Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Article on Obama-Wright Controversy Downplays the Most Damning Details

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 1:06 pm

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.

32 Responses to “L.A. Times Article on Obama-Wright Controversy Downplays the Most Damning Details”

  1. a black boy raised in a single-parent home

    Interestingly, that is not Barry Obama.

    The oft-repeated refrain of “poor Barry, black son of a teenaged mom, raised without a dad” is a nice myth right there with Georgie Washington and the cherry tree.

    Darleen (187edc)

  2. You’re absolutely correct about this ridiculously weak news story, but give credit where it’s due — to Tim Rutten, of all people, in his op-ed column — for delivering a proper lambasting of Wright’s hateful anti-USA quotes.

    james fulton (951b7b)

  3. Indeed. I have updated the post to reflect your observation.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  4. Every two weeks or less, I read the next thing surrounding Obama, and am purple with anger over how wrong his candidacy is.

    Will anything ever stick to this guy? Black Liberation Theology, people. Not a good belief system, and apparently rife with anti-American hate.

    Will McCain grow a pair and drill these liberuhls after the conventions? I hope so.

    KC (22a88b)

  5. Interesting contrast:
    The treatment of Rev. Wright’s comment on the U.S. deserved being struck on 9/11; and,
    How the LAT (and the rest of the Left) went apoplectic when the same thing was said by a Conservative religious figure (Robertson? Falwell?).

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  6. Thank goodness so few people read the LAT anymore.

    I predict through the hard core Dems will come out to support Obama, claiming that they are “brave.” They applauded today in Indiana when he spoke out about the forces of divisiveness that have come out in the past few weeks. Huh? Why doesn’t he deliver that sermon at Trinity Sunday–then I’ll take him seriously.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  7. The LA Times writes in the article: “The remarks have drawn intense criticism from conservative bloggers and commentators.”

    Translation: It’s just those conservatives, who we all know shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    Bradley J Fikes (1c6fc4)

  8. The L.A. SLIMES just another liberal left-wing lie a day rag not worth linning a birdscage with not worth wrapping a dead fish in

    krazy kagu (a2e13d)

  9. One of the abiding criticisms that LAT types put forth is that Zell means to gut L.A.-based reportage of national and world events. They decry the reduction in the size of Tribune bureaus.

    This is the very best incident that Zell could have hoped for if he were looking for justification of the cuts. I read the coverage of the Chicago Tribune’s exclusive sit down with BO. There was nothing the LAT added, nor could they have. What was the point?

    Now, if something was developing here in L.A., the Chicago Tribune would be foolish not to rely on the LAT reportage. But the journalists all scream how the local readership for each entity is shortchanged.

    Break out the scythe, Sam. You win, L.A. wins, and all who care about genuine reporting win.

    Ed (049e64)

  10. Absolutely correct, Ed.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  11. Obama’s church’s core beliefs.
    Below is the web address to Obama’s church web site.
    You can read his church’s core beliefs (Manifesto?) yourself.
    It brings up some serious questions that need to be addressed of the
    Support he has given to this church for the past 20 years he’s been a member.
    It’s great that he has disavowed the pastor’s comments , but the church ideals themselves
    Are raising some serious questions of Obama’s makeup and beliefs
    Take a step back and read it with an open mind and ask yourself if these
    Beliefs are something you can support, because if you support him you are
    Also supporting these beliefs also.
    1. This church married obama and michelle
    2. This church baptized his children and helped in their religious education.
    Read #8, it is extremely scary that people who call themselves Christian can think
    This way, ask yourself if you agree with these thought processes, because if you
    Allow a person who has been indoctrinated into this type of thought having access
    To a supreme position as President is truly a frightening situation.

    jim (6a50e3)

  12. The most frightening fact about this story is Obama’s claim he did not know Rev. Wright made these type of comments!!! What a liar Obama is!!
    Go to Trinity’s website and it is all there, African-centric culture, anti-Americanism, etc, and it has been for the last 5 years. Obama knows fully well what Wright’s views are and his relationship with Farakkan, yet he appointed him a senior member of his Presidential advisory team. ONLY WHEN THE HEAT HAS BEEN TURNED ON DOES HE REPUDIATE WRIGHT’S VIEWS!! The man has no shame, why did ne not leave the church or repudiate Wright’s views years ago before he ran for President? BECAUSE HE BELIEVED IN THEM, now he is trying to save his skin by throwing Wright to the wolves. Obama is a liar and an opportunist. A man is known by his friends, and Obama, his wife (“This is the first time I have been proud of my country”-in 40 years?)and Rev. Wright are all peas in a pod-deep down, they are US haters and Afro-centric. They are not uniters, they are dividers.

    Paul Williamson (e2b416)

  13. I’m a conservative Republican who has only voted for two democrats ever–Jimmy Carter and Eliot Spitzer–both of which I regretted. Still, I think Obama is OK here, unless we see video of him cheering while Wright espouses hate, bigotry and idiocy.

    We all have friends and relatives who say outrageous things from time to time. I won’t throw any of my friends under the bus and I don’t expect Obama or any other politician to do so, either. If they aren’t on your staff, then just tell me you don’t agree with their position or statements and show me that you don’t agree by your actions, and as far as I’m concerned the issue is over.

    If I disassociated myself from every friend and relative who is a bit crazy, I’d be a lonely, lonely, man.

    Tony Iovino (8e5007)

  14. What’s all the fuss about? I just went onto the church’s website and found its principles to be quite uplifting. We should be celebrating a church that places so much emphasis on insuring that blacks develop themselves intellectually, develop strong families, promote a strong culture of math and science achievement in the black community. we need more black churches like this. perhaps if we did, black youth around this nation will not be swelling our jails.
    Move on press! There is no story here…

    harvey jenkins (4d1e1c)

  15. unless we see video of him cheering while Wright espouses hate, bigotry and idiocy.

    Now that’s not raising the bar or anything, is it?

    When exactly has that standard been acceptable when “questions” have been raised about Republicans and/or conservatives?

    I’ll believe Barry doesn’t support Wright when I see video of his not joining in the applause and sitting on his hands when others around him are standing and shouting approval of Wright’s sermons.

    Darleen (187edc)

  16. It doesn’t matter what the LA Times writes or omits…The Right Reverend Reverend Wright has now let America know HIS beliefs. They are biased, inflammatory and racist. Senator Obama’s complicity, having sat in Reverend Wright’s pew for twenty years, and having had the Reverend baptize his children, speaks for itself. Now, let’s see if these two men can spell “UNELECTABLE”. ATTENTION: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Florida and the Superdelegates: If you vote for Barack Obama, you are an idiot. In twenty years when America looks back on who succeeded the worst president in US history, and why the American people voted for the same party, they will be slapping their knees saying, “Oh yeah, that’s the year the Democrats nominated Barack Hussein Obama, who’s mentor was screaming, “GOD DAMN AMERICA, GOD DAMN AMERICA, GOD DAMN AMERICA!”

    Boy, you couldn’t ask for more if you are a Republican.

    Steve Restling (2b581b)

  17. The Right Reverend Reverend Wright says the Government is to blame for the ills of the American Black Family (oxymoron?)…Here is an interesting statistic which maybe the Reverend can explain how the Government is impregnating all those single ladies:

    It the state of Georgia, as in most urban areas, two thirds of the Black children born, are born to unwed mothers. Most of those boys will grow up to be unproductive men in our society. For irrefutable proof one only needs to examine:

    (a) The high school drop out rate amongst boys from single-family homes.
    (b) The incarceration statistics for boys raised by single moms.
    (c) The mass number of single mothers who have trained their boys to devalue and disrespect the entire female gender

    Steve Restling (2b581b)

  18. The Afro-centric gospel is a distraction not a solution. Injecting “race” into the gospel or “church identity” is an age old tradition used to address social ills.

    The problem is, when you implement a strategy you must update your approach to a problem that has evolved. Reverend Wright would have been more relevent (not necessarily accurate) if his “messages” were spoken in the 1960’s. Four decades later, America has evolved (not perfect, but has made progress).

    Therefore, fiery rhetoric such as Rev. Wright is unfortunate and extremely disappointing since he must admit that though we are not totally ‘where we would’ like to be, we are not ‘where we used’ to be.

    Like my brother says in a blog entry: “Having worked with inner city youth in New York for 4 years, I co-wrote a book with my twin brother that addresses the subject of identity. Our book, Uncovering the Hidden Stranger Within: Answering the Question of Identity, deals with the mindset of individuals like Rev. Wright, who have developed a reactionary Theology, that is not Bible-based. In one section of our book (pages 28-34); we address this issue of the erroneous Afro-centric gospel.”


    KT (8d211f)

  19. what is so frustrating was that he lied when he said he never heard those words for 20 years.. not believable. what more else we need to know about this guy?

    jake (dd23f9)

  20. “God Damn America”. Those words are enough for me to know that this man (Obama) is trouble for this nation. Guilt by conscious association is still guilt. Obama chooses to associate himself and his family with this bigot and his ilk. Birds of a feather….

    Paul (96cfc8)

  21. I’ll bet a dollar to a donut that the truth is Obama wasn’t at services all that often– I wouldn’t be surprised if he left the church-going to his wife.

    I won’t condemn McCain for getting close to moronic preachers, and I won’t fault Obama–again, unless we have some evidence that he did more than passively participated in the church.

    There’s a heck of a lot of Catholics who don’t agree with the Church’s stance on a lot of things–including its opposition to Iraq– but I don’t see any call for people to abandon that Church. There’s lots of photos of Cardinal Law and the hateful Cardinal Egan arm in arm with politicians of all stripes– but, again, no calls to quit the Church.

    I have enough problems with Obama on taxes, immigration, health care, Iraq– I don’t need to look for made up issues.

    Tony Iovino (8e5007)

  22. Media, be fair. We could also scrutinize McCain’s association with other so-called “radical” pastors on the right such as Hagee and Rod Parsley. The fact that McCain stated, while referencing Parsley’s endorsement, “I am very honored today to have one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide…thank you for your leadership and your guidance. I am very grateful you are here” absolutely places him in the exact same position Senator Obama has found himself in at the moment. I know that, as humans, we will very rarely agree with everything a pastor/priest/spiritual guide believes. Given that I, myself, have remained in churches and kept spiritual guides for the overall benefits they have provided, I can not judge either of these men. However, one of questions being posed is whether Parsley creates a problem for McCain just as Wright for Obama. In a sermon entitled, “Black Genocide,” Parsley said that our culture is a “tolerance-tauting” culture, which “underneath their smiles of inclusion lurks the sinister sword of segregation, of racism, of genocide…..genocide in America.” He is not only well-known for espousing anti-gay and anti-Muslim sentiments, in the video he also accuses Planned Parenthood of wanting to “systematically eliminate African-Americans from the societal fabric of our nation.” He even says that Dred Scott, along with Roe vs. Wade would agree that “African-Americans are nothing more than an animal.” According to Parsley, blacks have become the “preferred prey” of the abortion industry. WOW! I thought we were all equal and all this talk of conspiracy was just a lot of “hogwash.” Oh well, I guess I was wrong again. When you have black ministers and white ministers from different states saying there is some sort of a conspiracy to wipe out or destroy black people, insuate that “they” lie with a smile while seeking to uphold segregation, racism, and genocide we just might want to take another look. McCain, like Obama must denounce this kind of divisiveness and non-tolerance. It simply can’t be accepted in a society as diverse as America. McCain is not off the hook. I only hope the media will do its job by holding McCain accountable for his associations.

    Pearl (b62750)

  23. I want to know if this is still America? A man that actually served in a war and has served Americans that are largely marginalized or forgotten spoke in a sermon about the fact that our ham handed diplomacy as well as our failure to see the world’s struggling people and their issues as possibly affecting us somehow is not a case of what we have wrought clobbering us.

    To act as if this country cares for its poor and even now its middle class is to be disingenuous. You only have to recall the images of American citizens trapped in the Superdome in New Orleans to realize that some black people have a right o be angry with and suspicious of the government.

    I have a beloved and well learned Sunday School teacher that served in Korea, was wounded, and loathes the President. He speaks about his views openly and firmly. Those people who support Senator Clinton or President Bush wait for the lesson to begin because they feel that as an American who spilled his blood for this country my teacher has the right to complain about what he sees as Senator Clinton’s and President Bush’s failures are toward black people here.

    I think that they have the right to say whatever they want. Now, deciding if they are wrong is a whole other concern.

    Deb (4094ff)

  24. Show me any instance in this thread and others, Deb, where the demand was made that this preacher, or any other preacher, be shut down and prohibited from speaking his mind.

    Your point is ludicrous and irrelevant to this very important situation.

    It is all about the judgment of a potential president. We have scarcely a record upon which to assess this man. He, himself, insists that we can trust his judgment. I’ll go one better.

    If he can attend a church for 20 years and be ignorant of the core radicalism found therein, how in hell can we trust that he’ll grasp the nuances of congressional and foreign relations?

    Ed (049e64)

  25. Deb, you seem to not want to talk about the real issue here – and instead want to substitute one that is more convenient for you.

    Its not a very convincing rhetorical exercise in this crowd.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  26. We all know that the media is biased in favor of the democrats, especially Barack Obama.

    Young Politician (d9436d)

  27. Media, be fair. We could also scrutinize McCain’s association with other so-called “radical” pastors on the right such as Hagee and Rod Parsley.

    Yea Pearl. And when McCain says that he never heard those men say those things because he was never a member of the congregation, and, if he had heard them, he would have immediately dissociated himself with them, as he did with Hagee, the media can then be fair and ask Obama, “what the hell was your excuse putting up with this guy for TWENTY YEARS!?”

    TomB (ce6566)

  28. Obama Knew of Pastor’s Sermons
    By Don | March 15, 2008
    Sen. Barack Obama apparently was well aware of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s statements long before they became publc.
    Obama told CNN that he “didn’t know about all these statements. I knew about one or two of these statements that had been made. One or two statements would not lead me to distance myself from either my church or my pastor. … If I had thought that was the tenor or tone on an ongoing basis, then yes, I don’t think it would have been reflective of my values.”
    But according to a New York Times story from a year ago, the Obama campaign dis-invited Wright from delivering a public invocation at Obama’s candidacy announcement.

    me (9decee)

  29. Evidence shows Obama has lied to the American people…

    Senator Obama threw down the gauntlet recently regarding his former controversial Pastor Wright, insisting that he knew nothing of his incendiary sermons, quotes of which are now being repeated ad nausem in media outlets.

    He denounced these views, and said he would have left the preacher and maybe even the church, if he had only known about the rhetoric, but all he observed during the 20 years of close association was finding Jesus.

    Obviously, this defies all credulity to a reasonable person, since attending so long with such a close association is unlikely to hide such an obvious bigoted bias, but NOW there appears to be *clear evidence* surfacing to show what Barack knew and when he knew it, and the picture is clear that Obama knew all about Wright’s views, despite his recent claim to the contrary.

    1) Last year, the New York Times reported that Obama was worried over Wright’s views, suggesting he was well familiar with their incendiary nature. This was reported 3/17/08 By John Fund on Fox News.

    2) In Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama, he quote’s his former pastor where inflammatory rhetoric was openly used, so it is impossible for Barack to suggest NOW that he just found out about such views. This was exposed by Rich Lowry March 14 2008 on National Review online, and is obviously easy to fact check. Naturally, considering that Barack was so deeply influenced in development that his other book “The Audacity of Hope” has its title inspired by Wright, it is hardly surprising.

    3) A reporter (Kessler) from Newsmax has stated that Obama was in attendence last July 22 in the pulpit where Wright sermoned, nodding in agreement when the Pastor used inflammatory rhetoric. He may have been wrong about the exact date, but this reporter is sticking to his story and new details have emerged, see this link:

    Reporters are not given to openly lying to ruin their careers, but politicans are.

    As so often is the case, the cover up is worse than the original offence, something we have all learned from Watergate. Politicians attempt to lie instead of coming clean, and their credibility is lost.

    Obama has lost his.

    A campaign presumptively built on character shows now that Obama was not a good judge of personal character, considering his association with Wright. An election about judgement shows Barack did not have that with regard to a person he had on his staff up until recently, when for poltical expediancy the preacher was thrown under the bus. Obama had clearly known about his racial views, as demonstrated above. Finally, race built on transcending race relations has been shown to be connected intimately with divisive left wing radical racial politics, not bringing people together.

    A liberal voting record more extreme than just about any other senator also belies his claim of working with the other side. Obama supported filibuster of Alito, and voted against the partial birth abortion bill most Americans, even prochoicers, supported. He also denounced the Supreme Court ruling upholding the legality of the late term abortion ban. A divider, not a uniter.

    His wife’s comment about her being proud of her country for the first time in her adult life, which many took offense to, may be explained by so many hours spent in front of Wright, whose views must have been known clearly to the prospective first couple, and this also speaks volumes.

    The defense that these charges are merely political sophistry, “guilt by association” as it were, are clearly incorrect in light of the above facts to the contrary, and the predonderance of the evidence.

    As a liberal African American Juan Williams put it on Fox News recently, the more we learn about Barack Obama, the more we learn he is an inauthentic, disingenuous politician who does not offer hope and change, but more of the same.

    This story may doom Obama’s nomination candidacy, general election prospects, and may even prompt calls for resignation of his senate seat, since the cover up calls into question his honesty.

    me (9decee)

  30. Folks, this had nothing to do with race and everything with worldview and ideology! Condi Rice and Colin Powell are black, but strong, trustworthy, patriotic characters. Pity they are not electable! But Obama, for goodness sake, this guy is just to much. He is on the left fringe.

    Don (c7c757)

  31. Yes Siree. No matter what my lying eyes have told me has happened over the past 20 years I totally believe without question that Obama and Michele sat through all those sermons and never, never, ever agreed with anything that Wright said, nor did they approve of the rest of the congregation’s wild-ass, er, energetic, approval of everything that Wright said that might be considered by you and me to be you know, “controversial”.

    I also believe, I mean know, that they bring their kids because baby sitting is just too darn expensive (give em a break they only make a bit over a million a year) and being the wonderful parents they are, they just put their hands over the kids ears when Wright says one of his ‘no-no’ things – it’s so cute…

    I also believe without question that kindly old reverend Wright really does mean well, he’s just a bit old you see and forgets that its not 1908 anymore. Yes, Obama was heaping praise after praise on kindly old uncle Wright for years up to a few months ago when he stopped heaping praise on him for reasons that shall go unnoticed. But, there’s no need to worry about Reverend Wright. He won’t actually live in the Whitehouse or anything. And Obama will only consult him on non-nuclear matters. Mostly.

    And if you think that “Black Liberation Theology” thing that forms the theological basis for Obama’s church is hateful to white people, I have one word for you: Slavery. So shutup about that because the MSM is ignoring it and if you needed to know about it they would tell you. Or Obama would. Or both.

    Why am I so confident in my belief of Obama? Because Obama said so in a speech. A speech where the words came right out of his mouth. I saw his mouth move and heard the words. That’s all it takes. So it must be true. GOBAMA

    Dr. Dean (3d6c14)

  32. go to youtube and watch Wrights Sermon yourself and decide.

    And I also recommend anyone who softens a bit look at this one.

    alex hagen (063361)

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