The New York Times Inadvertently Posts a Weiner Sexting Story Online

Screenshot of The New York Times story.

Screenshot of The New York Times story.

Borrowing a page from the Anthony Weiner playbook, The New York Times posted and then deleted a story about Mr. Weiner, the former congressman who resigned after tweeting (then quickly deleting) inappropriate pictures. That the story was about the women who were involved in the scandal only adds to the irony.

Clicking on the link to the story, once entitled “For Women in Weiner Scandal, Indignity Lingers,” now takes readers to a page that reads “Production Note: An article was posted on this page inadvertently, before it was ready for publication.”

According to a Google cache, the story, by political reporter Michael Barbaro, began, “For those on the other end of Anthony D. Weiner’s sexually explicit conversations, the episode damaged careers, disrupted educations.” It also included, “Customers still taunt Lisa Weiss. ‘Talk dirty to me,’ they joke. ‘We know you like it.’ Colleagues still refuse to speak with her. Strangers still bad mouth her in nasty online messages.”

At least one other publication, the New York Post, has also been caught posting and deleting a story about Mr. Weiner, although in that case, the topic was not the former congressman’s infamous sexting scandal.

“This story was published inadvertently, before it was ready,” a Times spokesperson emailed in response to our request for comment on the ironic misfire. “We do not discuss stories in advance.”

Even though the story has not been published yet, Mr. Weiner already faced questions about it at a campaign stop in Brooklyn.

“I’ve apologized for the many lives I’ve turned upside down by my actions,” he told reporters, speaking broadly. “I’ve expressed my regrets for that. I think ultimately what this election is going to be about is about the ideas for the middle class and moving us forward and the people who are struggling to make it in the middle class.”

And on her blog today, the Times‘ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, delved into the mix-up further.

“From what I’ve been able to piece together, there was a miscommunication among Times editors. Some thought the article was ready to go, and sent it on through the editorial production cycle,” she wrote. “At least one other editor — higher up on the food chain — disagreed about its readiness and did not intend it to be published, at least not at that point.”

Ms. Sullivan added, “Such are the hazards of digital misdirection, as Mr. Weiner found out. It couldn’t have happened to a more appropriate story.”

This story has been updated to reflect comments from the Times, Mr. Weiner and the public editor. Additional reporting by Ross Barkan.