It's now been widely reported that during what Jesse Jackson thought was an off-mic moment from Sunday's "Fox and Friends," the reverend stated he would like "to cut [Senator Barack Obama's] nuts off." However, a look at the on-air conversation shows that the FNC hosts had to prompt Jackson to say anything positive about Barack Obama's plans for faith based initiatives, the subject that drew his wrath in the first place.
During the July 6 segment, Jackson was discussing health screenings for African Americans and the need to have a low blood pressure. Quite unprompted, during an unrelated question, he suddenly shifted topics from screenings and blurted, "And so, while I'm very concerned about the focus now on faith-based, I'm concerned about a government-based commitment to give us structure and equality whether it is education or health care, because we know unemployment is a factor in people's health." Co-host Ainsley Earhardt later brought the subject up again and queried, "Barack Obama thinks that the government should oversee how these faith-based organizations are using their money, who they are hiring. Do you agree with him on that?" Jackson replied "yeah," but then immediately shifted towards listing all the limitations of faith-based initiatives.
Thursday’s "Newsroom" program on CNN, in a report promoted to be about how "controversial comments are nothing new to Jesse Jackson," was actually a retrospective from two years ago that largely glowed about Jackson’s affiliation with Martin Luther King, Jr., and giving the man a platform to answer his critics. "Newsroom" co-anchor Don Lemon, who interviewed Jackson in the report, remarked of his career, "‘How far soon we forget’ could be theme of Jesse Jackson's last decade or so. After all, it was him, marching or sitting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in all those civil rights photographs." Lemon did mention the leader’s extramarital affair in which he sired a child, but omitted the former Democratic presidential candidate’s bigoted "Hymietown" comments from 1984.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith reacted to Jesse Jackson’s controversial comments about Barack Obama by sympathizing with the left-wing activist: "Honestly to me, as somebody who sat in an Operation Push [Founded by Jesse Jackson] meeting some 30-plus years ago in an old theater in Chicago, hearing this and seeing this, there's something a little sad about it."
While Smith was "a little sad" about Jackson wanting to "cut his [Obama’s] nuts off," liberal guest Keli Goff observed that Jackson was suffering from: "...an illness that I said is plaguing certain aspects of the black community, which I called JNS Syndrome...Jealous Negro Syndrome...I won't call it epidemic because it's only a certain group of people-" Smith then finished her thought: "These guys laid down their lives, or bled the blood, and others are taking-" Goff continued: " Right, right. Are reaping the benefits. You know, the Barack Obamas of the world who've had it, compared to our parents, so easy, in some respects." Apparently Smith "bled the blood" with Jackson and others.
Over the course of three segments, various "Good Morning America" reporters and hosts attempted to understand and explain away Reverend Jesse Jackson's vulgar assertion that he would like "to cut [Senator Barack Obama's] nuts off." During the show open, co-host Diane Sawyer referred to the comments, made while Jackson was prepping to do an interview on Sunday and not aware his mic was on, as "colorful and cutting remarks."
Co-host Chris Cuomo interviewed the reverend and bizarrely insisted, "Clearly, you're a big supporter of Barack Obama..."Clearly? Again, Jackson's assertion was that he would enjoy cutting the "nuts" off the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Would a conservative be given such leeway in dismissing any consideration of real anger? The ABC program acted as though Jackson's meaning and intent were unclear. During a second segment, which featured "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos discussing the issue, an ABC graphic read, "Jackson vs. Obama: What Did Jesse Jackson Mean?"
Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher beat me to it, so here's an excerpt on the media's varying levels of squeamishness in reporting Rev. Jesse Jackson's desire to castrate the presumptive Democratic nominee. Why am I not surprised that AP was particularly delicate?:
So how did the media on Wednesday handle the now-infamous Rev. Jesse Jackson off-mike reference to Barack Obama while awaiting an appearance on Fox and Friends a few days ago?
