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?
On Election Night 1990, after the news broke that Sen. Jesse Helms had beaten black Democrat Harvey Gantt, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell mourned "This has really been a heart-breaking race," and compared Helms to racist David Duke. On Thursday, Mitchell was seeing old Helms commercials as she denounced the North Carolina Republican Party ads featuring Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s "God damn America" comments. "This has such deep roots in the North Carolina Republican Party, the Jesse Helms Republican Party," she complained on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
During her 1 pm newscast on Wednesday, Mitchell interviewed McCain adviser Jack Kemp, and asked him what the ad says "about the Republican Party." Kemp agreed with McCain’s call to pull the ad, but displeased Mitchell by adding "The American people know exactly what Reverend Wright stands for. That's Barack Obama's problem and it's going to stick for him for a long time to come."
New York Times reporter Michael Luo wrung his hands Thursday about a potentially racially divisive ad from the North Carolina Republican party that linked two Democrats running for governor to Sen. Barack Obama and his hate-mongering former pastor Jeremiah Wright.
Despite objections from Senator John McCain, the North Carolina Republican Party is planning to roll out a television advertisement on Monday attacking two Democrats who are running for governor by linking them to Senator Barack Obama and playing a clip of his former pastor excoriating the United States.
The release of the commercial, which Republican officials in North Carolina said would make its debut during the 6 p.m. newscasts, injects a potentially divisive racial element into the campaign for the state's Democratic presidential primary, which is on May 6.
That's the second time in two days the paper has described the ad as racially divisive. On Wednesday, Patrick Healy wrote:
Following a story on Wednesday’s CBS "Evening News," when fill-in anchor Harry Smith described how an anti-Obama ad run by the North Carolina GOP was proof of the campaign getting "nastier," on Thursday’s "Early Show" Smith continued that theme as he exclaimed: "And the tone of the remainder of the campaign season may be getting even nastier."
Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report on the North Carolina Republican ad and framed it this way:
A lot of that nastiness is being aimed directly at Barack Obama, and it's not just coming from Hillary Clinton and her campaign. You know there's an absolutely crucial primary in North Carolina in less than two weeks. And now the North Carolina Republican Party is going after Obama with a new hard-hitting negative ad.
The ad, directed at the two North Carolina Democrats vying for the nomination for governor of the state in the May 6 primary, plays a clip of Barack Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright saying "God damn America!" and then criticizes both Democratic candidates for their endorsement of Obama: "Now Beth Perdue and Richard Moore endorse Barack Obama. They should know better. He's just too extreme for North Carolina."
Bill Ayers, a former radical leader turned academic and school reformer, has never been hesitant to speak his mind.
Although there has been no public response from him since his ties to Barack Obama — the two neighbors served on a charity board together for three years — were brought up during last week's Democratic debate, Ayers said Wednesday that he has a good reason for his silence.
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.
One reason why many liberals think the Jeremiah Wright issue is a distraction is their belief that Obama's reverence for Wright is limited, a mere vestige of a past strategy. They assume it's largely political gamesmanship. Joining Wright's church was a way to avoid being charged as too "white" and a way to build a political base. U.S. News & World Report political writer Kenneth T. Walsh certainly forwarded this theory in a story on how Obama learned from "Chicago's Presidential Classroom":
Obama also saw firsthand the central role that African-American churches played in the black community, providing solace, pride, and the motivation to persevere against adversity. He got to know Wright, the bombastic and charismatic pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ—whose angry sermons, widely perceived as anti-American and antiwhite, got Obama's presidential campaign into deep trouble a few weeks ago.
Thank heavens. Pope Benedict XVI has finally stepped off of Shepherd One onto American soil to begin a six day visit that is sure to be everything the American left hopes to make it out to be. The media is working overtime to resurrect old wounds, create some new controversies and repeat liberal talking points that so perfectly judges a man as only the selective memory of liberal hypocrisy has the ability to do.
And just in time too. What better way to take the pressure off of Barack Obama’s Rev. JeremiahWright controversy than to reignite the flames of the Catholic Church priest sex scandal? Finally, a target has appeared that is worthy of the left’s criticism and utter disdain. If only he had visited 2 or 3 weeks back.
I had at one time thought that the mainstream media had been pretty well represented by articles filled with your typical leftist anti-Christian/anti-Pope Benedict slant. To see examples of such bias we need only stop by the magnifying glass of Wikipedia. Their archive and discussion pages are unique in the way in which they channel common themes that circulate in the public realm of the left; a sort of lib-cyclopedia if you will.
"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.
