Martin O’Malley got a lot of national cable news attention Saturday morning in Baltimore when he announced he was running for president.
But most of it was bad, with analysts criticizing him from the left and the right before and after live coverage of his announcement.
The big narrative on CNN and MSNBC, not surprisingly given TV’s short memory and lack of historical interest, was that O’Malley’s “zero tolerance” policing initiatives as mayor of Baltimore were a major contributing factor to the civil unrest and rioting here last month.
“When he went back to Baltimore last month at the height of the riots, he was shouted down,” Chris Moody, senior politics correspondent, told anchor Randi Kaye on CNN after the announcement. “People recognized him and said, ‘This is your fault.’”
Pre-announcement over on MSNBC, Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now,” hit hard at O’Malley on zero tolerance while he was mayor and the consequences for Baltimore today.
Talking about him as a possible standard bearer for the Democratic Party by referencing last year’s gubernatorial election, CNN’s Kaye said, “He couldn’t even keep his state in Democratic hands.”
If there was any good news in the analysis on O’Malley, I didn’t find it on cable TV Saturday. Within 10 minutes of O’Malley’s announcement speech which took on Hillary Clinton over her coziness with Wall Street, analysts on CNN were saying he should forget Clinton at this point and just aim at U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders who has much better financing and is running well ahead of O’Malley.Melinda Henneberger writes at Bloomberg about a 1972 Bernie Sanders column musing on the rape fantasies of men and women.
His defenders argue that the article is so far in the past that what he wrote then is irrelevant, while critics feel it’s only fair to crown him this year’s Todd Akin. (Unless you’ve mentally blocked it, perhaps in the same way that Akin said women can mentally block conception following “legitimate rape,” you’ll recall that the GOP congressman, who was Senator Claire McCaskill’s Republican challenger in 2012, became his party’s poster child for how not to talk about sexual violence.)
The senator’s own response to the story, which was broken by Mother Jones, was not at all serious. Michael Briggs, a Sanders campaign spokesman, told CNN it was just a “dumb attempt at dark satire in an alternative publication” that “in no way reflects his views or record on women. It was intended to attack gender stereotypes of the ’70s, but it looks as stupid today as it was then.’’
The statement doesn’t begin to answer how Sanders thought about rape then and thinks about it now, or whether he feels his essay is not only “dumb” and “stupid” but also offensive. Do we in the media really only care about appalling views when Republicans and/or front-runners hold them?.