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The Reed Administration's Response to Bill Torpy's November 12 Column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Post Date:11/13/2017 4:57 PM

Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Anne Torres, Director
404-330-6423, office
404-904-2618, cell
amtorres@atlantaga.gov

Jenna Garland, Press Secretary
404-330-6612, office
404-357-5579, cell
jgarland@atlantaga.gov

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 13, 2017

News Release

The Reed Administration's Response to Bill Torpy's November 12 Column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Statement from Tom Sabulis

ATLANTA - "Bill Torpy’s column, published in Sunday’s paper, displays a common but unfortunate behavior. It’s typical for individuals accused of using racial language or stereotypes to deflect back on those who pointed it out, as he does in his 44th piece attacking Mayor Reed. As the saying goes, a blind person wearing a blind fold could see what Torpy is doing here.

When Mayor Reed faced Mary Norwood in the run-off election in 2009, their campaigns did not devolve into race-based rhetoric or attacks. Rather, it was outside groups, including local press, who pushed racial analyses and arguments. That’s held true in 2017.

Reading the first three paragraphs of his column, you might ask yourself if Torpy is trying to sweep his own paper’s coverage of this election, and others, under the rug. It was the AJC that endlessly promoted its piece asking if Atlanta is ‘ready’ for a white Mayor. It was an AJC political writer who described the race between a black woman and a white woman for the Democratic nomination for Governor as a contest between ‘Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.’ Recall that the official AJC twitter account tagged prominent black journalists and intellectuals in tweets promoting the ‘ready for a white mayor’ story earlier this year, and was roundly criticized by national journalists such as Roland Martin.

His defensiveness suggests that perhaps Mr. Torpy has become aware that he and the state’s paper of record bear responsibility in the racial rhetoric of this election, and for how nasty it has already been.

Torpy defends himself again by claiming to employ ‘a time-honored tool of journalism’ to analyze past campaign contributions, but notice how he moves the goalposts: Mayor Reed’s campaign contributions from airport vendors in 2009 were comparable overall to competitors Mary Norwood and Lisa Borders because he raised substantially more funding than them from other donors. Yet Torpy lists only the total dollars for Mayor Reed, but both the total and percentages for Norwood and Borders. That’s called manipulating the numbers to back up your premise.

Sunday’s column suggests - in a highly sexist manner - that Keisha Lance Bottoms is not a capable, accomplished public figure and elected official in her own right. This past weekend, he insultingly called her a ‘coat holder.’  Again he suggests that the Mayor is solely responsible for her rise. Notably, Torpy omits her record of achievement including her tenure as a Judge in Fulton County State Court and 20-year career maintaining a private law practice. He instead chooses to diminish her qualifications and record at every opportunity – something he has never done to Mary Norwood.

Mayor Reed has argued that the AJC and its partner station, WSB-TV, have one set of standards for some candidates, and a different set for others. This truth is borne out by their coverage of the election. For example: the AJC did not consider Cathy Woolard, who finished with a strong third place showing, a contender for the election, and offered her little meaningful coverage or scrutiny.  The reason they missed her rise is obvious: they spent more time propping up the candidacy of Peter Aman, their other preferred candidate.

Here’s another example: The paper reported on November 3 that Mary Norwood had raised $1.5 million total, ahead of Keisha Lance Bottom’s $1.4 million. While a previous story acknowledged that both city vendors and corporations have given to Mary Norwood, by focusing its coverage on contributions from airport contractors, the AJC has avoided a thorough analysis of her campaign contributions, which surely includes donations from other special interest groups which are worthy of equal scrutiny.

The AJC continues to get it wrong, in an obvious and undeniable reflection of their suburban focus, with the City of Atlanta as their perpetual foil. Despite the fact that as it now stands, the City of Atlanta is now in the strongest financial condition it has ever been in more than 40 years.

Mayor Reed has made his endorsement and Bill and the AJC have made theirs. We look forward to what the voters decide on December 5, 2017."

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 For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @CityofAtlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed

 

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