The New York Times was coy: "Mr. Jackson made disparaging remarks, apparently including a crude reference to male genitalia, about how Mr. Obama was talking to black people." A later Times article cited a "vulgar reference."
But CNN.com let it all hang out, so to speak, quoting Jackson: "See, Barack's been talking down to black people ... I want to cut his nuts off."
See Bonus Coverage at foot: Barnicle accuses Jesse Jackson of "corporate blackmail."
Two veteran members of the Senate, two entirely different treatments from Andrea Mitchell. Reverence for Ted Kennedy; scorn for Strom Thurmond. Guest hosting in Mika Brzezinski's spot on Morning Joe today, Mitchell, emotion in her voice, hailed Kennedy as "valiant" and a "hero." As for Thurmond, Mitchell mocked that he wasn't alive even when he was in the Senate.
The reference to the late South Carolina senator arose in the context of a discussion of the way in which, with the nomination of Barack Obama, the torch of Dem leadership has been passed to a new generation, whereas the same isn't true in John McCain's GOP.
Did you know that violent white men are never arrested for their actions? The Chicago Sun-Times' Mary Mitchell is sure of it, if you aren't. In another of her typically race baiting articles, Mitchell this time says that any time a white man is engaged in violent behavior, he is let off "to go on his merry way," never to be "held accountable" for his actions. Race monger Mitchell is sure of this, see, because she saw a traffic scuffle between two "old white guys" where no arrests were made by Chicago police.
Two "old white guys" let go without arrest after a traffic altercation? Wow, case closed, racism exists, eh?
The general election campaign began in earnest when Barack Obama wrapped up the Democratic nomination the night of June 3. Since then, the New York Times has continued to flatter the Obama campaign with superior coverage, as shown in a story count conducted by Times Watch.
Consistently, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were portrayed as racial trailblazers whose religious beliefs and patriotism (and his lack of a flag pin) came under vicious and unfair attacks by conservatives. Meanwhile, John McCain was portrayed as a stiff, out-of-touch, gaffe-prone speaker struggling to appease the right wing of his party.
Between June 5 and July 5 (skipping June 4 to eliminate the pro-Obama skew from news reports of him clinching the Democratic nomination), the Times ran 90 stories on Barack Obama, compared to 57 on McCain (there was some overlap, as several stories devoted significant space to both candidates). Times Watch logged those stories one of three ways, as either positive, negative or neutral toward the respective candidate. The findings were striking: If Hillary Clinton thought she got an unfair shake from the press against Barack Obama (she did), then John McCain certainly has a legitimate bias beef against the Times.
The Washington Post published a front page story on Sunday headlined "Obama Addresses His Faith: Senator Describes Spiritual Journey." But it completely ignored Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the Trinity United Church of Christ. Obama was allowed to declare to audiences how he "let Jesus Christ into his life" on the south side of Chicago, but the Post utterly left out the fact that it was Rev. Wright who was his spiritual mentor.
Post editors might insist that Jonathan Weisman's story was not a biographical or historical piece so much as a campaign trail piece about how Obama hopes to appeal to evangelical voters who aren't thrilled with John McCain. But doesn't Obama's church factor in when those voters try to decide what kind of Christian he is?
"In my own life, " he said, "it's been a journey that began decades ago on the South Side of Chicago, when, working as a community organizer, helping to build struggling neighborhoods, I let Jesus Christ into my life. I learned that my sins could be redeemed and that if I placed my trust in Christ, that he could set me on the path to eternal life when I submitted myself to his will and I dedicated myself to discovering his truth and carrying out his works."
From Reno, Associated Press reporter Scott Sonner reported actor Dennis Haysbert likes to believe his portrayal as the first black U.S. president on Fox's 24 may have helped pave the way for Barack Obama:
''If anything, my portrayal of David Palmer, I think, may have helped open the eyes of the American people,'' said the actor, who has contributed $2,300 to the Illinois Democrat's presidential campaign.
