April 27, 2008

Exhibit A

Just as a follow up to the post below, here's an example of how the "serious" press is treating the manufactured "outrage" over Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the sound bites of a couple of his sermons.

This is an excerpt from the Tim Russert show aired yesterday with guests Howard Fineman, editor of Newsweek Magazine, and Mike Allen of the political blog "Politico"

Fineman discusses his new book about the 13 ideas that shaped America and mentions one of them, the explicit desire to separate church and state, and that there be no state religion, etc. This was to get away from the top down power structure where the church and/or royalty ruled absolutely. Fineman noted that our country has always enjoyed a, "wonderful, colorful marketplace of faiths, a free market of faiths" and goes on directly,
FINEMAN: The challenge to politicians is to show their sensitivity to, if not their devotion to, their sensitivity to faith, without seeming to be intolerant of other people's faiths.

That's the line you have to walk. And the problem with somebody like Jeremiah Wright, however much good the Trinity United Church of Christ has done on the south side of Chicago, you play these videos of him and he can sound intolerant, it's not a message of tolerance, and therefore it runs counter to everything Obama is claiming to stand for in the campaign and it's that contrast that's caused problems for Obama and I think will pose problems down the road.

OK, let's take a look. First of all, can anyone tell me where or how anything Wright said from the pulpit, even the out of context sound bites, suggested ANY sort of religious "intolerance"? Can anyone point out for us just where he said or expressed anything which remotely suggests an intolerance of other religions?

So where is Fineman getting this idea from? Who knows? But he's just implanted in millions of voters minds that Rev. Wright preaches religious intolerance. Neat trick, eh?

I'd note that the pastor whose endorsement and support John McCain actively sought and still appreciates HAS made statements repeatedly which express BLATANT intolerance for other faiths, up to and including describing the Catholic church as, The Great Whore".

Yet Fineman and the rest apparently don't have a problem there, and it's not even discussed.

Fineman also gives a nod to reality but then casually brushes it aside, saying that it doesn't matter how much good Wright and his church have done for decades in helping those in prison and the poor and giving people work training and endless good works. That doesn't matter.

What does matter? "..you play those videos of him and he can sound intolerant..."

From sound bites of a few seconds, he can "sound" intolerant, according to Fineman, so that's all that matters. Does Fineman do anything to clarify the situation or suggest that it's dishonest and unfair to use such clips to characterize the guy? Hell no. He simply explains how the tactic is going to be played.

Next Russert asked,
RUSSERT: It is interesting, stories about Wright have been in print for some time, but it was that video, Mike Allen, that captured the attention of the media, but also the public.

He admits that rational stories, stories that didn't hyperventilate and inflate the story nor make the fantastic leap of trying to insinuate that Obama must think exactly the same as Wright, have been in print for quite a while, but it was only the little snippets of a few sermons that finally got the press to go along with the right wing smear campaign. He admits it clearly.

Allen responded:
So true! And to some degree we were caught napping on the Wright story because everybody knew about this crazy pastor, people knew about the problems, every time Wright would give a speech somewhere, the RNC would try and get us to link to a story about whatever latest crazy thing he'd said. But the videos made the difference, and Tim you're talking about faith being interwoven, faith is very much a proxy for how we feel about these candidates.

I know a lot of people, including evangelicals, home-schoolers, who said we should probably give him a chance. "Obamacans" [Republicans who support Obama] are very real, or were very real, but as soon as they have these questions about Rev. Wright, they said no, we're not gonna take a chance, and that was why these comments from San Francisco, including one that was taken as being, ahhh, disparaging of people of faith was so damaging. Because the very people who were antagonized by Wright, and then were maybe ready to give him the benefit of the doubt after the "race speech" said we don't trust him on this issue.

What a slice Allen's remarks are. Lot's of truth hidden in there.

First of all it's the utterance of a supposed reporter who's just been completely sucked into supporting and trying to legitimize Republican spin. He's practically reading off one of their scripts.

Here's the evidence: First, he comes up with the idea that the press was "caught napping" on this.

No, they weren't. As is noted, there were plenty of stories about Wright out there by responsible reporters. It was a small issue, because it was being treated rationally without right wing spin. The guy may have said some things people would consider controversial, but it wasn't that big a deal, after all, it was Obama's pastor, not Obama himself, and it would be dishonest to try to suggest that Obama must therefore support and believe exactly as Wright does on every word he utters.

So the story stayed in it's proper context, it's rational and sane proportion.

But then they issued the sound bites, the press went nuts because they don't care about reporting, but something you can SHOW on TV they absolutely love. (they won't bother reporting on a fire or wreck, etc. if there's no video.) So the clips were just what was needed to get the press to essentially run them on an endless loop for a week straight, guaranteeing that every rube with a tee-vee saw and heard the out of context and inflammatory remarks.

Gee, these top reporters say now, we missed the boat. How come we didn't realize just how inflammatory this story was? Well, because it WASN'T inflammatory, and still shouldn't be, were it not for selectively chosen snippets selected ONLY for the fact that they'd inflame people.

After non stop airing of these clips, now these knuckle-heads marvel that people are so upset about it and intone about what a problem it is for Obama. Do they acknowledge that any time you take clips out of context and broadcast them around the clock that it might tend to inflate the story? Nah... they don't notice that fact.

Then the truth comes out: Allen tells us all just what happened and why they're now "on the boat". It's because the Republican National Committee was harassing the hell out of them trying to get them to push the story of Wright as madman by getting them to link to stories that they'd planted themselves to distort and play on people's racial fears.

