I'm beginning to see Joe Scarborough's skirmishes with Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe as mere batting practice for the much more serious battles he undertakes in the evening with Rachel Maddow on Race for the White House.
As Noel Sheppard documented, Maddow and Scarborough tangled on April 17th, with Joe possibly having exited the set in the end. The pair were back at it on this evening's "Race," the Air America host this time accusing Scarborough of "tying Barack Obama to Hitler."
Maddow's theme throughout the show was that the media has devoted too much coverage to the Rev. Wright matter. David Shuster, subbing for host David Gregory, lit the fuse.
In a particularly dire analysis on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co- host Harry Smith reacted to the recent media tour of Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and declared: "He's being called the 'Pastor of Disaster' for the effect he's having on Barack Obama's campaign. Why is Reverend Jeremiah Wright taking his case to the public now?"
Smith began the segment on Wright by observing that: "Well, the month of April has probably been the longest month of Senator Barack Obama's life. He started off this month by distancing himself from comments made by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Now he's doing it again."
Smith then talked to Democratic strategist, Joe Trippi, who said of Wright’s media appearances: "It's a nightmare for the Obama campaign. They can't like this at all and they've got no control." Smith went on to comment on Obama’s initial speech in Philadelphia that addressed Reverend Wright: "The speech on race that was so lauded, almost forgotten now." He followed up by asking Trippi: "...is this a campaign killer, can this be a campaign killer?"
Appearing on the April 29 edition of "The View," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proved his intellectual superiority to Joy Behar punching holes in her very shallow debate points. Also, in discussing the ongoing Reverend Wright controversy, Whoopi Goldberg placed Billy Graham in league with Wright and Louis Farrakhan. [audio version of embedded video available here]
In challenging Newt Gingrich’s assertion that there’s a sympathy on the far left for America haters such as William Ayers, Behar inquired, "there’s no romance going on between the hard right of this country and Saudi Arabia let’s say?" Gingrich swiftly answered "the hard right in this country deeply dislikes Saudi Arabia as the source of Wahabbist funding."
Near the end of Sunday's Meet the Press, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell boldly stated that racism has been a "real factor" in the Obama vote on the ground in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Apparently, because many voters are racist, they have a "willingness to believe totally erroneous things about Obama," like he didn't put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. (Ahem, Andrea, there's photographic evidence of that "totally erroneous" charge.)
Let me just say something from being on the ground in Pennsylvania and in Ohio. I think racism is a real factor here. I don't think it's being polled correctly because I don't think it can be polled correctly. I think it is what you see in some of his failure to connect with a particular sector of the electorate.
One small step for David Axelrod, one giant leap for Barack Obama away from Jeremiah Wright . . .
When chief Obama strategist Axelrod appeared at the end of this evening's Hardball, I expected him to dodge the current Rev. Wright controversy with some bromide about the reverend's right to express his opinions. But—in evidence of just how badly Wright's current comments are hurting Obama—Axelrod surprised me by acknowledging that he wished Wright hadn't piped up and suggesting that the good reverend's out for Numero Uno. Axelrod did manage to work in a blame-the-media angle.
View video here. [Note: Axelrod comments come after Matthews takes shot at Bill Kristol.]
Are Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s comments shouting "God damn America" comparable to Rosa Parks famous refusal to give up her seat? According to "The View’s" Sherri Shepherd it is. Discussing Wright on the April 28 edition, Shepherd, with Joy Behar’s backing, called Wright’s anger "righteous" and compared it to Rosa Parks’ famous protest.
SHEPHERD: And I remember, I remember you said, not going back, but you said "when can we go to the place where they say ‘forgive them they know not what they do’?" Anger is sometimes a very good thing, because I’m thinking of Rosa Parks. Had she not been angry and said "no I’m not going to get up. I’m tired my feet hurt."
BEHAR: Yes, righteous rage.
SHEPHERD: It’s righteous and that’s what Jeremiah has.
HASSELBECK: Enlighten me.
