What Happens When Liberal Heroines Crumble?

In February 2011, Vogue magazine published a notorious puff piece on Asma al-Assad, the first lady of Syria. You can see a photo of the article here–it was titled “A Rose in the Desert”–but if you try to access it online, you get this:

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Down the memory hole, in other words. Vogue doesn’t want us to remember that it was shilling for Assad, now that hundreds of thousands have died.

In July of last year, Vogue did a similar puff piece on Marilyn Mosby, the States Attorney in Baltimore who charged six officers in the death of Freddie Gray. I wrote a post on the Vogue article, which I called an “adoring profile,” here. Vogue treated Mosby pretty much the same way it did Mrs. Assad, and for the same reason: Ms. Mosby is an attractive young woman. Vogue gushed:

[S]tate’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby stepped up to the podium and did what no lead prosecutor in America had done in many turbulent months: bring swift and severe charges against police officers in the death of a black man.

The officers were mostly black, too. Mosby is black. The judge who eventually heard the cases is black. Nevertheless, on the Left, the Freddie Gray story was all about race.

A stunned cheer rose from the crowd as 35-year-old Mosby made her statement. The six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, who had died in April from spinal injuries sustained in custody, would face 28 counts, ranging from false imprisonment to second-degree murder. In forceful language, Mosby described her department’s investigation and how the state’s medical examiner had ruled Gray’s death a homicide. …

“I have heard your calls for ‘No justice, no peace,’” she said. “However, your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of Freddie Gray.”

Suddenly this young prosecutor who had served barely 100 days in office had become a national figure. …

Selma director Ava DuVernay tweeted that she wanted make a documentary about Mosby. The U.S. congressman for Maryland Elijah Cummings, a central figure in the Baltimore protests, told the cameras, “Thank God [for] Marilyn Mosby and her team.” …

Dressed in a simple pantsuit, sleeveless blouse, and not a trace of makeup, Mosby is warm and willing to accept hugs from fellow diners who thank her “for giving us justice.” Otherwise, she is every inch the prosecutor: straight-backed, concise, a portrait of self-control. …

Mosby attended a Prince concert on Mother’s Day. (Prince brought Mosby briefly onstage—an incident that brought a welter of negative press. “I’m a fan,” she says simply. “Prince hadn’t been to Baltimore for fourteen years. He called me onstage, and what am I going to do, say no?”) …

We load into her SUV to head for City Hall. “Keep doing what you’re doing!” a woman calls across the parking lot, and once inside Mosby is embraced by city officials, community members, and, notably, uniformed police officers.


That was then, and this is now. Mosby’s highly-publicized prosecutions of Baltimore police officers have collapsed. She is 0-for-3 with a no-nonsense African-American judge. In the wake of her latest defeat, in what was thought to be her best case, the Baltimore Sun has a less effusive view of Mosby’s career:

Through three trials, Mosby’s senior prosecutors have yet to gain a conviction against the officers charged in Gray’s arrest and death. …

Mosby was in the courtroom Thursday when Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams found Goodson not guilty of the seven counts against him, ranging from second-degree depraved-heart murder to reckless endangerment.

While Williams read the verdict, Mosby shook her head. She did not speak publicly afterward; Williams has imposed a gag order in the case. …

“This is their Waterloo. This is their Gettysburg,” said attorney Warren A. Brown, a critic of Mosby’s who predicts that she will face several challengers for re-election in two years. “She is virtually persona non grata in the white community, and her support is waning in the black community and will continue to wane if she continues to lose these cases.”


Vogue hasn’t deep-sixed its portrait of Marilyn Mosby, and probably won’t: hundreds of thousands haven’t died, after all. But I can’t help wondering: do liberals ever say they’re sorry? When they try to make heroines out of leftist figures like Mosby, do they ever follow up? Will Vogue‘s readers ever learn what became of the courageous crusader for racial justice, Marilyn Mosby? Will they find out that Ms. Mosby either grossly overcharged six innocent police officers, or else bungled their prosecution?

I don’t suppose so. Vogue will ignore Mosby’s downfall, just as it did Mrs. Assad’s disgrace, and move on to its next liberal heroine. One nice thing about being a liberal is, no one expects you to learn from experience.