An old journalistic saw about what's newsworthy goes a little something like this: "When a dog bites man, that's not a new story. Now a man bites a dog, that's a story." The idea is simple: News is something that is unusual, out of the ordinary, has a twist that makes it unexpected and shocking.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s longtime minister and permanent embarrassment, preached in Washington on Wednesday, reported Hamil Harris of The Washington Post. (It was nowhere to be found in my Thursday paper.) Harris suggested Wright's nastiest words were saved for Fox News, which wanted to ruin his granddaughters. It sounded a little like paranoid Ross Perot in 1992. The anti-Obama press was at their senior prom?
The YouTube videos focused damaging attention on his family, Wright said, and especially on his youngest daughter, Jamila Wright, and a granddaughter.
"The day I took Jamila to campus, Fox News was on the sidewalk taking my picture. My granddaughter got into a fistfight at FAMU [Florida A&M University] because people only know the press narrative about Jeremiah Wright," he said. "The press didn't care what they did to my family. They ruined their senior year in high school. They were at the senior prom, the graduation, waiting on something to try to destroy Obama."
In the Washington Post's June 5 Prince George's County Extra insert, staffer Hamil Harris penned a story focused on how Barack Obama's decision to leave his controversial church "is not sitting well with some African American pastors and scholars in Prince George's County."
Harris went on to quote two preachers disappointed with Obama, as well as University of Maryland's Ronald Walters, a reliably liberal pundit. The closest Harris found to being critical of Obama's former church was a pastor who conceded that some ministers may need to "rethink how [their] message of liberation is being communicated."
At no point in Harris's 11-paragraph story, however, did he pick up on any county clergy who have strong misgivings about Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Trinity's theology and its impact on the faith community.
Perhaps Harris should add Prince George's County minister Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. to his Rolodex. Jackson serves as the senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and has devoted at least two of his recent Townhall.com columns to critiquing the theology and temperment of Obama's former senior pastor. From Jackson's May 5 column, "The Way That Seems Wright" (emphasis mine):
The Washington Post touts a Jeremiah Wright article on its front page today, so readers are instructed to turn to the Metro section. The headline there reads "Reverend's Words Stir Debate on His Creed." Only the reporters never quoted a single word of Wright's. What kind of Stupid Reporter Trick is that? So what readers get is fulmination over the reaction to Wright's words, but no idea of what those words were. The Post also used the words "liberation theology" almost always without quotes, even when citing its cousin, the Latin American Marxist variety. William Wan and Hamil Harris began:
Bobby Henry was angry when he first saw the now-famous snippets of sermons by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. playing over and over on television. He considered the uproar over Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor an attack on a man of faith and the black church.
But he also wondered: Who is Wright, and what is the religious movement, known as black liberation theology, that shaped his ministry?