Now playing defense for Team Obama: Karen Hawkins and Christopher Wills of the Associated Press, as carried in the Washington Post ("Obama Found a Home in His Church") on Thursday.
Call it a Wright-wash -- Hawkins and Wills managed to avoid any mention of the main tenets of "Black Liberation Theology" (details after the jump) that form the foundation of the belief system of the Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC). Until recently (though TUCC's Pastoral Staff page at its web site still does not reflect the supposed change), TUCC was headed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose preaching moved presidential candidate Barack Obama to join the congregation 20 years.
The AP pair also managed to avoid any mention of often inflammatory items in weekly bulletin articles published by the Church.
Nowhere in the story's 1,200-plus words was there any mention of the Church's belief system, which was outlined by McClatchy's Margaret Tavel on March 20:
CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen, reporting live from in front Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," presented a sympathetic view of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his house of worship as being "under siege" -- from the national media. "Beyond what they say is the hurtful glare of the cameras, church leaders also say parishioners are hounded by reporters and they say the church received bomb threats. A church that feels under siege, now getting national support." Nearly the entire three minute segment, outside of Roesgen’s voice-overs and on-camera reporting, consisted of sound bites of the supporters of the church.
Besides featuring nobody but its supporters, Roesgen also painted the church and its congregations as victims of the controversy and of the news media. "I think they feel angry and they feel used. When they have talked about certain reporters, they were basically talking about reporters who were rude enough to go into the pews and hand out their business cards during the services, something of course CNN would never do."
Charles Krauthammer's column in Friday's Washington Post strongly smacks the media for being "in the tank" for Barack Obama. In reference to Hillary Clinton's tall Tuzla tales and Barack's adoring media, the headline in the print edition is "The Fabulist vs. The Saint." But the headline writers at washingtonpost.com used an inflammatory headline on the home page on the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's shooting death: "Stories to Slay Saint Obama." Isn't there a tiny difference between more objective news coverage and an assassination? [UPDATE: Rechecking at 8:45, the post.com home page header was already changed to "Barack Obama is No Saint."]
Krauthammer was appalled at how CNN's Anderson Cooper and Time's Joe Klein insisted no one could discuss Obama's relationship with his minister, Jeremiah Wright. His conclusion recalled New York Times writer Michael Kelly's "Saint Hillary" article exploring her "politics of meaning" in 1993. He wrote: "Saint Obama awaits his Michael Kelly." Not his James Earl Ray.
Appearing on Morning Joe a couple weeks ago, Time editor Rick Stengel was quick to blame the controversy over Rev. Wright's past remarks on "the incredible ignorance of white Americans" about what goes on in black churches.
But the Time editor wasn't quite so forgiving when it came to the past of the current pontiff. Appearing on today's Morning Joe to discuss Time's cover story on Pope Benedict XVI's impending visit to America, Stengel blithely referred to the Pope as having been the Vatican's "hatchet man" during his years as a cardinal.
As excuses go, it was right up there with "but oshifer, I was too drunk to see that stop sign." That's the league in which I'd put the defense of Barack Obama over the Rev. Wright mess that Mika Brzezinski offered this morning.
Responding to Chris Matthews' question on yesterday's Hardball as to why he never left Rev. Wright's church, Obama claimed "I never heard [Rev. Wright] say those things that were in those clips." On today's Morning Joe, two of the three panelists weren't buying. The genial Willie Geist came down off the fence where he often resides to frame the issue.
WILLIE GEIST: The fact remains, a lot of people, and these are people we've all talked to, say "if I went into a church with my children, and the pastor said 'God damn America' and the rest of these things, you just wouldn't go back to that church." There are other places to go.
That's when Brzezinski began her bad Johnnie Cochran impression.
ABC has served warning: use the Rev. Wright against Barack Obama at your peril. Be prepared to be accused of "raising the race issue" to hit "below the belt."
ABC's David Wright, a certified Obama fan/Hillary critic based on this past performance, issued his edict on today's Good Morning America.
Riffing off Hillary having compared herself to Rocky Balboa running all the way up those steps in the first movie, Wright first fairly pointed out the irony of the analogy: Rocky wound up losing the fight. Pushing the boxing metaphor, Wright then landed his haymaker:
DAVID WRIGHT: In its approach to superdelegates, the Clinton campaign may be close to hitting below the belt. Clinton's top delegate hunter Harold Ickes told an interviewer he's raising the race issue with superdelegates, arguing that Obama's controversial former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, makes him unelectable.
