The “poor spin” tag comes in the headline. In the actual fact check, Glenn Kessler uses stronger language to describe Muriel Bowser’s attempts to shake off accusations of mask-mandate hypocrisy. Kessler demolishes Bowser’s arguments and awards the DC mayor a full complement of Pinocchios as a result.
Most notably, Kessler rips Bowser for attempting to deflect the criticism by falsely characterizing it, lying about her mandate, as well as mischaracterizing the reporter that exposed her:
So, defending herself before the media, on Tuesday, Bowser subtly rewrote her own rules, suggesting that as long as you are at a dining table, being maskless is okay: “We all know what the rules says about sitting at a dining table and dining.”
Bowser also tried to argue the photograph was taken during the meal, not the toasts. “They took a picture of me where dinner and drinks were served,” she said. “Okay, did they show you the whole time I was there? No. Did they show you when I had on a mask? No. Because they have a little thing they are trying to do.”
As the video indicates, the meal was over. Bowser acknowledged to reporters she saw many people at the reception not wearing masks.
As part of her defense, Bowser also falsely claimed that Lowe was one of the “right-wing nuts” who opposed vaccination: “What I know is we have a lot of covid deniers out there who are largely responsible for the country not being able to recover from covid, because for many months, they have been telling their followers not to get vaccinated, who have spent two or three days spreading disinformation.”
As we noted, Lowe is a strong advocate of vaccination. Bowser’s staff needs to do better homework on her critics.
Had Bowser just admitted fault and used it as a teaching moment, Kessler suggests, she might have done some good in promoting her mask mandate. Alternately, Bowser could just have refused to comment, which would have been somewhat more pusillanimous but at least more honest. Instead, Kessler concludes, Bowser chose disinformation while claiming to be fighting against it:
Instead, she defended herself with partisan-laced spin and innuendo about “disinformation,” making false accusations about the reporter who exposed her actions. She earns Four Pinocchios.
Bowser earned more than just the Pinocchios. She has earned a place among Democratic executives who lecture and put mandates on their constituents while flouting those commands for themselves. That includes California governor Gavin Newsom and his French Laundry banquet as well as his childrens’ private-school education while closing public schools for the rest of California parents. That league also features Andrew Cuomo and his professed enthusiasm for targeting sexual harassment in the workplace, not to mention his self-promotion as a pandemic leader while actively covering up the death toll of his policies.
Let’s not kid ourselves that there will be any electoral consequences for Bowser’s hypocrisy in ultraviolet-blue DC. The credibility consequences will be more significant, however, especially for her mask mandate.