Who is to blame for Mayor-for-Life-turned-Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry‘s recent race-related troubles, which began a few weeks ago when Barry complained about the “dirty shops” of Asian business owners and got worse when he complained about the high number of Filipino nurses?
NBC 4 reporter and Barry biographer Tom Sherwood, of course.
Barry held court this afternoon at the Wilson Building for what ostensibly was a budget hearing on Asian community groups Barry’s committee oversees. In the face of pretty powerful and damning statements from Asian community leaders, Barry repeatedly tried to turn the focus away from what he’d said and instead blame the media for distorting his words and sensationalizing his message. Barry also chided some of the witnesses speaking out against him, telling them in a pretty-darn-patronizing kind of way that they were falling into a “media trap.”
On several occasions, Barry singled out Sherwood as the the media’s most evil trapper. It was Sherwood, after all, who first ran the clip of Barry saying the “dirty shops” line at his victory party on election night.
Barry said Sherwood deliberately took a small segment of his 20-minute speech and “blew it up to make you all think that I was the biggest bigot in town.”
In response, Sherwood says he’s just the messenger: “As good a reporter as I am, Barry’s words speak for themselves.”
Don’t let Barry’s media-hating rhetoric fool you. Barry loves the media (Sherwood included), or at least the attention the media brings, more than any politician in town. How much? So much that he ended the hearing before it was done in part because he had to go do a radio interview.