Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post has a summary of the "controversy" in today's paper.
The City Paper has been fielding all sorts of angry calls and complaints, as well as charges of racism.
Was it a "provocative" cover, absolutely. Was it worse than things that show up on the New York Post? Not at all. This story has been dominating local news for the last week, and the City Paper has had excellent coverage. It's a sad fact that this story demands coverage in the first place, but it does. This cover grabs your attention and sells the story well. Job well done, in my mind. Would it be appropriate for the front page of the Post or the New York Times, absolutely not. But the City Paper is not either of those publications. It is an alternative weekly that can take risks that those other papers can't afford to.
From the Post article:
Before Barry's news conference yesterday, two women approached a group of reporters and demanded to know which one worked for the City Paper. They soon began shouting at City Paper's Jason Cherkis, waving a copy of the newspaper at him.First off, these charges of racism are, in my mind, completely ridiculous. This was presented the way it was because it was Marion Barry. Secondly, does anyone really believe if there was a scandal of this nature involving a white member of the Council, it wouldn't demand attention? Especially if that member had the history Barry does? Come on. We all saw how the media gave Bill Clinton a pass on Monica Lewinsky just because he was white.
"This is a disgrace, and I want to know what the media is doing about this," said Tisa Mitchell, 37, of Northeast Washington. "This is racially motivated. It's ugly. . . . You wouldn't do this to a white politician."
As television cameras gathered around them, Mitchell said: "I don't like the graphic nature of the front page. Everyone has relationship issues, but it shouldn't be put on the front page."
Constance Woody, who lives in Ward 7, east of the Anacostia River, added that "if Barry were a white man, he would have never been presented like this. This is an outrage."
And by the way, the total of money Barry directed to his girlfriend is up to $60,000. DC Council chair Vincent Gray has enlisted an independent law firm to investigate.
In an interview yesterday with The Washington Post, Watts-Brighthaupt raised further questions about the contract when she said she was hired to study Barry's political life. That would appear to contradict the terms of the contract, which said she would consult on "poverty reduction strategies.""Poverty reductions strategies" for $5k/mo? Well, Barry was certainly working to reduce his girlfriend's poverty.
Yesterday, in his first remarks since the arrest, Barry, 73, refused to comment on the $5,000-a-month contract. Instead, he blasted the U.S. Park Police, saying they inappropriately arrested him.
We'll see what this investigation digs up, but we'll probably hear that the investigation is racist as well. We're picking an historical landmark of the District of Columbia who has done nothing but love women and constituents for his entire career. Right?