SHEPHERD: No, but I’m saying he had a righteous anger. Martin Luther King was angry, he was very angry.
Later in the segment on CNN’s "Newsroom" between Tony Harris, David Gergen, and Roland Martin after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright speech at the National Press Club (which Mark Finkelstein blogged about earlier), Gergen suggested that "it’s time for him [Rev. Wright] to get off the stage, and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on." He also twice characterized the whole affair as a "sideshow" [audio available here].
Shortly after a commercial break which came in the middle of the discussion, Gergen, in response to a question from "Newsroom" co-host Tony Harris, said of Rev. Wright, "Every time he appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for."
Gergen then talked about how the Rev. Wright issue was a distraction, and how the preacher should have handled himself after the controversy broke, all the while heaping praise on him, and at the end, making his "move on" suggestion.
How bad was Reverend Wright's appearance before the National Press Club this morning? Bad enough that even CNN contributor Roland Martin—who yesterday enthused about Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP, who gave Wright's chat with Bill Moyers an 'A'—flunked it with an 'F.' Bad enough that David Gergen condemned it as "narcissistic almost beyond belief." Bad enough that, introducing a panel discussion of the speech, the palpably distressed CNN Newsroom host Tony Harris let out an audible groan of "ah, boy," and later wondered how much damage had been done.
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."
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.
This week's Fox News Watch was a mix of the candid, the intriguing and the downright comical. Let's start with the humor. Well-intentioned liberal panel member Jane Hall, wringing her hands over the fact that the Wright matter has injected race into the campaign, got off this bit of unintentional comedy.
JANE HALL: Unfortunately, this is going to be what's going to be associated [with Obama]. I mean, it's like Willie Horton, except that Obama knew Reverend Wright,* and on Fox and other networks he is visually linked, it gives one more excuse to run this incendiary footage. I really regret that race, which Obama tried to transcend, is now going to become a very ugly subject in this race.
So it's unfair to pin this Wright stuff on Obama, except for the fact that, well, it's . . . fair. Moreover, whose fault is it that race has been injected into the race? If Obama were really the kind of person to transcend race, he wouldn't have been hanging around with Rev. Wright for 20 years.
The Daily Record in Baltimore, Maryland recently published a story by Brendan Kearney that oddly seems to present a conflict between a bank employing Islamic Shari'ah law with its American investments and some black American borrowers and painting it as a racist issue. Sadly, the real story, that of Islamic law being imposed on American investors, is sidelined in order to pursue the race card. (Full story reprinted at BlackEnterprise.com)
As The Record reports, a black couple in Baltimore -- I identify their race because it is pivotal to how The Daily Record reports the story -- had contracted with the Church's Chicken restaurant chain to open a new outlet in Baltimore. Unfortunately for the entrepreneurial couple, as they were investing in their chicken outlet, Church's Chicken was purchased by Crescent Capital Investments Inc., the US affiliate of the Bahrain-based First Islamic Investment Bank BSC. And, upon the restaurant chain's purchase, these new Islamic corporate owners decided to institute Shari'ah laws upon their investments.
This caught the Beasleys new restaurant in a tough spot because pork products were on the morning breakfast menu for the Church's Chicken chain. Because Shari'ah law principles had been imposed on the Beasleys' new restaurant, they would be barred from serving their breakfast menu items, their corporate owners informed them. This barring from being able to serve their breakfast items, the couple maintains, contributed to the restaurant's failure and their eventual bankruptcy.
Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC gave attention to revelations which first surfaced last February that employees of some Planned Parenthood clinics expressed a willingness to accept donations from callers who expressed the blatantly racist motivation of wanting to see more black children aborted, with a couple of the Planned Parenthood employees even seeming to express agreement with the racist statements. O'Reilly interviewed conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham about the attention she has given to the issue on her show, and played a clip of one of the phone calls. (Transcript follows)
In February, a conservative student publication at UCLA, The Advocate, revealed that it had called a number of Planned Parenthood clinics pretending to be interested in donating money to the organization while feigning a racist intention of wanting to reduce the number of black children. O'Reilly played one clip:
AUDIO OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE DONOR: Hello, Autumn. I'm interested in making a donation today.
