CNN contributor Roland Martin, a known Barack Obama sympathizer, surprisingly isn’t buying the argument that conservatives/Republicans are behind the rumored Michelle Obama "whitey" comment. During a segment on Thursday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," substitute anchor Campbell Brown asked Martin, "Republicans have made it clear, pretty much, that Michelle is fair game here. Are you surprised by the intensity of the attacks?" He replied, "I'm not surprised by it, but I think, also, we can't blame Republicans for everything. It's these idiot Democrats that started some of this stuff."
BET founder Bob Johnson, despite his consistent support of Hillary Clinton, placed an unequivocal importance on Barack Obama’s election as President during a segment on Wednesday’s "American Morning." "I believe that if Senator Obama leads this country the way he ran the primary, it will become a historic event for African-Americans, probably greater than the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed in 1863."
This statement, which he made during an interview at the top of the 7 am hour of the CNN program, was a drastic change of tune for the media mogul. Earlier this year, Johnson hinted at Barack Obama’s drug use during a Clinton campaign rally. "Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues -- when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book." CNN contributor (and thinly-veiled Obama supporter) Roland Martin blasted both Johnson and Hillary Clinton for the remarks on "American Morning" itself at the time.
CNN classifies Campbell Brown as an "anchor," but that apparently doesn't prevent her from riding to Barack Obama's defense on a high-profile issue. On this evening's Election Center, Brown seconded a guest's assertion that the controversy surrounding Barack Obama's erstwhile refusal to wear a flag pin was "nonsensical" and "ridiculous."
The topic was the matter of Obama's patriotism as a campaign issue. CNN contributor and ardent Obama supporter Roland Martin [he who gushed over Rev. Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP] addressed the flag pin flap [note: remarks taken from transcript.]
ROLAND MARTIN: First of all, John McCain doesn't wear a flag pin. Hillary Clinton doesn't wear a flag pin and there are people who wear flag pins who call themselves patriots who led us into a war based on faulty intelligence. At some point, people need to use their brains. We have somebody who is an American. Who is a sitting United States senator. Who is running for president. How do we sit here and define somebody's patriotism? The reality is, he is an American. And so I have a problem with anybody, Cliff [Cliff May, fellow panelist], me, or anyone else, saying, you know what? I need to see how much a patriot you are and you are. There is no litmus test. A column on CNN.com the other week said make wearing the flag pin the 28th amendment because we sit here and move the ball back and forth. It's a nonsensical issue to say how do you define patriotism. It is ridiculous.
CAMPBELL BROWN: Roland, I—on that issue—on the flag pin, I couldn't agree with you more.
Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel made an open confession about the mainstream media’s pro-Obama leanings on Monday’s "The Situation Room." " I would be a liar if I said that there hasn't been a certain amount of glee in the press corps about Hillary Clinton not doing that well. To use a very fancy word, there's some schadenfreude among the press." Despite this candor, he then went on to say that the press doesn’t "play favorites," almost contradicting what he had said earlier about the press coverage of Hillary Clinton.
CNN contributor Roland Martin, asked about Democrats’ low poll results concerning national security on Friday’s "Election Center" program, answered using his best Barack Obama impression. "...John McCain, you're a war hero. You served. But you also voted for the war that's led to the death of 4,000 Americans. We have spent billions of dollars and, frankly, it has not stabilized the Middle East.... He's [Obama] going to put the cost of the war and how it has not done what it was supposed to on his back and say, you know what? Explain that, Mr. War Hero."
CNN’s Campbell Brown, participating in a panel discussion on CNN’s special coverage of the West Virginia primary on Tuesday evening, agreed with the liberal members of the panel and rejected a Republican strategist’s opposition to the idea that John McCain has been receiving a "free ride" over the past weeks. "We can argue he’s [McCain] also not getting a lot of attention right now."
Later in the segment on CNN’s "Newsroom" between Tony Harris, David Gergen, and Roland Martin after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright speech at the National Press Club (which Mark Finkelstein blogged about earlier), Gergen suggested that "it’s time for him [Rev. Wright] to get off the stage, and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on." He also twice characterized the whole affair as a "sideshow" [audio available here].
Shortly after a commercial break which came in the middle of the discussion, Gergen, in response to a question from "Newsroom" co-host Tony Harris, said of Rev. Wright, "Every time he appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for."
Gergen then talked about how the Rev. Wright issue was a distraction, and how the preacher should have handled himself after the controversy broke, all the while heaping praise on him, and at the end, making his "move on" suggestion.
How bad was Reverend Wright's appearance before the National Press Club this morning? Bad enough that even CNN contributor Roland Martin—who yesterday enthused about Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP, who gave Wright's chat with Bill Moyers an 'A'—flunked it with an 'F.' Bad enough that David Gergen condemned it as "narcissistic almost beyond belief." Bad enough that, introducing a panel discussion of the speech, the palpably distressed CNN Newsroom host Tony Harris let out an audible groan of "ah, boy," and later wondered how much damage had been done.
On Anderson Cooper’s CNN blog, Roland Martin spins out of control in an effort to help sweep up the mess left from pastorgate. He claims that Rev. Wright was only quoting Edward Peck, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and deputy director of President Reagan’s terrorism task force. He is particularly claiming that the controversial sermon that includes the quote, “chickens have come home to roost” was a quote from Peck. He goes on to provide what I guess is supposed to be the quote in question. However, if you watch the start of this video, Wright reveals exactly who the quote comes from....Malcom X!