''And I mean the American people from across the board -- from the poorest to the richest, every color and creed, every religious base -- to prove the possibility there could be an African-American president, a female president, any type of president that puts the people first,'' he said Tuesday.
But that might inspire comparisons of Michelle Obama to Sherry Palmer, not a desirable comparison. NPR tackled this in January on All Things Considered:
He ain't triangulating, he's my post-partisan. That's Eugene Robinson's innovative new MSM means of covering for Barack Obama. As Obama sprints toward the center and away from many of the positions that won him the nomination from the liberal Dem base, WaPo columnist Robinson has suggested that the nominee isn't engaging in the kind of cynical "triangulating" that made Bill Clinton famous. No, Obama's just being the post-partisan he really was all along.
Robinson trotted out his theory on last evening's "Race for the White House" on MSNBC in reaction to Obama's announcement, mirabile dictu, that far from junking Pres. Bush's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives—long a target of the secular left—a President Obama would actually expand the program! Sounds like a cynical ploy to some. But not to Robinson . . .
See Bonus Video at foot: Mika Victimized by Retching Rover!
In polite liberal circles, Ralph Nader's suggestion that Barack Obama "wants to talk white" and avoid appearing like another Jesse Jackson is infra dig. Take, for example, Joan Walsh's reaction on yesterday's Hardball. Said the editor of Salon.com:
I don't think that racism is too strong a word for what he said.
Added NY Times columnist Bob Herbert:
It's a lousy, reprehensible comment.
But as uncomfortable as Nader's statement might make some people, could there be a kernel of truth to it? Joe Scarborough seems to think so. And even Prof. Michael Dyson—Obama fan and commentator on matters racial—seemed to acknowledge that "ghetto-speak" would hurt Barack, going so far as to imitate the kind of street accent that could damage the candidate's campaign.
In a statement reminiscent of Howard Dean’s controversial statement from 2005 about the RNC and "people of color," Time magazine columnist Joe Klein blasted Karl Rove’s recent slam of Barack Obama on Monday’s "Election Center" program on CNN. "I just think that the image is kind of hilarious when you think about it: Barack Obama at a country club sipping a martini. It's kind of a parody of the Republican view of the world. Everybody belongs to -- since when [did] we start letting people like Barack Obama into Republican country clubs?"
"People like Barack Obama"? That sounds like Dean’s "You think the RNC could get this many people of color into a single room?... Maybe if they got the hotel staff in there."
"Election Center" substitute host Wolf Blitzer read Rove’s quote earlier in the segment, which began 22 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program: "Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall, and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."
If we're going to promote a candid discussion of race in our country, we can't jump down the throat of everyone who ventures onto the racial minefield. Rather than finding offense in Roger Simon's suggestion that choosing Bobby Jindal as his VP running-mate would hurt John McCain among racist voters, I propose we simply analyze it. Here's what Simon said on this evening's Hardball, as guest host Mike Barnicle led the Politico reporter and Newsweek's Howard Fineman through a tour d'horizon of possible VP picks.
MIKE BARNICLE: Interesting new Republican face, Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana.
ROGER SIMON: Interesting. Young. Very young, almost too young to run, not quite, he gets over the constitutional limit. But I gotta raise the delicate subject: if you're John McCain, and you know that you're going to get an 'x' percentage of votes based on race, do you pick a dark-skinned vice-presidential candidate, who some people are going to say–wrongly—is black, is a Hindu converted to Catholicism, who's an Indian-American? You know, none of that should matter in American politics, but is it a safe choice, or is it a choice that is going to get everybody chattering? I think McCain is going to go for a safer choice than that.
AP political reporter Charles Babington, who recently touted "ample evidence that Obama is something special," is now warning that Obama is bracing against "race-based ads." Recent examples of "racially tinged" TV images like Obama wearing a turban and native Kenyan gear are "harbingers" of conservative 527-group ads to come. Babington then typically recounted the usual liberal-media suspects on racial politics – the Willie Horton ad and the crumpled-letter ad from Jesse Helms.
