CNN Praises Marion Barry's 'Resilience,' 'Incredible Tenure'; Asks If He's 'Bothered' By Association With Drug Bust

CNN's Fredricka Whitfield was incredibly generous to former Democratic D.C. Mayor Marion Barry on Saturday over his past drug arrest and jail time.

Barry was convicted on drug charges and served six months in jail in the 1990s, in between his two terms as D.C. Mayor. Yet Whitfield first praised his "incredible tenure." Then she brought up his arrest but framed him as a victim of his past: "does it frustrate you or bother you that forever there's always going to be that association with that drug bust in 1990?"

When Barry pushed back that it was 23 years ago and the jury was deadlocked on other charges, Whitfield responded with this laugher:

"Yeah, but how is it that even after that, you became mayor again, you became councilman again. Is there a way in which I guess to really explain to people or help people understand that kind of rebound, that kind of resilience that you ultimately do represent?"

So CNN was helping the ex-convict Democrat redeem his legacy. As NewsBusters reported earlier this year, Barry multiple times said controversial things about various ethnicities but the media didn't pick up on it.

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on August 24 at 1:26 p.m. EDT:

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: Mr. Mayor Barry, to this day, many people still kind of call you the "Mayor for Life," even though you are councilman –

BARRY: 16 years, and 31 years of service. I think I've earned it in terms of what I do.

WHITFIELD: You know, and you have done -- you've done a lot in the city.

BARRY: An incredible amount.

WHITFIELD: And you symbolize that incredible tenure. But you know at the same time, does it frustrate you or bother you that forever there's always going to be that association with that drug bust in 1990, and even after that humiliating and very public bust --

BARRY: That was 23 years ago.

WHITFIELD: And -- yeah, but even 23 years ago people still remember that –

BARRY: Wait a minute, three years ago – and I was not convicted of one charge at the Vista Hotel. Nine of the jurors voted for acquittal of everything. But that's then. I'm not interested in that. I'm talking now.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, but how is it that even after that, you became mayor again, you became councilman again. Is there a way in which I guess to really explain to people or help people understand that kind of rebound, that kind of resilience that you ultimately do represent?

BARRY: It's your service. I've done so much for young people, for seniors, development of downtown.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014