The Washingtonian, a magazine based in the nation’s capital, provided a new twist in the story about D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser being caught on camera not wearing a mask indoors at a wedding despite her new order reinstating masks be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status. The scoop was that the reporter who first reported the story wasn’t invited to the wedding. Twitter users mocked what many considered e an attempt by the Washingtonian to excuse Bowser’s mask hypocrisy.
Over the weekend, various photos emerged of Bowser attending events without a mask in blatant disregard for her new mask mandate. Most notably, the Democrat mayor appeared in a wedding she officiated at The Line DC hotel in the district’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. Although Bowser’s office told Fox News that the mayor “wore a mask indoors in compliance with the mandate,” a photo provided by The Washington Examiner showed that wasn’t true.
On Monday, the Washingtonian reported on Bowser’s scandal but added a new detail and shared it in a tweet.
“UPDATE: The Washington Examiner writer who published photos of Mayor Bowser maskless at a wedding over the weekend was not invited to the wedding,” the magazine shared.
Washington Examiner reporter Tiana Lowe was the first to report on Bowser not wearing a mask indoors and provided a picture which shows Bowser at a table without a mask on.
Bowser’s office released a statement saying if the mayor did have her mask off, it was because she was eating or drinking.
“If Mayor Bowser was photographed indoors without a mask, it was during the indoor dinner, when she was eating or drinking,” a statement from her office reads. “The Mayor wore a mask indoors in compliance with the mandate, and the organizers and venue staff worked to create a safe environment for the staff and guests.”
The Washingtonian did not deny the validity of the pictures but suggested Bowser was complying with the mandate with only eating and drinking as an exception.
“It’s not clear in the photo whether Bowser had been eating or drinking—per the new indoor mask mandate, that’s a permissible reason to remove your mask,” the Washingtonian wrote.
Nevertheless, this update was considered meaningless at best and sinister at worst by Twitter users.
“The level of simping is strong with this one,” Newsbusters editor Curtis Houck commented
Former Washington Examiner reporter Anthony Leonardi tweeted “That’s quite literally how most journalism happens. Lol.”
“Everyone knows you’re allowed to report on the powerful only at their direction and only with their explicit permission,” Washington Examiner commentator T. Becket Adams said
Lowe, did not respond to the Washingtonian’s request for comment. However, Lowe later did comment on the article from her own Twitter account.
“LMAO I already said I wasn’t invited this morning on @WMALDC w/@LarryOConnor & @amber_athey. When a reporter gets information indicating that an elected official is violating her own law, she has a professional duty to…report the news. A novel concept these days, I know.” Lowe tweeted.
She also added “The real moral of this story: I will chase the tips and stories a lot of the DC press won’t. My DMs are open & my email is public. Send me tips about politicians of any political stripe and I’ll get the story regardless of whether or not I was ‘invited’ to the party.”
Corporate media pundits have also appeared to downplay Bowser’s actions by either ignoring the story or attempting to excuse it. The Washington Post, The New York Times, and MSNBC initially ignored the story until Bowser’s comments on the matter while CNN hosts attempted to justify her actions.
“I get it, if you’re a politician you don’t want a picture that raises questions, that’s bad politics. The question is whether she did anything functionally, policy-wise wrong and I don’t know,” CNN’s “New Day” co-host John Berman said. “I mean, I guess it really depends on if she really was eating or drinking at the time she was photographed not wearing a mask.”
The current mask mandate in Washington D.C. orders everyone older than 2 years of age to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.