The Chicago church attended by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) issued a statement Sunday contending that coverage of his pastor’s inflammatory remarks amounted to character assassination and “an attack on … the history of the African American church.”
Obama distanced himself from inflammatory comments by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., retiring pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, after they circulated on YouTube last week and were played repeatedly by cable news channels.
Wright, condemning society as racist, said, “God [expletive] America” and referred to the “U.S. of KKK-A.”
Many in the newsmedia are reacting with quite restraint to the revelations of comments by Obam's racist "spiritual mentor," Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. Imagine if this were a Republican politician linked to such outrageous talk and you'll realize how the MSM has been studiously underplaying this controversy. A benefit of the doubt seems to be the rule of thumb for how the media is treating Obama, a benefit that would be denied a GOP candidate.
But, as ABC's Jake Tapper asked concerning Obama's knowledge of Wright's racist rants: What did Obama know and when did he know it? In this posting Tapper finds that Obama was distancing himself from Wright a year ago causing the question to be raised if Obama long ago wondered if Wright would be a liability? But, there is video of Obama lovingly introducing Wright even after that proving not only that Obama is very, very close to Rev. Wright, but also that he was not distancing himself from the man at all.
How much trouble is Barack Obama in over the extremism of Jeremiah Wright? Enough that Dem strategist Donna Brazile has been reduced to arguing that as black preachers go, Wright is relatively moderate. Enough that the normally affable Brazile got a bit short with Time editor Mark Halperin, he of the infamous memo to his subordinates during the 2004 presidential campaign while serving as ABC News political director.
The comments came during the panel discussion on today's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC.
Friday's NBC Nightly News allocated a mere 22 seconds to Barack Obama's condemnation of what fill-in anchor Ann Curry vaguely described as “inflammatory remarks that his long time pastor made about Hillary Clinton and the nation,” but instead of informing viewers of any of those remarks, such as Reverend Jeremiah Wright's suggestion that the U.S. deserved 9/11, the newscast then devoted three minutes to a celebratory piece about how excited Obama's childhood friends in Indonesia are about his candidacy.
In a story which began and ended with a picture of Obama's classmates in front of huge “Good Luck Barry!” lettering, reporter Ian Williams trumpeted the wonders Obama is doing abroad: “The fact that Obama lived in Jakarta and studied at this school has really captured the popular imagination. It's already working wonders for America's battered image here.” A local commentator oozed over how “Obama's candidacy confirms the romantic ideals people like me have held since childhood that America's the land of opportunity.”
Williams concluded with how “friends remember Barry playing barefoot in the paddy fields with a real spirit of adventure,” and so now “hope there'll be no turning back on his journey to the White House. And Barry might attend their next reunion as President of the United States.”
Appearing on the last episode of Tucker on March 14, 2008, Barack Obama fan and LA Times columnist Rosa Brooks grimaces after claiming Obama "probably wasn't listening" in church when Rev. Jeremiah Wright made his controversial statements.
I've enjoyed Tucker Carlson's show and can't let it pass into history, as it did last night, without a mention here. MSNBC has said that Tucker will remain at the network as an at-large commentator, and I have a feeling that, liberated from show-host concerns, he might become even more uninhibited in the expression of his quirkily conservative/libertarian views.
So let's usher Tucker out by focusing on one of our favorite nemeses, Rosa Brooks, the liberal LA Times columnist who appeared on the show's final episode. The unreconstructed Obama apologist offered the lamest excuse yet for his failure to have disassociated himself earlier from the ugly rhetoric of Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Barack simply wasn’t paying attention in the pews.
How's this for a balanced Today panel to discuss the impact of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's extremism on Barack Obama: two liberals who agree it shouldn't hurt him, with one suggesting the situation might even help Obama?
The panel discussion was preceded by a segment narrated by Lee Cowan, the NBC correspondent covering the Obama campaign who has admitted "it's almost hard to remain objective" about Barack. Cowan buttressed his case in that regard. After playing the clip of Rev. Wright using the n-word to make an invidious comparison between Obama and Hillary, Cowan claimed the words were "old." True--if Cowan considers December, 2007, when Wright uttered them--ancient history.
Then it was on weekend co-anchor Amy Robach's interview of Michael Dyson and Melinda Hennenberger. Dyson, who as Robach noted is an Obama supporter, is a Georgetown professor and MSNBC political analyst. He has in the past garnered headlines for his fierce criticism of Bill Cosby, claiming among other things that Cosby "battered poor blacks" with his calls for self-reliance.
Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama issued a statement on Friday regarding Rev. Jeremiah Wright's racist and anti-American comments, and amazingly published his response to the rising controversy at the far-left, Bush-hating -- and oftentimes vulgarity laden -- Huffington Post.
I kid you not.
As my colleague Mark Finkelstein reported Thursday, Obama's spiritual leader for the past 20 years has encouraged his congregation to sing "God Damn America," stated from the pulpit that our nation is the "U.S of KKK A," and declared that America deserved to be attacked on 9/11.
