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Baltimore TV gives us remarkable Marilyn Mosby moment, while cable gives us Trump
October 18, 2023 – 07:56 pm
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UPDATE: CNN, MSNBC and FOX get Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reacting to Mosby's words.

The Marilyn Mosby whom viewers saw on local TV this morning was in sharp contrast to the one they viewed on the steps of the War Memorial Building last year when she announced indictments against the six officers in the Freddie Gray case.

While cable news focused its cameras on yet another Donald Trump press conference this morning, Baltimore TV gave viewers a front-row seat to one of the more remarkable moments in the battle over police-community relations that has engulfed the nation the last two years.

The Baltimore state's attorney, standing in front of a wall portrait of Freddie Gray in the Sandtown neighborhood where he lived, delivered a fiery defense of her office's performance in the wake of her decision to drop all charges against the three remaining officers in the case.

Part of that change involved staging. Last year she was on the steps of that monument to civic authority, and some cameras shot up at her, making her seem more powerful - a symbol of civic justice.

This time, shown at eye level on the street, she seemed smaller - diminished, defensive and angry as she pointed fingers at others for the failure of her office to win convictions against any of the six officers charged.

The Marilyn Mosby on my screen this morning seemed far less in control or powerfully righteous. A few minutes into her speech this time, I started wondering if the failure and wide-spread criticism she and her office had come under was taking an emotional toll. I wondered if the strong TV persona I saw last year was starting to melt down before my eyes.

Besides defending her office, an angry Mosby also denounced "the media, " some of the police involved in the investigation of Gray's death and, indeed, the system itself.

"... After much thought and prayer, it has become clear to me that without being able to work with an independent investigatory agency from the very start, without having a say in the election about whether our cases proceed before a judge or a jury, without communal oversight of policing in this community, without real substantive reforms to the current criminal justice system, we could try this case 100 times, and cases just like it, and still wind up with the same result."

Nowhere in all the thousands of hours of cable talk that I have listened to since the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson have I heard any public official offer such a blanket indictment of a criminal justice system.

Never have I heard a public official so clearly say justice is impossible. And she said it to a city and nation that could hardly be more on edge over police-community relations.

And, as she spoke, the major 24/7 cable channels, our primary crucibles of national political news, had their cameras focused on Trump.

UPDATE: Cable news tried to catch up with the story as Mosby's words exploded across social media Tuesday afternoon.

Two hours after Mosby's impassioned speech, CNN asked Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for her reaction to the words of the state's attorney.

"... I have never and will never use my position to give the impression to the community that they should not have confidence in the people who have sworn to serve them, " Rawlings-Blake said.

The interview, which took place about 1:30 p.m., was in Philadelphia where CNN has moved much of its U.S. operation this week to cover the Democratic National Convention.

MSNBC caught up with the story at about 2:35 p.m. with show host and Baltimore native Thomas Roberts also interviewing Rawlings-Blake in Philadelphia about Mosby's statements.

At 3:40 p.m., Shepard Smith interviewed Rawlings-Blake on Fox News, asking if Mosby's words are "helpful."

"They're absolutely not helpful, " Rawlings-Blake said. "When you insinuate that the process is rigged, that is, I think, an unfair statement about the judge and about the investigation - especially when she purported to do her own independent investigation in her initial press conference."

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