Allen describes Rev. Wright as a "crazy pastor" without blinking an eye, and refers to, "whatever the latest crazy thing he said" without the slightest attention to what "crazy thing" Wright said, much less what exactly made it "crazy". He just goes along with the RNC spin knowing that he'll never be called on it, certainly not other pundits.

Then to be more helpful to those from whom he's feeling so much heat, he offers his spin suggesting that those who were drawn to Obama are now turning away because ... well, just because the clips were played so often I guess.

Why would this be true? The clips themselves would certainly cause people to wonder. But I'm not sure the clips alone were enough.

That's why when they emerged, there was wall-to-wall right wingers out there to TELL these people what they should take it as, and to TELL them exactly what scary things Rev. Wright believes and stands for. Based on the absolute thinnest of evidence, they said that these clips showed a guy who was a radical black crazy person who thundered that blacks are superior to whites and ominously said he preached "black liberation theology", which to the ignorant obviously suggested that the blacks might somehow revolt, the deepest fear of all ignorant whites.

So now these lazy "journalists" sit on tv getting paid millions, and don't spend a second's time explaining any of this so that people might have a truer idea of what's being discussed. Nope. Not a second. Rather they sit there as if they themselves have fallen for it all and opine about just how much damage it's going to do to Obama.

Of course, if they'd do their jobs and provide more actual information and background about Wright and his statements, then people could actually base their opinions on FACT and reality rather than right wing spin.

But they're not about to do that, evidently. Too complicated, too much work. And besides, this keeps the pot boiling and provides the conflict they thrive on. Never mind that they're directly helping to ensure that the most important decision citizens make is going to be largely based on trivial non-sense and distorted appeals to people's irrational fears.


At 4/27/2008 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on! I wonder how Russet, Fineman and Allen will respond to Rev. Wright's speech today.
I guess Allen would feel King, and Tutu "crazy" also. Tonight people could hear a complete speech by Wright.

At 4/28/2008 1:44 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

As an aside, Wright gave a speech to a convention of the NAACP today, and CNN carried much if not all of it live.

Wright didn't change a thing about his message or his delivery, and to me, it was a welcome change from how people are supposed to behave at the dictates of the establishment press.

Like Obama refusing to do the usual thing after Wright's comments were broadcast all over, saying that while he disagreed and believed Wright to be wrong on several issues, he also refused to toss the man overboard, as the press and establishment seemingly demanded he do.

Wright, in the vernacular, did indeed "keep it real" and didn't attempt to tone down his style or message or delivery, and I commend him for it.

After all, to me, that's exactly the message he's attempting to convey. That there's NOTHING "wrong" with the black style of preaching, the black church, the black way of speech or music or dance or expression.

It may be different, but it's definitely NOT wrong or something to be condemed out of hand or something to be considered "radical" or "way-out" as the crack-pot right wants us to believe.

So if he HAD come out with his tail between his legs and tried to behave or speak in a way more acceptible to the white establishment, he would have been a complete fraud. If anything, Wright is certainly not a fraud.

While the right and some in the press express their outrage and disgust that Wright didn't slink away and disapear in shame, I think it's hopeful and encouraging that he IS continuing to speak.

The right of course will be furiious. Why? Because their attempt to vilify him and shame him off the stage is blowing up in their faces, as it should.

They only gave him the most intense spotlight imaginable, and now Wright is wisely using that spotlight to spread his message and to let people hear and see what he's really about.

Some may not like it, and that's fine. But at least people can (hopefully) see that he's nothing remotely like the characiture mad man that the right was busy constructing. (and will continue to try to promote, painting ever more extreme and vividly false statements about what Wright supposedly represents.)

Wright made many perfectly valid and irrefutable arguments today. Of course most pundits will attempt to describe it without having even heard the whole thing.

But the fact remains that there is nothing "radical" or "crazy" about a leader and intellectual such as Rev. Wright pointing out instances of blatant injustice to blacks and observing the many double standards as they apply to blacks and others, and calling for change.

During the speech he pointed out many instances of how blacks are constantly denigrated in subtle ways and made to feel as if their culture is "wrong" somehow.

All Wright is saying is that it's not wrong, it's something to celebrate, and that blacks should be proud and know they can do whatever they set out to do.

Wright is attempting to uplift people thorough Christianity, and how the right can continually act as though there's something really radical and wrong about that is amazing.

But sadly, it's not unusual. They did the same thing with every black leader who's ever appeared on the scene, including MLK Jr.

So the very fact that they're trying to use Wright to prey on people's ignorant racial fears, and the way they're going about it, is all the proof you need that there STILL is a lot of work that needs to be done in race relations in this country.

The fact that the Republicans and the right are doing this to him, proves exactly why Rev. Wright is working to eliminate such blatant racial ignorance and intolerance.

Fineman had the nerve to state that Wright "appeared" intolerant.

It's the people who condemn Wright out of hand, and that are preying on ignorant racial fears, attempting to inflame them rather than eliminate them, that are spreading intolerance! Not Wright.

If it weren't for a message of intolerance, I'm not sure the Republicans would even HAVE a campaign strategy.

Wright is to speak at the National Press Club later today.

I hope Wright continues to use the high profile the bigots and right wing crackpots who so consistently prey on spreading mistrust, fear, and suspicion between races and other social groups have so graciously handed him to continue to expose them and appeal to people to come together and work together to stop allowing the right and others to use division to achieve power for themselves.

At 4/30/2008 2:16 AM, Blogger Saul said...

The universal rabid denunciation of Wright is the worst display by the mainstream media since their jumping on Bush's "WMD" bandwagon and leading the country to war. Truly contemptible. Their capacity to jump on fake stories, avoid critical thinking and above all do anything they can to avoid the work of investigating and reporting real news knows no bounds.


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