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July 22, 2009

The Wire may be off the air, but O'Malley still dealing with Carcetti drama

The popular HBO series The Wire has been off the air for more than a year, but the show that spun a critical portrayal of Baltimore, its crime, its politicians (and yes, its newspaper) continues to be a topic that Gov. Martin O’Malley is forced to discuss. Witness his appearance on MSNBC Live with Carlos Watson on Monday.

Watson introduced O’Malley, former Baltimore mayor and now Democratic governor, as “one of the real-life inspirations for the mayor of the hit TV show The Wire.”

O’Malley begged to differ: “I would take issue with whether or not I’m the inspiration for The Wire," he said. "I’m the antidote to The Wire.”

Watson replied: “Well said. You ran the city of Baltimore for eight years, I believe it was, and with much greater success than The Wire demonstrates.”

But O’Malley didn’t let it go there: “Forty percent reduction in violent crime, thanks to the people of Baltimore.”

David Simon, The Wire’s creator, has insisted that the mayoral character Tommy Carcetti — while "reflective" of O’Malley — is actually a composite of dozens of politicians he covered when he was a reporter at The Baltimore Sun.

But that hasn’t stopped the comparisons between the fictional and real-life versions of a young, boyishly handsome and ambitious politician who rose to power in City Hall on the crime issue. Even after the last episode — of the show, that is.

Posted by Laura Smitherman at 12:13 PM | | Comments (7)


Another biased Sun reporter pro OMalley. Is this an article or a press release?
What a shock. The Wire's depiction of Baltimore city is dead on correct. OMalley was no antidote. Yet another broken promise homicides under 175 per year. I know I live here. Drug dealers in the alley,police tape up the street, helicopters overhead,
shootings out front, highest property taxes in the state etc.........
And for what? I can't walk anywhere without my 50 pound dog. Schools I dare not send my son too. Witnesses being intimidated and threatened in court. Liberal justice allowing teenagers loose to shot five year olds in the head.
I don't what is worse. THE SUN's cheerleading for OMalley
or the Governor himself proclaimations.

O'Malley has publicly admitted in the past that he has never watched an entire episode of "The Wire," let alone the entire series.

So his reflexive, defensive dismissal of the show's portrayal of Baltimore and suggestion that he is "the antidote" should be taken for what they're worth -- which is not much.

The show's portrayal of Carcetti is actually quite nuanced, showing -- among other things -- his evolution from idealist to amoral ladder-climbing politician who cares about nothing but working the stats and being elected governor.

It's no wonder O'Malley doesn't care for that particular character arc. But the show is hardly simplistic; it's an incredibly complicated picture of an American city in all its glories and imperfections.

"Forty percent reduction in violent crime." The irony is precious. If there was one thing The Wire hammered into our heads, it's that stats of that exact nature are constantly being cooked up by politicians who want to show how well they are doing.

As was so often the case in the show, the real Baltimore has a murder rate that remains stubbornly high. One must question why other "violent crime" would decline so impressively when folks are still on the streets killing each other almost daily. "Cooking the stats" is easily the most plausible explanation.

O'Malley is a fraud. At least Kurt Schmoke had the audacity to try something new -- something other than cramming numbers down our throats and telling a death-riddled city that it's now safer than ever.

Hopefully O'Malley's Governorship will go the way of the show next election

The wire was funny, but what got to me was when O'Malley said Marylanders are paying $28,000.00 a year for health insurance.
I understand he likes to exaggerate the situation to us, but if I told him once I told him a million times he shouldn't do this on national TV.

You mean the Carcetti who won his mayoral race by facing two black democrats didn't exactly match O'Malley winning by the black vote being split?

Anyone who doesn't think O'Malley was Carcetti (you can run down the roster) is kidding themselves. Simons is being polite and im sure he did blend a few other traits because O'Malley isn't half as smart as Carcetti.

But hey, at least Carcetti didnt pas the largest tax hike in Maryland history like O'Malley did

u made governor on bge issue md has the highest energy cost in the country. thats a fact. congratulations. if u r trying to cut our md budget lets eliminate you.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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