When George W. Bush's faith-based initiative staffer David Kuo came out with a book whacking away at Bush, the media were enthralled (excerpted lovingly by Time magazine and interviewed on 60 Minutes). Now under Obama, they're helping former faith-based initiatives director Joshua Dubois sell his new book "The President's Devotional." In Saturday's Washington Post, religion reporter Elizabeth Tenety asked questions that made it sound like Dubois wrote his own questions: "Let’s talk about your work with the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. What are you most proud of from your time there?"
On the PBS NewsHour Wednesday, anchor Gwen Ifill danced politely around Obama's rare church attendance (especially compared to his golf course time), and raised Rev. Jeremiah Wright just as a time when prayer helped Obama, not as a time Dubois admitted in his book that he wanted to spin around the whole truth:
Sometimes, the left simply can’t argue against hard facts. In a book excerpt warning of the “resurgent right” on Salon.com, leftist Lee Fang accused Brent Bozell of “gross exaggeration” in describing media apathy on Obama scandals.
Fang reported that in a speech at the Council for National Policy in February 2009, Bozell claimed by the time the national networks ran "a single story on Reverend Wright, 42 states and the District of Columbia had voted." Dear Mr. Fang: please identify the exaggeration in that fact.
In a bit of a surprise, New York Times reporters Jeremy Peters and Jim Rutenberg filed a longish article on a recently unearthed Obama video from 2007 showing the president in a fiery, racially charged mode and praising his anti-American pastor Jeremiah Wright, a video downplayed or ignored by most of the mainstream media: "Race at Issue for Obama As Right Revives '07 Talk."
Less surprising was the snotty text box: "New fodder for a favorite topic in conservative circles." And the reporters took care to trace the tape's provenance down the conservative media food chain.
In a stunning omission on Wednesday's NBC Today, brief coverage of a 2007 video of Barack Obamacompletely ignored the then-Senator praising his controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright as a "great leader, not just in Chicago, but all across the country." The NBC morning show adopted a dismissive attitude toward the video, with co-host Savannah Guthrie leading off the broadcast: "Conservatives circulate a five-year-old video, in a move the Obama campaign calls desperate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd further quoted Obama talking points: "In a transparent attempt to change the subject from his comments attacking half of the American people, Mitt Romney's allies re-circulated video of a 2007 event that was open to and extensively covered by the press at the time."
The Washington Post suddenly discovered Ed Klein’s best-selling anti-Obama bookThe Amateur on the front page of Thursday’s Style section. Reporter/book blogger Steven Levington announced the book "contains scenes that did not occur or that were vastly misconstrued, according to those who Klein says were present."
Levingston completely ignored the most headline-grabbing allegations in the book, that in a recorded interview, Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Obama pal Eric Whitacre tried to buy his silence in 2008. Instead, Levingston went on a tear against Klein’s 2005 book about Hillary Clinton.
The year 2012 looks a lot like 2008: high unemployment, a candidate named Obama promising to do something about high unemployment, and the Giants beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl. And one more thing: conservatives are still ridiculing liberation theology. With the complicity of clueless pundits and incurious journalists, they are reducing an important theological movement of the past 40 years to an abusive sound bite.
When the New York Times warned it had been handed a “super PAC” memo suggesting someone, somewhere might plot to make a “hardline attack on Obama” with Wright sermon soundbites, MSNBC expressed outrage hour after hour. But scandalized liberal journalists had no appetite for a different behind-the-scenes Reverend Wright narrative. In Ed Klein’s new book “The Amateur,” he interviewed Rev. Wright on tape for three hours. The most shocking revelation: suggestions that Friends of Barack were trying to suggest Wright take some “hush money” to shut up for the rest of the 2008 campaign. Media interest? Pretty much zero.
Let’s imagine for two seconds what would happen if a friend of George W. Bush – even a disgruntled ex-friend of Bush – gave an interview to an author charging that Team Bush offered him money to shut up and go away during the 2000 campaign. Who would not expect that would have been screaming-siren top news?
"Face The Nation" host Bob Schieffer spotlighted the left's talking points on two issues in the presidential race on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Schieffer tried to play it down the middle when he stated, "I think most people understand that Mitt Romney is not the robber baron that the Democrats would have you believe." But he immediately added, "Nor is Barack Obama the European socialist that the Republicans would have you believe."