But he typically ignored acidulous race-baiting liberal commercials like the NAACP in 2000 suggesting that George W. Bush was dragging black victim James Byrd to death behind a pickup all over again, and the Missouri Democratic Party ad in 1998 that claimed: "When you don’t vote, you let enough church explode.When you don't vote, you let another cross burn." Babington implied that the history of nasty racial politics is a one-way avenue:
On Sunday evening, ABC and CBS presented opposite views on whether racism by white voters will hurt Barack Obama on election day, as each network cited its own polling data. On ABC's World News Sunday, referring to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, anchor Dan Harris reported that "race does not appear to be a major factor," although he qualified that contention by pausing and adding, "right now." But on the CBS Evening News, correspondent Randall Pinkston more pessimistically referred to the "Bradley Effect," the theory that white voters sometimes lie to pollsters about their willingness to vote for a black candidate. Pinkston also found: "In a recent CBS News poll, for white voters who say race is a factor in their presidential choice, McCain leads Obama by nearly 20 points. It's a major problem for Obama with no easy solution." But it is also notable that while both reports focused on the possibility that racism by some white voters might hurt Obama, neither report examined black voters who might choose not to vote for a white candidate out of racism toward whites. (Transcripts follow)
Charlotte Observer columnist Mary C. Curtis is in high dudgeon. She is all twisted up inside over the seeming lack of support that feminists have for Michelle Obama. She has decided to scold all those recalcitrant feminists, too. Yes, she's all upset over this thing wondering in her June 21 Washington Post op-ed, "Where are Obama's feminist defenders?" Curtis is even moaning that black women are second-class citizens, even with feminists. She is all in righteous indignation about the "The Loud Silence Of Feminists."
Curtis is agonizing over the fact that women aren't defending Michelle Obama. She imagines that feminists have failed women, specifically black women. Well, I agree at some point. Feminists have failed women, but the least of which is Michelle Obama. Not that Curtis seemed to notice, but feminists have indeed been silent on the treatment of women in the Muslim world. They have sat silent over forced weddings, beatings, female circumcision of children, rape, stoning and so-called honor killings going on not just in the Middle East, but in every western country that has a sizable Muslim population.
It's rare to hear an MSM figure flatly suggest that a presidential campaign lied, but Joe Scarborough broke out the the l-word today in wondering whether chief Obama strategist David Axelrod did just that when he emphatically denied, on yesterday's show, that there is a concerted "makeover" of Michelle Obama in the works.
Now her husband’s presidential campaign is giving her image a subtle makeover, with a new speech in the works to emphasize her humble roots and a tough new chief of staff. On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama will do a guest turn on “The View,” the daytime talk show on ABC, with an eye toward softening her reputation.
When Axelrod appeared on Morning Joe yesterday at 7:40 AM EDT, Scarborough quizzed him about the matter [dialogue as per closed-caption transcript]. The senior Obama aide's denial of a makeover plan couldn't have been more categorical:
Who needs Fightthesmears.com when you have the New York Times?
Times reporters Michael Powell and Jodi Kantor helped Michelle Obama soften her image in Wednesday's big front-page interview, "After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction." The long, laudatory piece was anchored with a large photo, taking up half the upper fold of the front page, of Michelle Obama listening thoughtfully to her husband's famous race speech back in March.
The Times portrayed criticism of Michelle Obama as either hurtful or out of line. Her controversial comment in Wisconsin, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country,"which suggested for many both a lack of pride in America and an unpleasant self-absorption, was dismissed by the Times as a mere "rhetorical stumble," with the implication that the media overplayed it (the Times certainly didn't).
At least the Times did a rowback on its previous false assertion that conservative bloggers had been behind the rumor about Michelle Obama's "whitey" speech, when in fact, as the Times now writes, it was a "blogger who supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton" (Larry Johnson) who circulated the claim.