On Feb 8, 2007 Channel 2 News Chicago had a little puff piece on Senator Barack Obama discussing his soon to be launched presidential campaign. It happened to air just before Barack's "60 Minutes" TV interview and it focused on Barack's attendance at the Trinity United Church of Christ. The interesting thing about this video is that Barack is seen sitting side by side with Rev. Wright as they sign copies of Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope." This chumminess seems to make the lie to the claim that Barack was in any way upset at his "spiritual mentor," Rev. Wright.
It is curious why the CBS 2 video showing a beaming Barack and Wright has not been more widely played by the media, but it does prove that Barack only recently, in the middle of scrutiny and only in the last month, has found himself trying to claim he disagrees with the racist Rev. After all, he was still quite friendly with the ranting Rev. Wright in the CBS video of but a year ago.
"The View’s" Joy Behar is so partisan as to spin an ethnic slur from Barack Obama’s pastor into a compliment. Discussing Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s "garlic nosed Italians" comments on the March 28 edition, Behar noted "he’s talking about the ancient Romans here," (apparently Reverend Wright did not know that Italy did not exist as a country until 1861) and claimed "the Roman nose has been celebrated in art and history...I don’t think it’s insulting." She also added that garlic in her diet helps with her "gorgeous complexion."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck compared it to the use of the nose as an anti-Semitic stereotype. Behar disagreed asserting "the Roman nose hasn’t been used against Italians the way the Jewish stereotype of a hook nose has been used against the Jews."
Also of note in the segment, Whoopi Goldberg compared Obama’s pastor problem to John F. Kennedy’s challenge to run for president as a Catholic. Barbara Walters immediately responded that the comparison was not valid.
"For months, I've been predicting that conservatives would delicately prompt voters to see Barack Obama through the lens of race. They'd drop hints, they'd make roundabout arguments, they'd find a hundred subtle ways to encourage people to vote their prejudices, while denying vociferously that they were doing anything of the sort."
Oh, it gets better:
"...these kinds of attacks have their greatest power when they tap into pre-existing archetypes voters already carry with them, and the deeper they reside in our lizard brains the better. So they will make sure white Americans know that Obama is not Tiger Woods. He's not the unthreatening black man, he's the scary black man. He's Al Sharpton, he's Malcom X, he's Huey Newton. He'll throw grievance in your face, make you feel guilty, and who knows, maybe kill you and rape your wife."
Barack Obama granted an hour-long interview to Larry King on CNN last Thursday night, and just like Anderson Cooper, King was generous and unchallenging to the Democratic front-runner, allowing him to unfurl answers that ranged from one minute to three and a half minutes. At the show’s beginning, King first mentioned the minister controversy, but CNN actually didn’t ask a single question about it until 32 minutes had elapsed on the show, and then devoted just 20 minutes to it (not counting ad breaks). King began:
KING: I guess most people would be saying, why not just leave the church of Reverend Wright? I know you have been in that church a long time, been close to him. He has a major involvement in your family, but based on what he said, why not just say goodbye?
OBAMA: Well, he has retired, Larry. So you know, he preached his last sermon already.
Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page defended Rev. Jeremiah Wright, on "The Chris Matthews Show" over the weekend, as he claimed tapes existed that put Barack Obama's former pastor in a better light than those clips of him damning America, to which Matthews requested of Page: "Would you get those tapes out?...Let's get the good tapes out."
The following exchange occurred on the March 23 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show:"
CHRIS MATTHEWS: We put it to The Matthews Meter, 12 of our regulars. If Obama is the nominee, will he be defined by race in the fall election? Well, it looks like Obama can still be the transformative candidate on that front. Ten to two, the meter says no, Obama would not be defined by race in the fall. Norah and Clarence, you're both with the 10. You're upbeat on this. We're gonna see beyond color here.
Only white people can be racist according to ‘View’ co-host Joy Behar. Also on the March 24 broadcast, both Behar and Whoopi Goldberg justified Barack Obama’s connection to Jeremiah Wright by pointing to Bush’s association with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and their many controversial remarks. It could be a valid point if Falwell or Robertson were Bush’s pastor for 20 years. Neither of them ever were.
After Elisabeth Hasselbeck labeled Reverend Wright "racist," Whoopi Goldberg jumped in and alluded to the late Reverend Jerry Falwell’s suggestion that God allowed the September 11 attacks because of secular forces in America. Whoopi asked Elisabeth if she should leave the Republican party because of that. Elisabeth noted that Falwell is not her spiritual adviser. Joy Behar then claimed that Robertson and Falwell are "spiritual advisers" to the Republican party.
Behar then essentially stated it is impossible for those in the "oppressed minority" (African Americans) to be racist. This is according to her college sociology professor.
