Blogger Patterico Calls Out LA Times Coverage of Obama-Wright

Lead Los Angeles Times scold Patrick Frey, aka Patterico, ripped into the Times's Saturday story on Barack Obama and the sermons of Trinity United Church of Christ Pastor Jeremiah Wright, giving us yet another reason to be thankful for New Media:

Patterico accurately notes the following (bold and italics are in original):

(The Times) downplays the 20-year relationship Obama has had with the pastor, and fails to report or accurately describe the most incendiary things Wright has said. For example, the article doesn’t even bother to tell readers that Wright screamed “God damn America!” in a sermon, or that Wright suggested America deserved to get attacked on September 11. Nor does the article tell readers any details regarding the intimacy of the relationship between Wright and Obama.

A reader unfamiliar with the facts will come away with exactly the impression that Obama wants to convey: that 1) Wright is nothing more than the pastor of Obama’s church; 2) Wright has merely spoken forcefully about racism in this country; and 3) McCain has had a similar problem in being linked to a religious figure with objectionable views.

Well, gee then, what’s the big deal??

..... (The article) says merely that Wright “drew parallels between the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks and the suffering of blacks through years of American history.” Wright did much more than that; he suggested that this country deserved to be attacked on September 11. In his first sermon after September 11, he mocked the idea that we would be “indignant” about the attacks, screaming out: “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” You can view the footage in Brian Ross’s report on Rev. Wright here.

The editors know that this statement by Wright is poisonous to Obama’s campaign — but somehow, they don’t get around to mentioning it.

..... Obama’s campaign must be thrilled with the “scrutiny” of this L.A. Times article.

Other things that Patterico didn't mention in Scott Martelle's report (I'm not going to say he missed them, because when it comes to monitoring the Times, he misses very little) include these:

  • The mandatory "mean Republicans will jump on this" citation -- "'It's the kind of thing that in the general election the Republicans will really work him over on,' (Clinton Democratic strategist David) Doak said."
  • An attempt to equate a controversy over a supporter's previous statements to one over a pastor and 20-year mentor -- Martelle spent six paragraphs on John McCain's endorsement by San Antonio-based pastor John Hagee. McCain, in case Martelle forgot, is from Arizona, doesn't attend Hagee's church, hasn't called him a "mentor," and hasn't written a book whose title was inspired by the preacher.
  • Holding more bad news which should have been at least mentioned earlier in the piece until the very end -- news, reported by the Chicago Tribune, that longtime Obama fundraiser and now-indicted Tony Rezko had raised a great deal more money for Obama than previously thought.

It is coverage like that seen in the Times, which in this case I would call a "Wright-wash," that makes one grateful for New Media watchdogs like Patterico.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.