AUDIO OF FEMALE PLANNED PARENTHOOD EMPLOYEE: Fantastic!
DONOR: I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group. Would that be possible?
Bob Herbert: voice of reason? On economics and the role of government, no. On the dynamics of the Dem nomination race? Actually, yes. In both his TV appearances and columns, Herbert, a military veteran who grew up largely in a comfortable New Jersey suburb, comes across as more clear-eyed and down-to-earth, less angry and ideological, than his NY Times confreres like Paul Krugman or Frank Rich.
Take Herbert's column of this morning, Heading Toward the Danger Zone. My sense is that, at heart, Herbert backs Obama. But that doesn't deter the columnist from offering an unblinking assessment of the very perilous electoral path on which Obama finds himself. Let's work backwards from Herbert's stunning conclusion [emphasis added]:
One of Senator Obama’s favorite phrases is “the fierce urgency of now.” There is nothing more fiercely urgent for him right now than to reassure voters and superdelegates that an Obama candidacy will not lead to a Democratic debacle in November.
Interviewed by Bill Moyers for a PBS show to be aired on the night of April 25, 2008, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. accused people of trying to paint him as "un-American" or "some sort of fanatic" for purposes of harming the candidacy of Barack Obama. (AP Photo/PBS, Robin Holland, HO)
In an attempt to rehabilitate Jeremiah Wright and, by extension, Senator Barack Obama's connection to the man, Friday's "Good Morning America" featured two segments on the "soft-spoken," patriotic pastor, a man who urged God to damn America. Reporter David Wright, a well-known Obama partisan, described an appearance Pastor Wright made with liberal PBS journalist Bill Moyers. Wright cooed, "But the soft-spoken man who sits down with Bill Moyers couldn't seem more different from that fire-brand preacher we've all seen in those sound bites."
During his segment, the ABC reporter seemed to accept Reverend Wright's contention that he had been smeared by the media. Journalist Wright, no relation to the pastor, asserted, "In the interview, Pastor Wright expresses his horror that the media has made him a bogeyman." As though he were a PR representative, (reporter) Wrightmentioned the reverend's military service and spun, "There's plenty in Wright's background that speaks to his patriotism." He argued that some of the pastor's comments were taken out of context, citing the background of Wright's "chickens are coming home to roost" remark. However, the ABC journalist skipped over the incendiary preacher's contention that "the government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color." Was that "soft spoken" falsehood taken "out of context?"
The first national breast-beating about Katie Couric leaving the anchor desk and potentially un-diversifying the anchor corps has come from Time TV writer James Poniewozik, who demands that the networks enshrine diversity. "Am I calling on the networks to act in the name of mere cosmetic appearance? Yes! News anchors are -- more than any profession outside of car-show modeling -- about cosmetic appearance." (Unlike Time, apparently, who picked top editor Richard Stengel in 2006, a disappointing "white dude.") Poniewozik lamented that just as the diversity in the Democratic campaign looks like 2060, the networks are headed back to 1960:
If one side of the debate stage is Star Trek, however, the question-asking side looks like Dragnet. In the Democratic debates, Obama and Hillary Clinton have taken questions from Charles Gibson, Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Wolf Blitzer--white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy.
It is NBC Green Week, after all, so who can blame Andrea Mitchell for recycling two dilapidated defenses of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
Mitchell's heart didn't seem wholly in it, but like a burned-out public defender going through the motions, Andrea apparently felt constrained to mount some kind of defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial remarks. And so she trotted out two hoary chestnuts:
that's the way it's done in African-American churches, and
After the initial shock of the news about Barack Obama's racist preacher Jeremiah Wright wore off, liberals in and out of the media have begun to make excuses for his statements, saying that they were taken out of context.