Roland Martin, a talk radio host out of Chicago and contributor to CNN, appearing on the network immediately Barack Obama’s "race speech" on Tuesday morning, compared the reaction to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s much-publicized comments to the reaction to the Catholic sex scandal. Co-anchor Heidi Collins asked, "He [Obama] didn't disagree strong enough to go to a different church though. He stayed for many, many years. How do you think that will play?" Martin’s responded, "But frankly, I think that is irrelevant, because I don't -- look, I was born and raised Catholic. The first 25 years of my life of my life, I was Catholic.... And there are a number of people out there who are still Catholic today, even though the Church dropped the ball when it came to the whole issue of sex offenders, and some who left. But that's fine. But the reality is a person's faith is a personal decision."
Martin made similar comments on Monday’s "Newsroom" program during a discussion of Rev. Wright’s comments with co-anchor Don Lemon and Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus at the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour. "[Y]ou have a number of people who have said that, for Catholics, will you leave the Catholic Church because of what the church did when it came to sexual abuse victims? And you know what? A lot of folks have stayed."
At the end of panel discussion, just before 7:30 PM EST Tuesday night about conservative opposition to John McCain, CNN analyst Roland Martin recognized his next comment -- about how only “extremists” in the GOP afraid of losing power are opposed to McCain -- might well upset conservatives and so cited NewsBusters in putting a warning up front:
I have something for NewsBusters.org for tomorrow. These are the extremists of the party who want to continue to hold on to their power. The bottom line is you're losing it. Your party is changing. Deal with it.
CNN contributor Roland Martin, commenting on the results of Super Tuesday on Wednesday’s "American Morning," advised Barack Obama to indirectly play-up his liberal credentials in order to do better in upcoming caucuses and primaries. One such item was Obama’s visible support of the pro-illegal immigration marches in 2007. "[H]e has to be able to take the Hispanic supporters and say, look, this is a guy who we are behind.... [H]e did make the point that he was only one of two U.S. senators who actually marched in many of those immigration marches around the country. People probably forget that. If you don't make the point, they don't know."
On Tuesday's Lou Dobbs Tonight, which was repeated on Sunday, CNN host Dobbs chided the media for not including illegal immigration in exit polls of Democratic voters simply because Democratic candidates have avoided discussing the issue to prevent, according to Bill Schneider, "stirring up a lot of passion," and relayed that he had pressured CNN into including the issue in other polling two years ago. Dobbs: "Would it surprise you if I were to tell you right here in front of God and everybody I had to convince CNN a couple of years ago to include illegal immigration in a poll because we didn't even in this organization believe it was an important issue, some of us didn't?" He even got Schneider to agree with his contention that the media's "complicity with that motive" of the Democratic candidates in ignoring the issue should "bring a sense of shame to these [media] organizations." (Transcript follows)
Roland Martin, a CNN contributor and talk radio host out of Chicago, blasted Hillary Clinton and some of her supporters on Monday’s "American Morning" over recent comments they made about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama. Martin, responding to Clinton’s comment that MLK’s dream " began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964," countered by bringing up the former First Lady’s youth. "[H]ad Hillary Clinton's choice for president in '64 actually won, you never would have had civil rights bill, because she was a Goldwater girl." Throughout the segment, Martin sounded like an Obama supporter.
On Friday afternoon, CNN's liberal contributor Roland Martin suggested that most people who are pro-life seem "hateful" as he was describing Mike Huckabee's need to reach out to non-evangelical voters. During an appearance on CNN Newsroom at about 1:47 p.m. with anchor Kyra Phillips, Martin contended that Huckabee needs to pursue a strategy similar to that of President Bush in 2000: "Sure, [Huckabee is] a staunch pro-life person, but he isn't perceived as being hateful as other people who are pro-life." (Transcript follows)
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of Martin's comments from the Friday January 4 CNN Newsroom:
CNN contributor Roland Martin, in an interview on Thursday’s "American Morning" about Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s apparent threat against law enforcement officials in a recent speech, tried to explain away the comments as "rhetoric," and tried to put them in the context of "the history of the Nation of Islam." "It is not like it is a surprise when you actually hear the kind of rhetoric."
Co-host Kiran Chetry interviewed Martin near the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN morning show. Chetry played a clip from Farrakhan’s speech that he gave at the recent 12th anniversary of the Million Man March in Atlanta. "Do you want me, as the voice of the honorable Elijah Muhammad, and really a voice of God, to ask our people to retaliate in matters of the flame? A life for a life? Is that what you are driving us to?"
CNN has highlighted the Media Matters-driven spin on Bill O’Reilly’s race remarks on his radio program since the beginning of the week, and has specifically used "Out in the Open" program, hosted by Rick Sanchez, to carry the water on the subject Monday through Friday of last week.
"Out in the Open" first did a segment on the O’Reilly issue on Monday, at the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. Sanchez played select audio clips from O’Reilly’s radio show, outside of the greater context of the entire hour that O’Reilly discussed race. He also read some of the quotes from a transcript of the radio broadcast. CNN contributor and O’Reilly critic Roland Martin appeared unopposed during the segment, which lasted about six minutes. During the segment, Martin, in his attack on O’Reilly, played-up the parts from O’Reilly’s remarks that both Media Matters and Sanchez chose to highlight.
CNN co-host Kiran Chetry and CNN contributor Roland Martin, in a segment on Tuesday’s "American Morning," discussed comments on race Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had recently made on his radio show, and the question you might expect came up: "Is this going to be one of those Don Imus moments?"
Chetry asked this question to Martin due to some blogs "buzzing" over O’Reilly’s comments about a visit he made to a "soul food" restaurant in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City with Al Sharpton. Martin denied that this was going to be O’Reilly’s "Imus moment."
O’Reilly, in a conversation with NPR host and Fox contributor Juan Williams, had said of his visit to Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, "I think black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves. There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea.’ They were ordering and having fun, and it wasn't any kind of craziness at all."