A Thought on a Mayor’s Statement

What Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake actually said:

It’s a very delicate balancing act. Because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.

What she said she meant in the next day’s press conference:

I was asked a question about the property damage that was done, and in answering that question I made it very clear that we balance a very line between giving protesters—peaceful protesters—space to protest. What I said is, in doing so, people can hijack that and use that space for bad.

That’s an entirely legitimate reading of her initial statement: “In the course of,” not “by deliberate, separate decision.”

I think there are a number of factors in play that led to the NLMSM’s distortion (in my view) of Rawlings-Blake’s original statement:

  • the mayor’s fatigue—a thin read; leaders aren’t supposed to be tired, but the fact is, they’re human
  • losing sight of the fact that whatever she says will be presented in sound bites—no matter the difficulty of acting on that recognition while speaking extemporaneously
  • the NLMSM’s interpretation also is plausible
  • nevertheless, the NLMSM’s routine distortion of politicians’ statements in order to generate “a unique slant” about which to write, or because it has personal axes to grind
  • coupled with the NLMSM’s decision to take such a shocking statement (under their interpretation) at face value rather than first questioning whether an American city’s mayor actually could mean such a thing
  • the NLMSM’s haste to be first in the news cycle

It didn’t help that the Detroit police official interviewed so extensively, especially on Fox News, and so many other allegedly responsible public officials who were interviewed apparently took the mayor’s words under the NLMSM’s interpretation at face value rather than themselves asking whether a mayor really could intend such a thing.

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