Journalist Apology for Calling Marion Barry a "Crackhead"

It is time once again to play "I'm Sorry, Marion Barry!"

Everybody knows Marion Barry smokes crack.

Or at least he did. He's the most famous crack-smoking former mayor of a major U.S. city in the world. There is video.

But that was a long time ago. Yes, he tested positive for cocaine and marijuana back in 2005. Yes, there was that 2006 arrest for driving under the influence, but he was acquitted. He's in drug counseling.

Lay off the man! Marion Barry is no longer the mayor of Washington, DC. But he is still MARION BARRY, BABY! And don't you forget it!

Well, some poor schlub named Tim Page forget:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic for The Washington Post has apologized for sending an angry e-mail in which he called District of Columbia Council member Marion Barry a "crack addict."

Tim Page wrote to Barry's aide last week after receiving a press release about the former mayor's views on the financially troubled Greater Southeast Community Hospital.

"Must we hear about it every time this crack addict attempts to rehabilitate himself with some new — and typically half-witted — political grandstanding?" the e-mail said. "I'd be grateful if you would take me off your mailing list. I cannot think of anything the useless Marion Barry could do that would interest me in the slightest, up to and including overdose." (AP)

That is just cold, man. After all Marion Barry has done to for Our Nation's Capital, you've got to hate on him like that?

If you're not a fan, that's fine. Personally I believe one can be dismayed by Mayor Barry's personal and administrative shortcomings and still appreciate his entertainment value and sheer political will to survive. Even after the crack conviction and doing time in prison he was elected mayor again and currently serves on the DC city council.

Love him or hate him, you've got to admire the tenacity.

"I'd be grateful if you would take me off your mailing list," would have sufficed, Tim.

But that wouldn't have been any fun, would it? Apology time!

"It's the stupidest thing I've done in 30 years in journalism," music critic Tim Page said yesterday. "I hope people won't judge me on this one explosion." (Washington Post)

Err ... considering this is the first I've ever heard of you and that the mission of Apology Index is to judge apologies, I can't help you there, Tim. But I will agree it was stupid.

But is there an actual apology?

Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. called Page's e-mail "a terrible mistake" and said he has taken "appropriate internal action," but neither he nor Page would disclose it.


Page plans to take a previously scheduled four-month leave starting Jan. 1

Yes, I think that would be wise.

What does the offended party say?

Barry said in an interview that he was "outraged" and "incredulous" at the "despicable" e-mail, "particularly coming from a reporter at a reputable newspaper like The Washington Post, not a rag." He said the note amounted to "character assassination" at a time when "around the nation, it's almost open season on black people."

See what I mean? He's still got it! Complete with a whole deck of race cards up his sleeve.

Still, where is the apology?

Downie said Barry called him and that "we had a good conversation. . . . He accepted my apology."

Okay, the editor apologized. So is everything cool?

Barry said yesterday that Page "ought to be fired, and The Washington Post ought to run an editorial apology. That would be a signal to the whole world that The Washington Post won't tolerate this kind of lowlife activity."

I guess not. But see what I mean? Marion Barry is a national treasure! That is priceless invective. Flawless puffed up outrage. And I'm just guessing here, but he says these things freestyle! There is no script, no handlers, just pure Barry, bottled at the source — and uncorked on camera.

Here's more:

That's not enough for Barry. "It's despicable, just awful - the language was undescribable, garbage-can type of language," he tells WJLA-TV. "I'm used to Barry-bashing, but this was worse than bashing, this was almost a hate crime, almost."
( (With video!!)

Almost a hate crime ... genius! Because a lesser man would go with "hate crime." Not Barry. He knows, instinctively, that would be too much. Too laughable. But "almost" a hate crime?

Same great victimhood taste, with half the calories.

I'm still wondering if Page himself apologized?

In a letter of apology to Johnson, Page said he was sorry for his "rude" response, adding: "I am deeply ashamed for what I did and I know how hurtful my words could be." ( Washington Post)

He apologized to Barry's aide, but not to the man himself? Probably too busy packing for that "previously planned" four month vacation.


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