Like rock journalists following Bono, the Times reporters seem utterly fascinated by the minutia of Obama's day, while taking a few potshots at a Bush administration it's already condemned as doomed to perdition in the history books.
Like most presidential candidates, Mr. Obama is developing his executive skills on the fly, and under intense scrutiny. The evolution of his style in recent months suggests he is still finding the right formula as he confronts a challenge that he has not faced in his career: managing a large organization.
The skill will become more important should he win the presidency, and his style is getting added attention as the country absorbs the lessons of President Bush's tenure in the Oval Office. Mr. Bush's critics, including former aides, have portrayed him as too cloistered, too dependent on a small coterie of trusted aides, unable to distinguish between loyalty and competence, and insufficiently willing to adjust course in the face of events that do not unfold the way he expects.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," correspondent Jeff Glor praised the courage of Barack Obama for promoting fatherhood during a speech on Father’s Day while running for president: "A job that usually requires safe, focus-group tested messages. This one seemed like anything but." Obama’s speech, in which the Illinois Senator declared that many fathers, particularly in the African-American community, are "M.I.A.," "AWOL," and "...acting like boys instead of men," was described by co-host Maggie Rodriguez as "A blunt Father's Day message from Barack Obama to African-American men."
On ABC’s "Good Morning America," correspondent Jake Tapper reported: "...it was a provocative speech, the first major party African-American presidential candidate in history took the opportunity of Father's Day to deliver some tough love to the African American community on the subject of the disintegration of the black family." The report also featured a clip of Obama’s speech that lasted a full1 minute and 12 seconds.
Don't feel bad for Geraldine Ferraro. Looks like the Hillary supporter who got into hot water back in March for claiming Obama's race was an advantage has landed on her feet, scoring a gig with the English-language edition of the People's Daily, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party.
For some reason, Geraldine apparently decided to adopt a pen name, writing as "Ding Gang." Perhaps a Chinese-language expert out there can explain the hidden meaning behind her choice of alias.
What's that? The author of Obama Phenomenon in U.S. appearing in today's People's Daily isn't Ferraro? It really is by a guy named Gang? Well, can you blame me for thinking I saw Gerry's hand at work in Gang's article? Compare and contrast the comments that put Ferraro in the MSM doghouse, provoking Olbermann into a scatching Special Comment, with Gang's take:
Via Allahpundit at Hot Air, we learned that Whoopi Goldberg delighted the Manhattan liberal theatre crowd with a little Clarence Thomas-bashing while hosting the Tony Awards last night on CBS. Typically, she suggested that Justice Thomas wasn't really a black man. She introduced actor Laurence Fishburne this way:
And here’s a man who found out just how fantastic it is also when he picked up a Tony in Two Trains Running, currently on Broadway as the first African-American Supreme Court Justice – actually the only African-American Supreme -- no, that’s not true. [Laughter and applause] I forgot! I forgot!
Allahpundit also links to an AP story on how black conservatives like Armstrong Williams and J.C. Watts are thinking really hard about voting for Obama. Saying some kind words about the Democrat might be well-mannered, but Watts goes way beyond that to trash Republican efforts at black outreach:
CNN contributor Roland Martin, a known Barack Obama sympathizer, surprisingly isn’t buying the argument that conservatives/Republicans are behind the rumored Michelle Obama "whitey" comment. During a segment on Thursday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," substitute anchor Campbell Brown asked Martin, "Republicans have made it clear, pretty much, that Michelle is fair game here. Are you surprised by the intensity of the attacks?" He replied, "I'm not surprised by it, but I think, also, we can't blame Republicans for everything. It's these idiot Democrats that started some of this stuff."
Apparently, the Chicago media have decided that the meme for the 2008 general election is going to be that anyone who doesn't vote for Barack Obama is a racist because this is the second editorial (that I've seen, anyway) in Chicago stating such a theory. Last week the Daily Herald voiced the assumption and this week it's the Sun-Times with the volatile Andrew Greeley taking up the cause of ridding the world of racism one Obama vote at a time.
