Most people reading this have heard the phrase “no good deed goes unpunished.” But in case you haven’t, the editors at the Baltimore Sun have helpfully – though inadvertently – provided us with a case study on just what the phrase means in real time with a sneering editorial they recently published on conservative efforts to clean up the city.
We’ll get to that in a moment, but first a bit of back story.
Brandon Morse wrote Tuesday about the inspiring story of conservative activists who stepped up to the plate to help citizens in the poverty-stricken areas of Baltimore. The effort was organized in the aftermath of the uproar over President Trump’s criticisms of the city and of Rep. Elijah Cummings, whose Congressional district runs through Baltimore.
Baltimore’s WBAL-TV reported on the effort:
Nearly 300 volunteers removed a toilet, chairs, tables and spare tires, among other things, from piles of trash in a west Baltimore alley. The volunteers completely cleared out what was an impassable alley, making a real difference and a real dent in the condition of the neighborhood.
Most of the volunteers don’t live in the neighborhood. Many of them live in other states, such as Ohio and North Carolina, and nearly all of them heard about the cleanup from Scott Presler, the organizer.
“I never intended it to turn into a national event. It was never supposed to be this big,” Presler said.
Presler, who said he is an ardent supporter of Trump, is a grassroots conservative activist who has an enormous social media following. Presler said one tweet last week launched 1,000 trash bags in Monday’s efforts.
Presler, who also told the news outlet that the gathering was not meant to be “pro-Trump” or “anti-Elijah Cummings”, posted numerous photos and videos of the clean-up day on his Twitter page.
Phil Yacuboski from WBAL also posted some photos and videos to his Twitter account:
Here’s video of a pro-#Trump group that organized a community clean-up in west #Baltimore today – organizer @ScottPresler says this ‘this is not a Trump rally or an anti-Rep. Cummings event,’ rather ‘we saw a need.’ Many are here from several states, plus locals too @wbalradio pic.twitter.com/OwN5yN2NRs
— Phil Yacuboski (@WBALPhil) August 5, 2019
A pro-#Trump group organized a community clean-up here in West #Baltimore today, but organizer @ScottPresler says this ‘this is not a Trump rally or an anti-Rep. Cummings event,’ rather ‘we saw a need.’ Many are here from several states, plus locals too @wbalradio pic.twitter.com/s7Ybk2aF4u
— Phil Yacuboski (@WBALPhil) August 5, 2019
You’d think that the volunteerism would be appreciated for what it was, right? Well, it was to residents of the community, as Presler’s videos make clear. But it wasn’t by the liberal editorial board at the Baltimore Sun.
Instead of devoting a significant amount of space on their website to praising the diverse group of volunteers for bringing the community together for positive change, they zeroed in on casting doubts on Presler’s stated motivations for organizing the event.
In a condescending piece titled “We assume it was pure motives that led a Trump supporter to launch a cleanup in Cummings’ district, right?”, here’s what they wrote (bolded emphasis added by me):
The effort was organized by pro-Trump activist Scott Presler. He claimed the event was not political. Yes, he was inspired to come by tweets from President Donald Trump describing the area, represented by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, as a “rodent infested mess.” But the visit wasn’t about showing support or animosity for either man, he said.
Call us skeptical.
Look, we appreciate anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves to help Baltimore. More than 170 people came from all over the country and cleaned up nearly 12 tons of trash, according to Mr. Presler’s Twitter feed. He doesn’t post any photos of the totality of the trash, so we’ll have to take his word for it.
But if this was all about “Americans helping Americans,” why all the videos of Baltimore residents thanking Mr. Trump for bringing attention to the issue? We happen to know that not everybody in West Baltimore feels that way. And in the same posts as the videos, why the frequent reminders that this is in act Mr. Cummings’ district?
Then there’s the photo of a Washington Post front page from the day that President Barack Obama was first elected. Mr. Presler tweeted that volunteers found the strikingly un-yellowed, decade-old newspaper among the trash. “Obama Makes History. U.S. decisively elects first black president,” the headline reads on the page. “It’s been 11 years,” Mr. Presler tweeted in what reads as a not-so-subtle critique of how much good Mr. Obama did for Baltimore.
What the Baltimore Sun is really getting at is revealed in the next paragraph, where they accidentally admit the real reason they’re “skeptical” of Presler’s motivations: because his efforts and those of the other volunteers made the Democrats at all levels of government who have run the city into the ground for decades look bad:
Whatever he says his motives were, Mr. Presler’s presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores. That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well. The bureaucratic, all-talk Democrats strike again. If a crowd of volunteers could clean up 12 tons of trash in 12 hours, how incompetent and helpless must Baltimoreans be if they can’t manage it in decades, right?
.@baltsunopinion: Whatever he says his motives were, Scott Presler’s presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image that the poor people in this city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods. https://t.co/EleeVh4ZPm
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) August 6, 2019
Conservatives literally cannot win with liberals. If they don’t step up to do their part and instead continue to complain behind a keyboard, they’re “part of the problem” and “racists.” But if they do volunteer, they’re still up to no good because they’re making Democrats look bad. Oh, and they’re still “racists.”
I’d say “shame on the Baltimore Sun” if I thought they had any.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –