The L.A. Times reports on the Obama/Wright firestorm, giving Obama cover by failing to report the facts that should most concern Americans. The story, titled “Obama renounces his pastor’s remarks,” downplays the 20-year relationship Obama has had with the pastor, and fails to report or accurately describe the most incendiary things Wright has said. For example, the article doesn’t even bother to tell readers that Wright screamed “God damn America!” in a sermon, or that Wright suggested America deserved to get attacked on September 11. Nor does the article tell readers any details regarding the intimacy of the relationship between Wright and Obama.
A reader unfamiliar with the facts will come away with exactly the impression that Obama wants to convey: that 1) Wright is nothing more than the pastor of Obama’s church; 2) Wright has merely spoken forcefully about racism in this country; and 3) McCain has had a similar problem in being linked to a religious figure with objectionable views.
Well, gee then, what’s the big deal??
The paper describes Wright’s remarks as little more than rather strident complaints about the very real phenomenon of racism in this country:
“Hillary was not a black boy raised in a single-parent home — Barack was,” Wright said in the Christmas sermon, delivered from the pulpit at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ.
“Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary! Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a nigger! Hillary has never had her people defined as non-person.”
In another recently aired video, Wright referred to the United States as the “U.S. of K.K.K.A.” He also drew parallels between the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks and the suffering of blacks through years of American history.
He did more than that, L.A. Times editors.
One of the most incendiary and unacceptable comments Rev. Wright has made was his repeatedly screaming “God damn America!” in a sermon. (You can see video here.) Obama is particularly vulnerable on this because of the comments previously made by his wife suggesting that she had a lack of pride in this country until her husband ran for President. If you examine Obama’s statements about Wright over the past couple of days, you will see that he knows that the “God damn America” comment is one of the biggest issues in the Wright controversy. In his blog post about Wright at the Huffington Post, Obama said: “I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies.”
The editors of the L.A. Times know Wright said this. They know that it’s one of the most inflammatory statements at issue here. Yet they don’t mention it in this story.
The article also significantly downplays Rev. Wright’s expressed attitude about September 11 when it says merely that Wright “drew parallels between the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks and the suffering of blacks through years of American history.” Wright did much more than that; he suggested that this country deserved to be attacked on September 11. In his first sermon after September 11, he mocked the idea that we would be “indignant” about the attacks, screaming out: “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” You can view the footage in Brian Ross’s report on Rev. Wright here.
The editors know that this statement by Wright is poisonous to Obama’s campaign — but somehow, they don’t get around to mentioning it.
The article also downplays the relationship between Wright and Obama, omitting several details that I told you about in a recent post on the controversy.
Nowhere does the article tell us that Obama considers Wright to be, in the words of the Chicago Tribune, “a spiritual mentor and a role model.” The article does not tell readers that (again according to the Chicago Tribune) “Obama says that . . . Wright helps keep his priorities straight and his moral compass calibrated.” The article does not tell readers that Wright is the man who inspired the keynote speech that launched Obama’s national profile. The article does not tell readers that Obama consults with Wright before making major political decisions. The article does not tell readers that Wright had an honorary position on the Obama campaign with the the African American Religious Leadership Committee — a position that Wright was forced to surrender only after this controversy emerged.
Omitting these details makes it much easier to draw a parallel between the Wright controversy and the controversy over McCain’s acceptance of an endorsement by John Hagee, whose connection to McCain doesn’t even begin to approach the connection between Obama and Wright.
Obama’s campaign must be thrilled with the “scrutiny” of this L.A. Times article.
This is simply more evidence that citizens seeking the whole truth would be foolish to rely on news organs like the Los Angeles Times for all their information. Because there are plenty of things they know — but they just aren’t going to tell you.
UPDATE: In comments, James Fulton notes that the tidbits omitted from the news article were disclosed in Tim Rutten’s surprisingly fair column on the controversy.