On Friday, Obama tried to distance himself from these abominations:
Instead of acting as an impartial journalist who would express interest in probing why Barack Obama may say he disagrees with the incendiary anti-U.S. left-wing rants from his minister while he has remained close to him, Friday afternoon on MSNBC Norah O'Donnell fretted about how “Rush Limbaugh went nuts today on his program about this story” and wondered: “How do we get away from this?” Guest Michael Crowley of The New Republic assured her: “I don't think this reflects anything on what Barack Obama believes.”At about 3:55 PM EDT, MSNBC played this clip of a screaming Wright:
We bombed Hiroshima! We bombed Nagasaki! And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. [edit jump] We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yard.
O'Donnell then rued:
I don't even know how these candidates can talk about policy because it seems like every day someone's asking them to apologize for the comments of their supporters. I mean, Rush Limbaugh went nuts today on his program about this story. John McCain is talking about this particular story. How do we get away from this?
On Friday morning's Today, MSNBC host Chris Matthews lamented Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, "blaming 9/11 on us," and compared that to conservative ministers like Jerry Falwell blaming it on "sodomy and everything else." But Matthews stressed that it really shouldn't reflect badly on Obama, who is still a unifier, and not a "black separatist" like his pastor. MRC's Justin McCarthy did the transcript on the Democratic contest:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: At the end of the week, Chris, who do you think came out ahead of the two?
MATTHEWS: Well, I think it was kind of intermission. I think it hurt Barack to have his minister out with all these mouthings blaming 9/11 on us. It will never sell to the American people.
VIEIRA: How damaging do you think that will be, Chris?
Fox News's Chris Wallace was once again Steve Malzberg's guest on WOR radio Thursday, and the host of "Fox News Sunday" made some comments about Eliot Spitzer, Geraldine Ferraro, and the current Democrat campaign for president that are guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
In an interview that covered many subjects, Wallace said of Spitzer, "Gosh, what an idiot," while strongly disagreeing with Geraldine Ferraro's recent statements about Barack Obama, and concluded by saying that the "identity politics" the Democrats have been playing for years "is now coming back to bite them, big time" in such a fashion that it could "tear the Party apart."
To get things rolling, Malzberg asked his guest about the Spitzer resignation (15-minute audio available here):
On today's Morning Joe, Obama fan Mika Brzezinski did her best to defuse the spot of bother Barack is in over the extremist statements made by his personal spiritual advisor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.
Over the course of the three-hour show, Mika variously and repeatedly:
mentioned that Obama has already distanced himself from Wright.
pointed out that the Clinton campaign has its own race-related problems, as with Bill in S.C. and the recent Ferraro flap.
insinuated that the Clinton campaign might be behind the recent emergence of the Wright tapes.
And then there was my favorite. Mika speculated that the sermon in which Wright used the n-word to make an invidious comparison between Hillary and Obama might have been six years old. That's right. Brzezinski imagined that Wright might have taken to his pulpit to excoriate Hillary back in 2001 or 2002, at a time when Barack was a mere Illinois state senator and the presidency not even a gleam in his eye.
As Jeremiah Wright's screaming sermons have gone from ABC across the media in the last 24 hours, many are asking: where were the networks on this story? It sounds like Obama's minister is less versed in the audacity of hope than in the audacity of hate. A Nexis search of network transcripts shows that up until now, Obama's church and minister have been barely mentioned -- and usually as an Obama defense mechanism.
Up until this week, NBC has done nothing. CBS has devoted about a minute to controversy in a February 28 CBS Evening News story. ABC's Jake Tapper offered Obama's church-and-minister defense three times in November and December.
On ABC's World News with Charles Gibson on November 16, Tapper offered a generic story on negative phone calls and e-mails, including anti-Mormon calls against Mitt Romney and suggestions Obama was a Muslim. Obama said: "There are a variety of nasty e-mails going out. This is similar to the e-mails that's, e-mails that have been floating around that says I am, you know, I'm a Muslim plant who's planning to take over America, you know? This would surprise my pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ."
Who cares if our next president has chosen as his "spiritual guide" someone who calls on God to damn America, and believes the US brought 9-11 on itself? Completely off track! Let's get back to the important stuff. You know, like the fine print of the candidate's plan to nationalize health care.
That in a nutshell is Anderson Cooper's kvetch about the controversy over the outrageous statements made by Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., the pastor of Barack Obama's church and the man Obama has described as his spiritual guide and advisor.
Cooper made his comments on his 360 show this evening.
ANDERSON COOPER: Is this just the kind of thing that happens in campaigns? It seems we're almost at a point now where it's this or other issues for the Clinton campaign where people are just latching onto anything to strike a blow against their opponent. All this seems to have nothing to do with actual issues that the country is facing which these candidates should be talking about and we probably should be talking about.
At the end of a Good Morning America segment today about Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., an Obama campaign representative complained that John McCain's pastor had not been similarly "vetted." If that's true, then ABC or some other media outlet surely should and will do so.
Let's imagine that upon vetting, McCain's pastor is found to have made statements that were the mirror-image of those that Rev. Wright has made. How long would McCain remain a viable candidate? Judge for yourself, based on Rev. Wright's statements as exposed in the GMA segment that was the result of work by ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross. GMA aired a number of clips from sermons Rev. Wright gave at his Trinity United Church of Christ.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God Bless America? No, no, no! Not God bless America. God damn America! It's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human!"