Well, here's some context. Does this make Wright (and Obama by association) look worse?
Voting for someone based on qualifications or ideology rather than race is very "white" according to "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg. Also, according to Joy Behar, only white males like tax cuts.
Discussing Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s concern that women are voting for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman and black voting for Barack Obama because he’s black, Whoopi Goldberg dismissed Hasselbeck’s concerns and proclaimed "that’s a very white way to look at it." Of course Whoopi said it "with a huge amount of love." Hasselbeck sarcastically responded "let me take off my white goggles." Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg agreed Hasselbeck can not suggesting the white people will never understand.
Earlier in the discussion, Behar added that voting for someone with the same gender or race may be in a person’s interest. She hypothesized that a woman over 50 who may face age discrimination may vote for Hillary as a way to combat that. She also suggested that white men vote Republican because "the white male loves his tax cuts." In Behar’s world, only white men like tax cuts.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," correspondent Claire Shipman discussed race and Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary and managed to skip two key reasons as to why white voters may have chosen Senator Clinton over Barack Obama. Shipman never mentioned Jeremiah Wright, Obama's incendiary reverend and a man who made controversial comments about white people, among other groups.
She also glossed over and minimized Obama's comments about small town Americans being "bitter" and clinging to guns, God and xenophobic sentiment. Now, considering that many of these rural voters were white, this would seem to be an important component to a discussion of the issue. During the segment, however, racism was the only explanation Shipman explored. She intoned, "And some new data does suggest what nobody really wants to think, that race may be an issue." The correspondent later added, "Are some Democratic voters pulling the lever for Hillary Clinton because they don't want to vote for a black man?"
In Chris Matthews's mind, a bigot is someone who's "culturally conservative" on race. Matthews equated the two on this evening's Hardball in attempting to explain exit polling from yesterday's PA primary showing that 38% of white Catholic Democrats wouldn't vote for Obama in the general election.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, somebody who doesn't like that group of voters might call them Archie Bunkers. I'll call them Reagan Democrats, John [Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News], they're Reagan Democrats: people who are culturally conservative, maybe a little culturally conservative on the racial front, on the ethnic front. They like to think of themselves as Democrats on the economic issues, but when it comes to the squeeze, on some of these cultural issues--didn't this all come up earlier about three weeks ago in San Francisco, this conversation.
During MSNBC's live coverage of Pennsylvania's Democratic presidential primary, co-anchor Chris Matthews brought up the possibility that the North Carolina Republican Party would run an "overtly racist" campaign against Barack Obama, as the MSNBC host harkened back to the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt. Matthews: "North Carolina will be interesting, and I think that if the Republican Party goes back to the old trick it did with the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt and running a campaign which is overtly racist, I think that will be a mistake if they do that. I'll wait and see if they do that." (Transcript follows)
After referring to Obama's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, co-anchor Keith Olbermann brought up the possibility that John McCain could also be attacked for connections with controversial people: "There is a lot that could be thrown at the Republicans by the Democrats and the past associations of Senator McCain, or even some of the current ones."
CNN's Carol Costello focused on Nora Ephron's Huffington Post rant against white male voters in Pennsylvania during a report on Tuesday's "The Situation Room." "Ephron uses provocative language to make a point. She says, 'let's not kid ourselves. Try as we might, white men will still decide who gets to be president.'" While Costello used results from previous primaries to cast doubt on Ephron's theory, she and CNN chose to highlight Ephron's words and found voters who apparently agreed with it.
During a report by CNN correspondent Dana Bash on Monday’s "The Situation Room," an on-screen chyron or graphic described John McCain’s campaign stop in Selma, Alabama in the following terms: "McCain: Off the GOP Path -- Courts Blacks, Moderates in Ala." Bash herself described McCain’s campaign "really trying to... choreograph events all week long to create his own brand of Republicanism, show, like you said, in impoverished areas, in heavily black areas, that he's a different kind of Republican." Bash then described how "if you took one look at the kind of people who came out to hear John McCain today, it was very clear he has a huge hill to climb."
