“It probably couldn’t hurt, but on the other hand do you think standards would have stopped Anthony Weiner?” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “You can never really protect people if they’re going to engage in sleazy conduct.”
In a decentralized body such as the House, with 441 individual bosses under the umbrella, and 402 of them now represented on Twitter, scandals like this will probably just keep happening, staffers and experts said.
The immediacy and accountability of social media perhaps serves a useful purpose of weeding out the bad elements, then. Call it social media Darwinism: Survival of the fittest to serve.
“The pitfalls have always been there. These are just new places for folks to make mistakes,” said Nick Schaper, Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) former digital media director, who now works at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It doesn’t create these mistakes, I think it gives them an avenue. It helps drive them out.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., walks on Broadway after a Future Forum with young entrepreneurs in the Flatiron District of New York City, April 16, 2015. Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., also attended.