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August 27, 2009

Mayor takes on British pol on Wire--UPDATED

Editor's note: The Web site and Twitter accounts referenced by this post were not written by Mayor Sheila Dixon or her staff. Instead, they were produced by a British prankster. A fuller explanation is available here. The Sun regrets the error.

Mayor Sheila Dixon has launched her Twitter page and among her very first tweets is link to a defense of Baltimore following a disparaging statement from a British politician who compared his city of Manchester to that of The Wire.

He made his statements after riding with police there and noting that the city had 35 murders last year, none of which were committed with a gun and was reported by the Machnester Evening News. The city apparently is struggling with gang issues. He said, "It’s the world of the drama series The Wire."

To which Dixon responded:

Fellow citizens

This week I was alerted to a speech made by a Member of the British Parliament, a Mr Chris Grayling, who suggested his country should fear becoming like our city of Baltimore as portrayed in the HBO series, The Wire. We all watched The Wire and while it was sometimes a heart-breaking reflection of reality, it was in the main, merely entertaining fiction.

The television show failed to reflect the best we have in this city, our sense of community, our hospitality and our proud history and culture. To present a television show as the real Baltimore is to perpetuate a fiction that dishonours our city. It is as pointless as boasting that Baltimore has a per capita homicide rate a fraction of that in the popular UK television show Midsomer Murders.

The Baltimore Police Department is working hard to protect the people of this city and it should be remembered that The Wire was just a television show. As this video shows, there is so much more to Baltimore than The Wire.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:04 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Confronting crime


Yes, crooked Baltimore City politicians is a totally fictional construct.

Can it Sheila, no one's buying it.

Just keep sticking your head in the sand, Sheila. The Wire was such a hit because it showed the Baltimore that people don't want to see--the Baltimore that you don't want to put out there on information selling the city. But The Wire is just as much a part of Baltimore as the glossy overhead shots of the Harbor is--maybe even moreso. Dixon's comments, although understandable, are also difficult to accept because until we admit that the city is a mess, the solutions offered are just Band Aids that will not truly fix the problems Baltimore faces.

I'm glad that the mayor can take time out of her busy day of neglecting the massive problems facing this city to post on Twitter in response to a British politician expressing how he didn't want his city to end up like the Baltimore of The Wire. I'm sure there was nothing else that would have been a better use of her and her staff's time.

It's sad that the mayor is so good at issuing statements and so utterly terrible at doing much to keep all the residents of this city safe.

People equate the Baltimore of The Wire with the real thing because there is such a thing as art imitating life.

they say in 12 step programs that denial is not a river in egypt. sometimes mayor, you just gotta take the beatings along with the reality: in this case, that our city is largely not safe to raise children or walk the streets. it is a surprise to me that our lead official would bother with the british house when that nations' police do not carry firearms and whose murder rate does not come near our nations' rate. the only qualifiable equivalent to baltimore is dickensian london.


Sorry yanks - you have been hoaxed.

The mayoral statement is a hoax perpatrated by a British blogger, mainly intended to sucker the lazy British press.

Internal British politics and our shabby media have smeared your fair city - I can only apologise.


See here:

But the hoax is being greatly enjoyed by the Conservatives in England.

Of course it was a hoax...since when has our wonderful Mayor ever been this coherent and eloquent?

Sorry, Mayor Dixon, but I'm not having it.

I've seen The Wire, and although I've never visited Baltimore in person, I have toured the decaying streets on StreetView and seen the awful envronment so many of your ordinary citizens live in, and I have read the books and followed the news in The Baltimore Sun.

Your city looks like a British city in 1945 after receiving the attentions of the Luftwaffe. How can your whole political class live with yourselves and tolerate such scenes? How can you all have been in office for so long and not sorted it out? Above all, what happened to the money?

We knew it was fake when she said the Wire was fiction. C'mon, anyone who has watched it can literally draw names to faces...think Jack Young, Martin O'Malley, etc.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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