Pugh: The Media is Actually Good

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Mayor Pugh addresses the media on Feb. 7, 2018. Image via Facebook Live.

In an interview with Fox45’s Paul Gessler this afternoon, Mayor Catherine Pugh gave a warmer assessment of the media compared with her remarks last week at an event hosted by Baltimore magazine.

But first, she disputed Gessler’s characterization that she called the news media “negative and part of the city’s narrative problem.”

“No, that’s not what I said,” she remarked. “You should go back and hear what I said, that’s not what I said.”

(Here’s a full quote from the mayor’s remarks, as seen in a video posted on her YouTube page: “One of the things that I know about our city is that there is a perception problem, but there’s also a media problem, and there’s also a lack of investment problem, and there’s a lack of equality and inclusion. And that’s why I became mayor, because I want to change that perception and work on the media not depicting Baltimore always as this negative place to be.”)

“I think the media is doing what it’s supposed to do, is report the news,” Pugh said when asked what she wanted the media to do differently. “And I think that’s what the news is doing.”

She continued: “What I said was that–and I wasn’t talking to the media, I was talking to the visionaries, I wanted them to think more positively about their city. And we were saluting them, that there are opportunities here and we need to connect them. And what I said was, all of us working together can change the outcomes and violence and so forth, that exist in our city.”

The “visionaries” remark in question refers to the innovators and leaders selected by Baltimore magazine who “are shaping the future of Baltimore—one big idea at a time.” One of the awardees was City Councilman Ryan Dorsey, who later compared Pugh’s media critiques to remarks made by President Donald Trump.

When initially asked by Gessler about Dorsey’s remarks, Pugh offered a wry smile, responding, “Who would that be? Who’s that?”

She said she hadn’t seen his tweets.

The mayor also detailed her experience as a former member of the media, noting she worked as a news reporter, newspaper owner, TV station owner and a “special editor for the Sunpapers,” among other gigs.

Pugh closed by saying her number one priority was reducing violence.

“I can’t be responsible for what other people say,” she said, “everybody’s entitled to free speech.”

Here’s a full video of the exchange:

Brandon Weigel

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