CNN's Soledad: Rev. Wright Speech a 'Home-Run'

Were they commenting on the same speech? Rev. Jeremiah Wright goes before the Detroit NAACP, claims that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and offers a simpering, unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak. CNN's Soledad O'Brien gushes that the speech was a "home run" and "really funny." But over at Morning Joe, Wright's words prompted a panel member to rip the reverend as a "mediocrity" and a "buffoon."

View video here.

Soledad O'Brien was in the hall when Wright spoke. She reported on the speech at the top of CNN's 6 AM ET hour.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: The whole thing, frankly, was really funny. I think a lot of people have seen Rev. Wright defined as controversial, defined as angry, defined as anti-American: not in that speech. Not in that speech at all. He was funny, he was witty. This is a guy who's got two masters and his doctorate in divinity. Here is a guy who speaks five languages, they took pains in his introduction to point out all his accomplishments.
She continued.
O'BRIEN:You know, he was preaching to the choir as I said: 10,000 people who absolutely were hanging on every word, literally falling out of their chairs at some times, John, because some of that speech was so, so funny. But the most serious thing, I think, is when he talked about differences, and at one point in differences in learning styles between white kids and African-American kids. And here's a little bit of what he had to say.
Cut to clip from speech.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: Only black children 50 years ago were singled out as speaking bad English. In the 1961, it's been all over the internet now. John Kennedy could stand at the inauguration and say [attempting to imitate JFK's Boston accent]: "ask not what your country can do for you. Ask rather what you can do for your country." How do you spell "ask"? [which Wright pronounced "esk" in supposed imitation of JFK].
O'BRIEN [chuckling]: And he went on like that in a similar vein. And again, in the context of the speech it was very, very funny. It was quite amusing. But he went on at length about these learning differences: right brain versus left brain, and I would suspect there are lots of people who, who work in education who are going to say, well, maybe some of that's not quite accurate. That, actually, all children learn differently. So I think that might kind of an interesting thing that people are going to be examining more closely
But as far as Reverend Wright is concerned, it was a great speech from his perspective. It was a home-run, not just to the 10,000 people attending. But I think it really got across the Reverend Wright who he thinks he is and how he wants to be defined.

Morning Joe played the same Kennedy clip, rolling it longer to include Rev. Wright mocking LBJ and Ted Kennedy's accents, with the pastor adding "nobody said to them you speak bad English. Only to a black child!"

Which elicited this from the panel.

WILLIE GEIST: Tucker, with all due respect to the Reverend, what the hell is he talking about?

TUCKER CARLSON: What a mediocrity! I mean, that's the embarrassing thing here. It's not just that he's anti-white and anti-American, all the things that have gotten so much publicity. It's this guy has been held up by Barack Obama as some deep theologian, as his spiritual mentor! And he's kind of buffoon.

A bit later, another clip from the speech was aired in which Rev. Wright contrasted the enthusiastic way in which pastors preach in black churches with the subdued approach of white pastors. Rev. Wright repeatedly imitated such a pastor of pallor, using a simpering voice. I urge you to watch the video.

Let's review: Reverend Wright claims that blacks learn with different parts of their brain than do whites, and mocks preachers of a different race, imitating their speech in an unflattering manner. If a white pastor had done the same, the MSM would be in an uproar. But CNN seems to think it's a "home run."

The most O'Brien is willing to say about Rev. Wright's remarks about blacks and whites learning with different parts of their brain is that it was "interesting" and that some educators might say "some of that's not quite accurate." Imagine that John McCain's self-described "spiritual guide" had made the same remarks. Is there any way CNN doesn't lead with something along the lines "McCain Pastor Claims Black Brains Different"? How long before CNN would trot out Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and a variety of psychologists and neuroscientists to denounce and debunk such claims?

And what if that same McCain pastor had mockingly imitated black preachers? How many milliseconds before cries of "racism" would echo through the MSM? O'Brien said not a word about it.

Note: Here is an extended video clip from last night's CNN of O'Brien and Roland Martin gushing over the speech, with O'Brien going so far as to try to explain away Rev. Wright's "God damn America" line.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.