CNN wonders: Did D.C.'s mayor really do anything wrong by violating her own mask mandate?

I mean, I’d say yes, by definition. Especially since Muriel Bowser bent/broke the mask rules twice this weekend, not once. First was when she threw herself a maskless birthday party on Friday, second was when she officiated a wedding on Saturday and was spotted without a mask at the indoor reception.

Tim Carney makes the same point I made in my post about the birthday party. Bowser didn’t just violate the spirit of the rules, she was seemingly planning to violate them while she was putting them together.

Her birthday party was not a surprise birthday party. The wedding wasn’t spontaneous. Bowser announced on Thursday the mask rule would be effective Saturday morning, knowing she was hosting a public Friday night party and a private Saturday night party.

That is, she declared that everyone had to wear masks for the district’s safety while already intending to host maskless crowded parties. She didn’t issue rules and then break them. She issued rules intending to break them.

So this leaves us with two possibilities: Either Bowser wants to spread COVID-19 through unmasked parties, or Bowser thinks vaccinated people can safely gather unmasked.

Josh Barro noticed that too. Bowser clearly doesn’t believe that she or anyone around her has anything to fear from close contact without masks:

The new D.C. mask mandate was just her checking a box to show that she’s on Team Democrat and Team Science Bureaucracy. The CDC recommended masking indoors for all people in areas of “substantial” transmission, Washington technically qualifies as an area of “substantial” transmission, ergo the mandate had to be implemented as a matter of partisan and cultural solidarity.

As soon as her birthday party was over.

Even though she obviously didn’t think she was in any danger at all this weekend.

This take from anchor John Berman is weird even by CNN standards. He starts out noting how it wasn’t long ago that we were hectoring politicians to take off their masks when they weren’t at risk. Now we’re hectoring them to wear masks when (according to them) they are at risk, and when they’re forcing everyone else to wear them. Which is … not at all contradictory, but whatever.

The only way Bowser wouldn’t have been breaking her own rules at the moment this photo was taken…

…was if the photographer caught her when she was about to eat or drink. But you can see that one guy at her table is masked up so clearly they weren’t in the middle of dinner. And if they had been, the photo would still prove the point that the policy is inane. It’s Stage 4 idiocy to require masks when people are gathered indoors except when they’re dining leisurely in close proximity to each other, talking and laughing surrounded by a mist of viral particles. Delta doesn’t take a break during meal times to go get something from the buffet. If the virus is as much of a threat as Bowser and the CDC say then there should be no exceptions to masking while indoors.

In fact, if it’s as much of a threat as they say, there shouldn’t be mass gatherings indoors. The reception should have been held outdoors. And if it was too late for the couple she was marrying to reschedule because the mask mandate had gone into effect just 48 hours before, too bad. Cancel the reception then. Let Bowser’s own buddies live with the consequences of her policy.

A Twitter pal asked a good question about the Washington Examiner’s Bower/wedding scoop. Why did it fall to Tiana Lowe to report that story when there was a CNN reporter at the wedding? The network’s Washington correspondent, Kate Bennett, was a guest and even posted a photo of Bowser with the bride and groom during the ceremony with the caption “Just so we’re all clear: This is outside.” Right, the wedding was — but not the reception. Bennett presumably attended that too. Didn’t she have an ethical duty to alert her network that the mayor of D.C. was breaking her own mask mandate literally hours after it took effect?

Or did she think it’d be rude for a journalist to expose a prominent politician for breaking the law right in front of her while they were guests at the same social function, rubbing elbows?

Speaking of weird media defenses of Bowser, conservative Twitter has been chortling over this one:

There’s nothing resembling an ethical rule in journalism that you can’t properly report on an event unless you attended it. Literally every story involving a leak of any kind would be verboten if that were true. Which makes me think maybe Washingtonian’s point got garbled here. They may have been contrasting Lowe with Bennett, who was a guest and who therefore has a lame excuse for not breaking the story herself. It would have been impolite to turn a friend’s big day into a scoop for her employer by exposing the hypocrisy of the officiant. Lowe wasn’t a guest, Washingtonian made clear, so she had no duty to follow the same etiquette.