It’s odd for the CNN graphic to describe McCain as being "off the GOP path" by courting moderates, since the media itself has consistently emphasized the importance of moderate voters in elections, and how both parties have courted them.
Long-time White House correspondent turned loose-cannon Helen Thomas hasn't been sold on Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama like many of her colleagues in the mainstream media.
Thomas, now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, told a Bethesda, Md. audience the race between Obama and Clinton has gotten mean-spirited. She attacked the role of bloggers in the news cycle, but that wasn't before she had some very harsh criticisms of Obama's rise in popularity.
"We're in the midst of a presidential campaign which is really getting rotten - down and dirty between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama," Thomas said. "The Democratic candidates - Obama has the edge, he's a rock star. He's galvanized the youth vote of this country, but I have yet to see what he has done to take the highest office in the land. He is no Martin Luther King and his campaign, like all others, is backed by people with deep pockets."
The left-wing blogosphere's outrage against ABC ["Boycott Fig Newtons!"] over its allegedly unfair questioning of Obama during Wednesday's debate has seeped over into the MSM in the form of Derrick Z. Jackson's Boston Globe column of this morning. While the headline moots the matter in the interrogative "Tough questions or just plain bias?", there's no doubt as to the answer in Jackson's mind. Just two paragraphs in, the columnist unleashes [emphasis added]:
In some 1,600 words of transcript, Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos tried to eviscerate Obama in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
If Barack Obama is looking for proof there are indeed bitter Americans out there, he need look no further than across the kitchen table.
Morning Joe opened today with a clip of Michelle Obama on the stump that I can only call stunning. By her tone, and her language both verbal and physical, this is one angry lady. The transcript below doesn't begin to convey Mrs. Obama's apparent rage.
That Bill Clinton was elected twice is proof that an angry wife is no bar to office. But Michelle Obama's level of ire can certainly be no asset on the campaign trail. Morning Joe did air it, but just how much MSM coverage will we see of what I would sincerely call an astounding piece of video?
If you've always thought her music was hackneyed and dull now you may have another reason to dislike Alicia Keys: she's apparently a racist conspiracymonger:
There's another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other."[...]
Keys, 27, said she's read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead," according to an interview in the magazine's May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.
Another of her theories: That the bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing." [...]
Though she's known for her romantic tunes, she told Blender that she wants to write more political songs. If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton "had the outlets our musicians have today, it'd be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself," she said.
On his April 8 "Countdown," host Keith Olbermann smeared Iraq war veteran David Bellavia as a racist:
OLBERMANN, from the April 8 "Countdown" opening credits: Nothing obscure about this: Racism as a Republican campaign plank. Sen. McCain introduced at a rally on Capitol Hill."
BELLAVIA, introducing then hugging McCain: You can have your Tiger Woods. We've got Sen. McCain.
OLBERMANN: Did he actually just say that? And why did McCain then embrace him?
Bellavia is running as a Republican for Congress in upstate New York and is pitted against another Iraq veteran, Democratic nominee Jon Powers, in that contest. Olbermann turned to liberal professor Michael Eric Dyson to sanction Olbermann's specious charge that the McCain campaign is racist:
"The View" co-hosts will go so far to defend Reverend Jeremiah Wright and by extension Barack Obama, that they will even throw Martin Luther King Jr. under the bus. Discussing Wright again on the April 7 edition, the ladies justified Wright’s words by noting some very controversial remarks by the late Dr. King. Sherri Shepherd, apparently taking Michael Eric Dyson’s cue, quoted King predicting America "will put black people in a concentration camp." Joy Behar, in a hopeful tone, added "Maybe someday Reverend Wright’s words will be taken out of- in a different context. It’s possible."
Whoopi Goldberg also justified Wright’s extreme sermons, opining he is bringing his anger from a different era. Elisabeth Hasselbeck wondered what happened to "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Whoopi Goldberg again justified Wright’s anger.