The CBS journalist also contrasted the Obama campaign's line of attack on Romney regarding his leadership with Bain Capital, which was ripped by Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker; with how many Republicans condemned "a plan that some Republicans had to launch this race-baiting campaign, trying to tie the President, once again, to Jeremiah Wright."
Aided by its simpatico allies at MSNBC, the Obama campaign has swung into action to contain yet another unfortunate outbreak of candor.
That an affinity of soulmates exists between Obamists and MSNBCers was never more evident than yesterday in the wake of Newark mayor Cory Booker appearing on "Meet the Press" and opining that the Obama campaign vilifying Mitt Romney for his work at Bain Capital was as "nauseating" as a proposed GOP ad campaign on President Obama's erstwhile ties to radical cleric Jeremiah Wright. (video clip after page break)
Political reporter Michael Shear uses a half-baked Times "expose" to accuse the GOP of using racial attacks by bringing up the legitimate issue of the anti-white, anti-American, paranoid ravings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for decades in Chicago, in Saturday's "Race and Religion Rear Their Heads."
Perhaps the uglier side of politics is always close to the surface.
President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, have said for months that the 2012 election will be about the economy. But on Thursday, it became -- at least for a brief moment -- about the always touchy issues of race and religion.
The New York Times on Thursday published a front page piece about a Mitt Romney supporting Super PAC that allegedly considered bringing a lot of attention to Barack Obama's America-hating Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
Conservatives George Will and Laura Ingraham both slammed the Times for this shoddy report on ABC's This Week Sunday with the former saying the truth "didn't fit their narrative" and the latter claiming it "was a shot across the bow that if you are a wealthy person in the United States, you happen to be conservative, you're going to get involved in this election, then we are going to watch everything that you do" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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):
The Obama-loving media had quite a hissy fit this week when the President's America-hating Reverend Jeremiah Wright suddenly became a campaign issue despite all their efforts.
So opposed to the mere mention of Wright's name is NPR's Nina Totenberg that on PBS's Inside Washington Friday, she said he's irrelevant because the current White House resident - wait for it! - killed Osama bin Laden (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams decried a pitch to use President Obama's former radical left-wing pastor Jeremiah Wright in a campaign ad: "...there was an explosive headline this morning. The New York Times reporting that a Republican super-PAC was considering an expensive anti-Obama ad campaign that would have put the issue of race front and center in the campaign..."
Williams conveniently skipped over Wright's vicious anti-American rhetoric in several sermons, preferring to cast the story in racial terms. The only sound bite featured of Wright in the segment was brief and again described in racial terms, as correspondent Peter Alexander explained: "...the plan for a short film to publicize Wright's racially incendiary sermons, including this remark following 9/11." The sound bite that followed showed Wright ranting: "America's chickens are coming home to roost."
Reacting to Mitt Romney’s discomfort toward proposed independent expenditure ads reminding Americans of President Obama’s connections to Reverend Jeremiah Wright, on FNC Thursday night Charles Krauthammer delivered a rebuke to the media’s presumption raising Wright would be illegitimate. Krauthammer sure didn’t hold back:
I think there is an appalling double standard here. It’s okay for the Washington Post to run a five thousand word front page story on a prank that Romney, at the age of 15, committed. And yet it’s somehow illegitimate, the low road or whatever, for people to bring up the fact that the adult Obama had a 20-year relationship with a racist anti-American preacher whom he considered, spoke about, wrote about as his mentor and spiritual advisor.
The ad strategy, which was aborted after the Times ran with it on Thursday's front page, would have emphasized Obama's controversial Chicago pastor, the racially inflammatory Jeremiah Wright. But the Times as usual described Rev. Wright's anti-white jeremiads in bland terms, burying Wright's 9-11 quote that the attack was “America’s chickens are coming home to roost," and left out his notorious "God damn America!" rant completely. That distanced approach matches the paper's reluctant Wright coverage during the 2008 campaign.
Happen to notice if a state senator named Obama was there too ...?
