Nancy King Denies Darker “Direction” to WaPo

In a Washington Post article about the challenges of being a Muslim candidate for office right now (fasting for Ramadan on a campaign schedule? Difficult.), we find an update to the Saqib Ali/Nancy King story we blogged about this week.  On the question of whether her campaign materials used an image of her opponent, State Delegate Saqib Ali, which had been altered to make his complexion darker, Maryland State Senator Nancy King elaborated on the denial her campaign provided to us on Wednesday:

…there was “absolutely no offense meant by it.”

“I’m not sure what happened with it. It could have been an error in our proofing. It could have been a printing error,” King said. “He infers that I did that to make his skin look dark. That’s not what this campaign has been about from the get-go. We live in a very diverse district and we don’t even need to go in that direction.”

Interesting. On Wednesday, King’s staff emailed me to say that they did not alter any photographs– which insinuates that the printer did. If the printer did that without campaign authorization, that’s unusual. I’ve worked on campaigns and usually there is someone who proofs what a printer creates, and someone else who proofs it a second time. Did King’s staff not notice the darkened skin? Is that the error to which she refers? And finally, let’s circle back to this:

We live in a very diverse district and we don’t even need to go in that direction.

So that “direction” is for more homogeneous districts? What exactly does this mean? It’s not necessary to “go in that direction”, but…if…it…was? Why not categorically condemn such coded messages, call it an unfortunate error, apologize for not catching it and move on?