Loose Lips

Gray Team Woos the Post

Gray Team Woos the PostMayor Vince Gray hired a new spokesman this week. Pedro Ribeiro will be replacing Linda Wharton Boyd, who the mayor put out to pasture at the city’s Department of Health.

At a Monday news conference announcing the new hire, talk quickly turned to why the mayor was making the move. Some Gray supporters have long blamed Boyd, who flacked for Marion Barry when he was mayor, for poorly managing the press and contributing to the mayor’s rough start.

Gray wouldn’t talk ill of someone he’d just demoted, instead rolling out the old canard that the negative press his administration had received was the media’s fault. “I don’t want to be cynical,” Gray said, before speculating that negative news stories about his administration tend to draw more attention (and therefore advertisements) than stories highlighting the positive work its done. “All we’re asking for is simply fairness.”

The mayor isn’t alone in such thinking. Emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show Gray’s new chief of staff, Chris Murphy, going ga-ga over an article penned by avid Gray supporter (and mayoral water and sewer board appointee) Adam Clampitt in The Huffington Post. In a post titled, “The Mayor’s Record,” Clampitt lamented the media’s focus on negative news at the expense of the mayor’s accomplishments. Clampitt then rehashed vague and uninspiring talking points from a document put out by the Gray administration touting its first 200 days in office.

“He has personally met with the three major credit rating agencies,” notes Clampitt, as if that’s somehow an accomplishment worth mentioning. The rest of Clampitt’s article isn’t much better.

But that didn’t stop Murphy from singing its praises. When Clampitt’s claptrap was published, Murphy sent it along to his staff with the note: “Team—a great piece about the Boss!”

Murphy forwarded it to Karen Tramontano, former Mayor Sharon Pratt’s chief of staff. “It’s about time someone wrote this! And it’s just scratching the surface of the list of accomplishments! Feel free to share! Can you send to Sharon too?”

Murphy also sent it to Post opinion mavens Jo-Ann Armao and Colby King. “Thought you might appreciate,” Murphy wrote to Armao.

And Murphy sent the article to Mo Elleithee, Gray’s communications guru during last year’s campaign, with this lament: “If only we could get the mainstream media to admit this!”

Yikes. Good luck with that one, Pedro.

  • StrangeFruit

    Jo-Ann Aramo has zero credibility. This is the same "impartial" reporter that allowed Adrian Fenty's administration via Michelle Rhee, to tell her (verbatim) what to write in her editorial piece regarding the confirmation of Dr. Hartsock, who was the interim director at DPR.

    Mike DeBonis, who worked for the City Paper, busted Aramo and plastered City Paper's blog with the email Rhee wrote to Aramo telling her to write an editorial praising Dr. Hartsock; and, the next week Aramo followed Rhee's directive and a gleaming editorial was penned by Aramo praising Dr. Hartsock and demanding her confirmation.

    Oh, almost forgot this one--DeBonis also busted the Washington Post for publishing an opinion piece by Dr. Hartsock's employee also demanding Hartsock confirmation. It was later uncovered, via an audit, that Dr. Hartsock lied about her relationship with this employee and she was living with her without paying rent, which is a no, no!

    The Washington and the rest of DC's mainstream media views the demographic shift in DC as an opportunity to purge the District of its Black elected officials.

  • Drez

    Also a great read.
    The real problem - I kid you not- with Gray is that he has little or nothing he can point to by way of accomplishments. Smoothing feathers and not rocking the boat are weak stuff. Certainly that wont win him any partisans. While he's playing low key manager, the bigger world is moving at it's own rhythm- and is setting its own tone and message, and is leaving him behind.

  • housediggity

    why dont you post said emails?

  • StrangeFruit


    Per your request, here are the links to the emails regarding JoAnn Aramo being given a directive by the Fenty's Administration to write an editorial piece about a DC government employee Michelle Rhee wanted confirmed:

    Here’s the link: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2009/10/14/how-to-get-a-sweet-wapo-editorial/

    Here’s the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/26/AR2009102603234.html

    Told ya shorty has ZERO credibility and the editorial board is a nothing more than a tool for the Washington Post to promote its corporate and political agenda.

  • StrangeFruit

    @ Housediggity,

    I tried to post the links for the emails, but city paper placed my comment in moderation and subsequently deleted it.

    Just Google, "How to Get a Sweet WaPo Editorial" to verify my statement.

  • LOL

    Well he needed a new communications person. anyone think that this Murphy person is, well, a bit too engaged? Those emails make him appear like an emotional manager. I hope he is more seasoned than that.

  • Truth hurts

    Astute observation lol. He's very passionate, at times over the top, when it comes to press coverage. Blaming the media, however, usually doesn't advance one's cause.

  • Skipper

    It's rather telling how excited Team Gray got when one of its own hacks wrote something positive about them in an online op-ed piece. Goes to show you how bad a job "Dr." Wharton-Boyd was doing.

  • Joe

    Blaming the media is just like a sports team blaming the ref--it just highlights how bad your team really is.

  • Kevin

    Gray is not off-base that the media (specifically the Post) has not been even-handed in its coverage. Just look at its multiple stories about the Brown issue, uncovering little of substance, its giving Fenty-pal Sinclair Skinner space to call for Gray's resignation, or its downplaying any credit due the mayor for ending court receivership, improved SYEP management, luring Walmart to Skyland (the attempt being much panned at the time), or ending budgetary gimmicks. Perhaps the coverage will change with the new team in place, but I'll have to see it to believe it.

  • Brahmin

    Loose Lips,

    This seams a little jealous writing on your part. Gray is far from perfect and it is your job as the 4th Estate to make certain his action align with the public good.

    But at times LL is about the word on the street. Gray has done great things to keep going the professional management of the city. But of course, he stumbles on the small stuff. It like having a Noble Prize, MIT educated person that was heralded by the NYT meet you for an interview with spinach between his teeth and a Ketchup stain on his short.

    Get over people speaking to the Washington Post, they too have a right to report.

  • Yep

    "But at times LL is about the word on the street. Gray has done great things to keep going the professional management of the city. But of course, he stumbles on the small stuff. It like having a Noble Prize, MIT educated person that was heralded by the NYT meet you for an interview with spinach between his teeth and a Ketchup stain on his short."

    bhwhwhahaha.....almost as ludicrous as Rick Perry's statement last week in defense of his debate performances:

    “The only reason I lost before was that the debates were not challenging enough,” Perry says. “If you asked Einstein to assemble a puzzle aimed at 4-year-olds, he would probably appear equally dazed and disoriented, and people might think he, too, was some sort of moron.”

  • Brahmin

    Yep, please put your stream of words into coherent sentence

  • Truth Hurts

    Gray's no "Nobel Prize, MIT educated person heralded by the NYT". Far from it.

  • Drez

    Spinners gonna spin.

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  • seDCdude

    Just as shit stinks no matter whose ass it comes from.......

    Amen to strangefruit and YEP!!


    WCP blogs are no longer hip, their attempts at censorship are sophomoric at best, sucks to be the exposed!!