Beginning with some meaningless banter where he throws around the names of a few Greek philosophers to sound erudite, Greeley then voices the fear that if Obama loses in November it might prove we are a racist country. "Sen. Barack Obama's victory, we are told by the cheering sections,"Greeley writes, "was a great victory for the American dream. Racism may well be in retreat... What if Obama is defeated? The whole world and most African Americans will scream 'racism!'" Greeley follows that with enough evidence for us to realize that he believes that the charge would be justified. He informs us that any vote against Obama has been thus far based on "bigotry," "racism," etc.
USA Today Supreme Court Reporter Joan Biskupic penned an article today titled "O'Connor's legacy fading on reshaped court." For this particular title, "reshaped" is code for "conservative." Biskupic's article laments several recent conservative decisions of the court, and she frames these decisions as a blow to the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Biskupic literally builds up O'Connor as a national hero.
When retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor visited Capitol Hill recently to speak publicly about her husband's Alzheimer's, she was greeted as a national hero. Senators lauded her historic place as the first woman on the Supreme Court and the justice whose opinions often set the nation's law.
O'Connor, who was frequently the tie-breaking vote in close cases, is further praised for her "middle-ground" practical approach in her decision making. But things have changed since O'Connor's retirement from the high court.
Barack Obama, liberal? Surely you jest. Rachel Maddow found the suggestion so silly, she literally burst out laughing. The Air America host was part of this evening's panel on Race for the White House. David Gregory couldn't complete his reading of Rich Lowry's take on Obama before Maddow let loose.
DAVID GREGORY: Let's go to Smart Take #2. This is Rich Lowry from National Review Online, he's also talking [in a NY Post column] about Obama [emphasis added]:
Obama represents a rejection of triangulating Clintonism. He had no Sister Souljah moment during the primaries. Indeed, he initially embraced his Sister Souljah, in the form of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, introduced to the public in videotaped anti-American rants. Nor did Obama make any creative policy departures, like Clinton's advocacy of welfare reform in 1992. Obama is the fullest flowering of liberal orthodoxy since George McGovern. And yet his candidacy might not be electoral suicide. He has formidable gifts as a politician; he's eloquent, winsome, a quick study. He confronts a Republican Party that, beset by intellectual exhaustion, congressional scandal and an unpopular incumbent president, teeters on the verge of a Watergate-style meltdown. So Democrats contemplate the delicious prospect of having their purity and victory, too.
As Gregory speaks the words "Obama is the fullest flowering of liberal orthodoxy since George McGovern," Maddow can be heard laughing off camera. When Maddow's turn came to comment, she tried to make the case that Obama doesn't make it as a real liberal.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment about CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric’s recent interview with Barack Obama: "And then Obama. The Katie interview.What he thinks of Hillary," a clip of Couric was played: "Do you think you're chemically compatible?" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez then teased an interview with Clinton supporter Congressman Charles Rangel to discuss Hillary getting out of the race: "Coming up in just a couple of minutes we'll talk to one of her key supporters." However, the cameraman mistakenly focused on Couric, who was sitting in the studio. Rodriguez quickly added: "We're also going to talk to Katie Couric about an interview that she did with Barack Obama." [download video here]
In the later segment with co-host Harry Smith, Couric played a longer clip of her interview with Obama, which began with her pushing Clinton for VP: " In our latest poll, 59% of Democratic primary voters, including 46% of your voters, think you should select Senator Clinton to be your running mate. So in the spirit of Kennedy picking Johnson and Reagan choosing Bush, why not pick Senator Clinton?" Couric then asked the chemistry question: "As you know, a lot of it is about chemistry. So just now sitting here talking about it, do you think you're chemically compatible?"
Obama dodged the question, but Couric was persistent: "But what about chemistry, Senator?" Later in the segment, Smith commented: "I love the chemistry question. I love the follow-up on the chemistry question."