Clarence Page: 'Right-Wing Wouldn't Have' Rev. Wright Story 'If it Wasn't for the Mainstream Media'
If there was a contest each week for the dumbest comment made by a member of the media, this would likely be last week's prohibitive favorite.
On the syndicated Chris Matthews Show this weekend, during a discussion about Barack Obama's America-hating Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page actually said with a straight face, "Right-wing wouldn't have that story if it wasn't for the mainstream media" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Well Kathleen, obviously it got blown out of the water, the Obama people clearly love it coming out this week, right? They loved it.
KATHLEEN PARKER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: And everybody jumped on it. But there are people on the Obama side afraid that in the end, you can play the ethnic card, that foreign card, are they afraid that it will work against him?
PARKER: Sweetie, I don't think a Mormon is going to play the foreign card. That's dangerous stuff.
MATTHEWS: That’s a homegrown religion.
PARKER: The [unintelligible] are not going to go into the black church. This is not Mitt Romney’s approach to things. And of course, he's, he has no control over…
MATTHEWS: What about the Sean Hannity piece? Hannity was right on that, we just saw him this week, Thursday night saying go for it, go out and use this stuff.
PARKER: Well, yeah, Sean Hannity wants him to. A lot of Republicans do and a lot of the sort of further right people feel like, look, we never vetted Obama sufficiently. Talking about us, the media. And to some extent they're not wrong about that. They do feel that we kind of pulled back on Reverend Wright. It was sort of like President Obama will not, then candidate Obama said, “Yes, I was, you know, I was in his church for 20 years but I'm not responsible for what he says and I can't say that characterizes me.”
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: ABC reported Reverend Wright, by the way. We ought to remember that. Mainstream media, right-wing wouldn't have that story if it wasn't for the mainstream media.
According to LexisNexis, the first mention of "Jeremiah Wright" by ABC was on Good Morning America on March 13, 2008, just five days before Obama gave his race speech in Philadelphia.
Prior to this point, despite what Page said, the media had largely boycotted the junior senator from Illinois' affiliation with the Trinity Church and its America-hating reverend.
It was only until conservative media members pushed this issue far enough that the Obama-loving press were forced to cover the story, and the candidate himself had to respond to it.
Way out in front of everyone on this subject was Fox News's Sean Hannity who interviewed Wright on March 1, 2007, one day after breaking the story about Obama's ties to Trinity:
As such, Hannity was more than a year ahead of virtually all of the mainstream media on this subject, leading other conservative talk show hosts as well as bloggers to follow suit.
For Page to now claim the MSM were responsible for bringing the right-wing this story is preposterous, and will likely give Hannity quite a chuckle on Monday.
More importantly, Obama-lovers in the press that clearly didn't want to discuss Wright in 2008 don't want to now.
As such, their play is going to be similar to Page's claiming that this was all addressed in the previous election cycle and therefore old news.
They will also depict any media outlet or Super PAC raising this issue as racist.
Anything they can do to get Obama reelected.