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?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Imagine if you will a Republican city councilman anywhere in the United States railing against Asian-American small businesses and Filipino immigrants who work as nurses in local hospitals. The national media would swoop in with critical attention to the matter and demand Republican politicians all the way up to apparent presidential nominee Mitt Romney to renounce the racist politician.
But when it comes to D.C. Councilman and former Mayor Marion Barry (D), alas, there's no national media attention devoted to the racist ex-convict's sentiments about the Asian-American community in the nation's capital. While the Washington Post and Politico have done their part -- Politico even noted a political consultant calling on Barry to step down as a Democratic convention delegate -- our search of Nexis reveals that neither ABC, CBS, nor NBC have covered the story on their morning or evening news programs.
Yesterday I noted that the Washington Post covered a September 8 anti-Obama, pro-school voucher protest in its D.C. Wire blog. Demonstrators participating in the protest complained about how the president and congressional Democrats have scuttled the voucher program and in doing so dashed the hopes of 216 kids who were scheduled to be granted vouchers for private schools this school year.
Yet the protest, led by former city councilman Kevin Chavous (D) and featuring former mayor and current Councilman Marion Barry (D), received no coverage in the September 9 Washington Post, despite the fact that the paper has supported the voucher program in previous editorials.
Of course, the Post did find space for not one but three articles dealing with President Obama's September 8 address to the nation's schoolchildren:
Today as President Barack Obama was preparing to deliver a speech to America's students, some school voucher-supporting Democrats in the District of Columbia were gearing up to protest the president's decision to scuttle the city's federal voucher program by blocking the doors to the federal Department of Education building in Washington.
Nikita Stewart of the Washington Post's D.C. Wire blog covered the planned protest in a post this morning and fellow Postie Nick Anderson reported on the protest -- joined by D.C. councilman Marion Barry (D) and led by former D.C. councilman Kevin Chavous (D) -- after the fact shortly after noon.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews has told his viewers that he disagrees with Obama's decision and supports renewing the congressionally-funded D.C. voucher program. It should be interesting to see if Matthews covers the protest today on his "Hardball" program.
I wouldn't hold my breath for any coverage elsewhere on MSNBC or on the broadcast networks tonight, however.
It's a few steps shy of proclaiming, "Gun Ban an Abject Failure at Curbing Crime," but today's Washington Post Metro did trumpet on the front of its November 13 Metro section that the 31-year old D.C. handgun ban has not proven to be a crime deterrent.
With his somewhat subdued headline, "Crime Data Underscore Limits of D.C. Gun Ban's Effectiveness," staff writer Paul Duggan unearthed the political calculus for the 1976 gun ban, as well as the Post's role as chief journalistic cheerleader for the law the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found unconstitutional earlier this year.
In making by far their boldest public policy decision, the District's first elected officials wanted other jurisdictions, especially neighboring states, to follow the lead of the nation's capital by enacting similar gun restrictions, cutting the flow of firearms into the city from surrounding areas.
"We were trying to send out a message," recalled Sterling Tucker (D), the council chairman at the time.
Nadine Winters (D), also a council member then, said, "My expectation was that this being Washington, it would kind of spread to other places, because these guns, there were so many of them coming from Virginia and Maryland."
Duggan quotes other politicians who eagerly supported, and continue to support the ban, noting that at the time even they admitted the ban would do nothing to make citizens safer (emphasis mine):