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.

Really?

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.

(WJLA.com) (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.

ABC News apology to Marion Barry


When you find yourself apologizing to ex-Washington, DC Mayor (and current DC Council member) Marion Barry, you’ve definitely messed up.

The media mix tape hit parade continues, as ABC News apologizes for — does this sound familiar? — running video of Marion Barry to illustrate a story about the antics of an entirely different DC public official, administrative law judge Roy L. Pearson, Jr., who is suing a DC dry cleaner for $54 million for allegedly losing his favorite pair of pants.

Both men, of course, are African-American. Would this be a story otherwise?

But, come on, ABC! Barry is a lovable rascally rogue of a crook. A mischievous scamp who, upon being elected mayor once again after doing time on drug charges, gleefully informed those DC voters who were horrified at the prospect of his return to power to “Get over it!” When you think Barry you think comically dysfunctional municipal government. You think crack pipes and hookers. Murder capital of the world. Fun stuff like that.

Judge Pearson, on the other hand, appears to lead-paint-chip eating insane. Or a very petty man. Or both.

Oh, also, they look nothing alike.

Let’s see what our friends at ABC News have to say for themselves:

Tuesday’s Broadcast

June 13, 2007 1:00 PM

Tuesday’s
6:30 pm, ET feed of “World News” mistakenly used video in the program’s
open of DC council member Marion Barry instead of Roy Pearson. We
immediately recognized the error and corrected all subsequent feeds of
the broadcast. We are deeply sorry for this mistake and apologize to
Mr. Barry, Mr. Pearson, and to our viewers for the error.

This is from the ABC News website. There was no on-air apology. This won’t take long to slice through. As I said in my comments on the recent Fox News flub, these things happen. I didn’t realize it happened so frequently, but it’s the TV equivalent of typo. In this case, ABC didn’t run the wrong footage in the actual news story, but in the so-called “teaser” for the story to come later in the broadcast. So it probably didn’t rate an on-air apology. Unless, of course, Marion Barry wants one. Then you’d better get on camera and apologize, Charlie Gibson. He’s Marion Barry, man. Marion @!&* Barry!

Ok, let’s do this. Impersonal corporate voice apologizing here. Not anchor Charlie Gibson or anyone else with an actual name. On the website, not on-air. It would be on-air if Mr. Barry was still mayor, but he’s not. Still, they are deeply sorry. Also, we learn in a related story that Charlie Gibson is trying to reach ex-Mayor Barry to deliver a personal apology. That should be fun.

Why, you  may ask, did ABC have recent footage of Marion Barry at the courthouse lying around in the first place? Well, as it happens, Mr. Barry was in court on the same day as Crazy Pants Guy innocently beating the rap on a drunk driving charge. That’s why he was in front of the cameras.

Marion Barry driving drunk? Say it ain’t so! Actually, that’s just what the judge did.

(In all fairness to the arresting officers, even stone cold sober (or soberish), Marion Barry can look and sound drunk. It’s just hard to tell.)

As for the the technicians at ABC News (along with Fox News and CNN and the rest) here is a helpful hint. Buy a labelmaker! Label your tapes! Avoid embarrassing your anchors by mixing up footage of prominent law-abiding African-American officials with that of indicted felons, convicted felons and/or Crazy Pants Guy.

Because when you screw up, Nameless Backstage Technician, it’s not you that has to go on the air and apologize is it? It’s not you that has to call up Marion Barry and say you’re sorry. It’s Charlie Gibson! And we like Charlie Gibson. So don’t put Charlie Gibson in that awkward position again, okay?

DATE OF APOLOGY: June 13, 2007
APOLOGIZER: ABC News
APOLOGIZEE: Marion Barry, Crazy Pants Guy and ABC News viewers
FOR: Confusing Marion Barry with Crazy Pants Guy