The New York Times continues to glorify Barack Obama for the speech he delivered on race, eager to help Obama not only move on from Wright, but to paint the whole affair in lambent tones, while suggesting GOP presidents including Reagan went "under cover" and used code words to promote racial strife and win elections.
The latest brushwork is on display on the front page of the Times's Sunday Week in Review, a story by Janny Scott, "Talk About Race."
The Big Three Networks and Their Plan to Protect Obama (PPO)Why did it take until Thursday March 13, 2008, for the nation to begin to learn about Barack Obama's pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright? The man whose Trinity United Church of Christ Obama has attended and generously funded for seventeen years? Whom he had publicly and repeatedly cited as his mentor and had named as a campaign advisor? Whom he chose to perform his wedding and baptize his two daughters?
Because, until then, we were in the midst of Phase I -- preventative medicine -- of the media's version of campaign health care for the Senator's Presidential bid. Call it the Plan to Protect Obama (PPO).
The Reverend Wright story had been percolating beneath the surface for several years. It finally broke through to widespread dissemination last week. A picture is worth a thousand words -- moving pictures with audio of Wright's anti-American, paranoid rantings from the pulpit have finally inspired many more than that.
The rantings of Barack Obama's pastor sound strange to most Americans, Christian or non-Christian, black or white. Yet to some in the media, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's preaching is in the "mainstream" of Christian doctrine.
Take the Chicago Sun-Times's David Roeder, reporting on Trinity United Church of Christ's (TUCC) Easter Sunday service:
Theirs is a mainstream Christian theology, but shaped by oppression that they feel yields a connection to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. It's a church they said most Americans could embrace if they only got beyond media sound bites.
Roeder noted that TUCC, as it proudly declares on its Web site, is "Unshamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian." The TUCC Web site also celebrates the church's identity as "an African people" that "remain[s] 'true to our native land,' the mother continent, the cradle of civilization."
Now, of course, there's a wide array of debate among "mainstream" Christians over varying points of Christian doctrine, both between and within denominations, but the notion of ethnocentric identity within the church itself is alien to the preaching and teaching with which most American Christians, black or white, would be familiar:
Roger Simon, chief political columnist for The Politico and former White House correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and political editor of U.S. News & World Report, acknowledged on Sunday's Face the Nation that Barack Obama won over “his base,” which he identified as “the American media,” in his Tuesday speech in reaction to Reverend Jeremiah Wright's anti-American rants:
Obama really won over his base, he won over the American media. They loved that speech.
Indeed, over on This Week's roundtable, ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman trumpeted: “He gave a great speech, I think it was a brave speech.”
Fill-in Face the Nation host Chip Reid followed up Simon's observation by fretting about what Republicans, who managed to “swift boat John Kerry” when “many people believed [he] was a war hero,” might “do with what Reverend Wright said in the fall?”
It would be enough to make Rev. Jeremiah Wright's accusation that the government created AIDS for purposes of perpetrating a black genocide sound almost rational. OK, scratch that. Nothing will render reasonable that morsel of moonbattery. But has the Rev. Wright's replacement suggested that NPR is . . . a Republican front operation?
As per this Fox News article, the theme of today's Easter sermon at the Trinity United Church of Christ was “How to Handle a Public Lynching,” the victim in question being the Rev. Wright. The controversial pastor's successor, the Rev. Otis Moss III, lit into the national media, coming up with a string of plays on their names to express his contempt:
One of the constants espoused by conservative media analysts is that the views of most mainstream press members are not shared by the majority of Americans.
This week represented a fabulous example of this assertion as media member after media member gushed over Barack Obama's performance in Philadelphia on Tuesday while a majority of citizens in a recent poll said that they were less likely to vote for the junior senator from Illinois as result of this speech.
Yesterday, Gateway Pundit noticed what he called an "Uh-Oh... This wasn't supposed to happen" event for presidential candidate Barack Obama:
An amazing article appeared in the mainstream news today. McClatchy actually reported that Obama's church merges Marxism and Christian Gospel and preaches that the white church in America is the Antichrist because it supported slavery and segregation.
That they did. But how did they headline it, and how many McClatchy newspapers actually ran the story?
Margaret Talev's Thursday, March 20 description of the fundamental doctrines of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) does get right to the point. Talev even goes so far as to question the candidate's motivations for his involvement with the church.
Most importantly, which I why I've bolded the related text, Talev notes that while TUCC's radical and racist philosophies will survive the Rev. Wright's retirement, their continued presence will not deter Obama from continuing to attend: