WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – While many in the nation’s capital have forgiven former Mayor Marion Barry for his drug problem–he’s now the Ward 8 Councilman–Washington Post writer Tim Page, won’t let him forget.
The Pulitzer Prize winning writer, responded several weeks ago to an unsolicited press release from Andre Johnson, an aide of Councilman Barry, with these words: “Must we hear about it every time this crack addict attempts to rehabilitate himself with some new–and typically half-witted—political grandstanding?”
“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.”
Councilman Barry told the Washington Post 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.”
The paper reported that Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. called Mr. Page’s e-mail “a terrible mistake” and said he has taken “appropriate internal action,” but neither he nor Mr. Page would disclose it.
Mr. Downie said Councilman Barry called him and that “we had a good conversation. … He accepted my apology.” But Councilman Barry’s response was that Mr. 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 low-life activity.”
Mr. Page, a music critic, apologized to Mr. Johnson and called the incident “the stupidest thing I’ve done in 30-years in journalism.” He added, “I hope people won’t judge me on this one explosion.”
When Ward 8-A Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Anthony Muhammad heard about the situation he told The Final Call, “There are two standards in America, one Black and one White. If you are White, you can ask for mercy and understanding like Mr. Page did and expect to get it. You can go on with your life and future achievements without having to be reminded, because an aide sent an email to someone, of your shortcomings.
“But that didn’t happen with Councilman Barry because he’s Black. George Bush admitted to abusing alcohol until he was age 40. That admission didn’t stop him from becoming president and I don’t believe any Pulitzer Prize winning writer, or any writer for that matter, would address the president with the same repugnance as Mr. Page and expect to keep his job,” he added.