Freshly-minted MSNBC weekend host and purported Tulane academic Melissa Harris-Perry revealed on Al Sharpton's radio show Tuesday that she was in the audience at Trinity United Church of Christ for Rev. Jeremiah Wright's incendiary sermon on the Sunday after the 9/11 attacks. (audio clip after page break)
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry admonished Rick Santorum for accurately describing President Obama's religious history: "Fanning the flames. Rick Santorum takes a new shot at President Obama's faith by mentioning his controversial former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright."
In a later report, correspondent Peter Alexander announced: "Rick Santorum isn't backing down from what some viewed as a shot this weekend at the President's faith....On Fox News, Santorum may have fanned the flames, when he again insisted he was not questioning the President's Christianity."
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Rick Santorum pushed back against Charlie Rose's interrogation about supporter Foster Friess's recent "bad off-color joke" on contraception, all but name-dropping former Obama pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright as an example of the media's double standard on playing "gotcha" politics with Republicans, but not Democrats.
Rose initially countered, "This is not gotcha; what this is, is trying to understand exactly what Rick Santorum stands for, and what he might say or do as president." But the GOP presidential candidate wasn't having any of it: "You don't do this with President Obama...he sat in a church for 20 years, and [you] defended him- that, oh, he can't possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years. It's a double standard...and I'm going to call you on it" [audio available here; video below the jump].
On Wednesday afternoon, New York Times political reporter Jodi Kantor hosted a live Facebook discussion on her new book on the Obamas and especially First Lady Michelle Obama. If this Facebook session is any indication, the book matches Kantor’s previous promotional coverage of the First Couple. On Facebook Kantor describes the First Lady as someone “with important ideas of her own about opportunity, access, equality, etc,” who “has redefined the role of first lady for successors...she's really raised the bar for ambitious initiatives.”
Revealingly, when asked about her latest scoops being allegedly used by Fox News and the Drudge Report as a “racial attack against the Obamas,” Kantor emphasized to her predominantly liberal audience how she broke the news about Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s ministry (in a bland story), and wrote a follow up “which I labored and labored over to make fair.” And it was “fair,” at least from the perspective of an Obama supporter.
On Saturday, NewsBusters reported that CNN in the six days after Politico's hit piece on Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain was published did more stories on that subject than it did on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's connections to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, and America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright combined.
On Fox News Monday, Bill O'Reilly agreed with our analysis saying, "This is disturbing," as did guest Bernie Goldberg who explained, "The reason is fairly obvious and fairly simple. They like Barack Obama and his politics and they don't like Herman Cain and his politics" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters reported Monday, the broadcast network news outlets of ABC, CBS and NBC ran a total of 84 stories on the sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in the week following Politico publishing its hit piece.
That is more coverage than they gave to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's connections to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, or America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright throughout the entire campaign.
As of Monday, the so-called news network MSNBC has already run more stories about Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's alleged sexual harassment than it did Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, and America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright combined.
If you needed any more evidence of the political leaning of CNN, consider that much like Politico, it has in the last six days done at least 94 reports on the sexual harassment allegations involving Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.
Substantially more shocking, according to LexisNexis, the supposedly most trusted name in news only did 77 total stories on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, and America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
As NewsBusters reported last week, New York Times outgoing executive editor Bill Keller believes presidential candidates should be questioned about their religious beliefs.
On Monday's "The O'Reilly Factor," media critic Bernie Goldberg marvelously said, "I wish that he and the New York Times was as concerned about religion and politics during the last campaign when it pertained to Barack Obama, who sat in a church with a hateful minister for 20 years" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The New York Times’s outgoing Executive Editor Bill Keller received some pushback on his recently posted column that demanded, in rather insulting fashion, that the media more aggressively question the religious views of the G.O.P. candidates.
Times Watch and others noted that his paper was hardly a model of journalistic assertiveness during the spring of 2008, when Barack Obama endured political controversy over the racially inflammatory and conspiracy-minded Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's minister at Trinity United Church of Christ. Keller responded via Twitter on Friday morning:
Yes, Dems should be asked about their faith (and influences) too. We were late to Rev. Wright in '08, but we got there, and did it well.
The pastor who preached the Easter sermon that Barack Obama heard this past Sunday is not another Jeremiah Wright, Time's Amy Sullivan insists in an April 29 blog "Swampland" blog post entitled "Conservatives Go After Another Obama Pastor."
Sullivan was responding to the complaints of conservative talkers Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, who highlighted some controversial remarks Smith made to a college audience last year: