24-year-old beautiful blonde co-ed sent during the State of the Union, turned out to just be affectionate tweets between a father and his daughter.” So why report the flirtatious part? Because that is the story they wanted, and you can hear the disappointment in the sentence.
It is a sweet story, but sorry no scandal, and so the media all but ignored it. Sure it got reported, somewhere deep in the newspaper, or in the third segment of the newscast, but a scandal would have been a lead story for days. These days, the media is not really interested in making a congressman, of all people, look good or noble, and so the story was buried. Sorry, no villain, no interest.
I would argue there is a villain: the media. The Cohen tweet story exposed the media’s “gotcha” mentality, its 24/7 lust to catch someone prominent in the act and bring them down. When it turns out to be good news, well who wants that?
The only way the media will be interested in the story now is if the Congressman had made the whole daughter story up, which would be a horrible cover story. Maury Povich could break this case in 50 minutes.
If he is telling the truth, we’ll never hear another word about it, and I am certain that will suit the proud father just fine.