Vince Gray‘s outburst at Washington City Paper‘s own Aaron Wiener won’t be the last time the mayor takes on the media in his re-election bid. The Gray campaign pushed back on NBC4 reporter Tom Sherwood yesterday, with Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies accusing Sherwood of “journalistic malpractice.”

Like every other reporter in town not employed by WUSA9, Sherwood needed his own shadow campaign apology quote after Gray’s image-polishing interview with Channel 9’s Bruce Johnson. But Gray wouldn’t talk about the apology, leading Sherwood to block the mayor’s path until he got an answer. The mayor’s bodyguards weren’t thrilled, leading them to “muscle” Sherwood (or maybe it’s the other way around—-judge for yourself on the video above).

Sherwood tweeted the scrap, with a description of it that makes Gray sound like the District’s own Nicolae Ceaușescu. Thies, no novice at Twitter feuds, shot back.

 

 

 

In an interview with LL, Thies laid some more charges on the dean of District’s press corps, from putting his cameraman’s health at risk to “stalking” the mayor.

“He has stepped from journalism to journalistic malpractice,” Thies says. “His coverage like this is circus-like.”

Thies says Sherwood is sticking his camera in Gray’s face, behavior he says is more appropriate for another scandal-plagued politician: crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

“Tom can go to Toronto if he wants to cover Rob Ford,” Thies says. “I’m sure NBC will gladly buy him a plane ticket”

LL notes that handheld video cameras are restricted to the back of the room at Gray’s Saturday campaign launch.

Sherwood tells LL that he’s just trying to get the mayor to expand on his apology. “The mayor has never explained his role or his campaign for 2010 and hopes everyone will just fast-forward to 2014,” Sherwood says in an email.

Trashing reporters seems like a counterintuitive strategy ahead of Saturday’s launch, but Thies says it’s fine. As long as people are talking about scraps with the media, they aren’t talking about Gray’s rivals. “All of our opponents are dying to get the kind of attention that Vince Gray gets,” Thies says.