On Friday's Morning Edition, NPR's Cheryl Corley stacked her report on President Obama's gun control push full of left-of-center talking heads. But the one who stood out was Father Michael Pfleger, whom she merely identified as a "social activist". Corley ignored his controversial background, which includes a 2008 defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former radical pastor, and threatening to "snuff out" a Chicago gun store owner in 2007.
The correspondent also failed to point out the liberal affiliations of two other "activists" who are on the faculty at University of Chicago: a political science professor with an interest in "lesbian and gay politics" and a law professor who is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
To the extent that it is being reported, actor Jon Voight's remarks to last night's Republican House-Senate fundraising dinner are being selectively chosen to fit the media's talking points about conservatives and the GOP.
Robert Dougherty of Associated Content News, for example, has latched onto some red meat lines to portray the actor as a thorn in the side of some Republicans who don't want to rock the proverbial boat:
Though the Republicans tried in vein [sic] to heal the recent divides in the party, Jon Voight had no such words of reconciliation in regards to the President. As host of the dinner, Voight spoke against the "Obama oppression" and called the President a "false prophet" among other things.
But that doesn't do justice to Voight's 10-minute speech -- which I've embedded above at right -- wherein the veteran actor noted how Democrats and the media were content to wear down public opinion of George W. Bush with a never-ending flood of negativity while building up Barack Obama as a near-messianic savior who dare not be questioned:
Two Catholic priests who appeared as guests during back-to-back segments on Thursday’s No Bias, No Bull program were treated noticeably differently by CNN’s on-air personalities. Father Michael Pfleger of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who is best known for his racially-charged rhetoric against Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential race, as well as his defense of former Obama pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, faced only a couple of pointed questions, most notably about his recent decision to fly an American flag upside-down. In the following segment, Father Mitch Pacwa of the orthodox Catholic TV network EWTN faced a more skeptical and sustained line of questioning from the CNN panel about the practice of priestly celibacy.
Anchor Roland Martin brought on Father Pfleger 43 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program to talk about his continuing push against street violence in Chicago, especially when it involves minors, as 36 school-aged children so far this year have been violently killed . He only introduced the priest as the “pastor of the faith community of Saint Sabina from the South Side of Chicago.” Neither he nor any of the other journalists participating in the panel mentioned any of Father Pfleger’s past controversies during the segment.
The July 11 Second Amendment Freedom Rally in downtown Chicago was ignored by both of Chicago's major newspapers (Tribune search on "gun rally," not in quotes, is here [HT Say Uncle]; Sun-Times search on "gun" is here).
Focusing on the Tribune: Its editorial board last month advocated repealing the Second Amendment in the wake of the Supreme Court's Heller ruling, holding that the amendment confers an individual right. Perhaps not coincidentally, it has frequently covered anti-gun events with a similar number, or even fewer, participants, than were at Thursday's event.
At least one Chicago TV station did cover the Second Amendment Freedom Rally. Here is part of the report filed by Leah Hope at ABC affiliate WLS (video is also at the link; bold is mine):
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts treated Father Michael Pfleger to a fawning interview on Thursday in which she mostly ignored his radical comments and lauded the "maverick priest," describing him as "not someone to be silenced."
Although, a previous segment featured a single clip of Pfleger's sermon at the former church of Barack Obama where he viciously attacked Senator Hillary Clinton, Roberts ignored other, more inflammatory remarks by the priest, such as his assertion, made during the same sermon as the Clinton attack, that "America has been raping people of color and America has to pay the price for the rape!" Of course, Roberts didn't mention this quote. Instead, she spun Pfleger as someone who is "passionate about the Word" and cheered the anti-crime and poverty work he's done.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," the morning show featured a new religious expert who explained away some of the radical statements heard at Barack Obama's now former church. Father Edward Beck, the host of "Faith Matters Now" on ABC News's video site ABC News Now, also defended Father Michael Pfleger, the latest religious leader to make incendiary remarks at Trinity United Church. (In a video, Pfleger can be heard condemning, "I also believe that America is the greatest sin against God.") Co-host Chris Cuomo prompted, "You say he's much more than how he's being characterized as this kind of bad parody of an African-American preacher. Tell me."
Responding to the softball, Beck justified, "Well, everybody is more than a few sound bites can demonstrate." The two, along with NPR analyst Juan Williams were discussing not only Pfleger, but also the enthusiastic response the mostly African American congregation gave him and (on other occasions) the incendiary Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Again, Beck, who was appearing on GMA for the first time as a religious expert, offered standard liberal guilt by asserting, "But I think you have to understand underneath [the congregation's cheering] there is real sentiment. There is a feeling of being disenfranchised."
Who says there's no humor in politics? Obama communications director Robert Gibbs went on ABC's This Week today, and in one of the better deadpan bits since Buster Keaton actually said that Barack Obama's decision to quit the Trinity United Church of Christ was "not political."
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: In Philadelphia, just in April, Senator Obama said of Reverend Wright "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community." Now he's cut all ties to Reverend Wright, and left his church. What is it a mistake to wait this long?
ROBERT GIBBS: No, George. I think obviously what Barack Obama made in the past few days is a deeply personal, not a political decision. And as you heard the reasoning, he made that decision for two reasons. One, even guest speakers that were at Trinity, their views were ascribed to him even though he didn't hold those views, and secondly, the members of Trinity couldn't do what members of a church do, and that is, sit in quiet reflection and worship God.
Father Michael Pfleger, whose endorsement of Barack Obama until recently appeared on the official Obama website, mocks Hillary Clinton's tears during a sermon at Obama's church, the Trinity United Church of Christ, on May 25, 2008.
Mika Brzezinski realizes that the latest looniness emanating from Barack Obama's church poses political problems for the presidential candidate. But as a person of pallor, the ever-so-PC Morning Joe-er doesn't want to judge a black church—even when the most recent rantings come from the mouth of . . . a white preacher.
Morning Joe opened today with a clip of Father Michael Pfleger guest-preaching this past Sunday at Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ. Pfleger, a fixture on the radical Chicago scene whose endorsement of Obama [h/t Michelle Malkin] until recently appeared on the official Obama campaign website, mocked Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire tears as a sign of her frustrated sense of white entitlement. The screencap shows Pfleger making like Hillary wiping away those tears.
(Watch video above, context included, fast-forward to 3:40 for Brzezinski's humorous comment.)
But while acknowledging the headache Pfleger poses for Obama, Mika was oh-so-loath to comment on the substance or tone of the remarks themselves. Excerpts from her discussion with Tucker Carlson, Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist: