Posted by WLS:
I’ve watched with dismay as Dan Abrams has lowered himself into the sewer over at MSNBC by going completely in the tank for Obama, and turning the network into a full-time operative of the DNC. But Abrams is clearly one of the principal players behind that move, as it began after he gave up his prior show a couple years ago to be program director for the network. I never imagined he was anything but a New York liberal, but in his prior incarnation when his show focused mainly on legal affairs, I found him to be a fair and insightful inquisitor of his guests and their viewpoints.
Abrams new show is only marginally less partisan than Dolpermann’s, but last night he reached a new low for himself.
At about the halfway mark the show he did a segment on the new video that emerged yesterday of the South Side Catholic Priest Michael Pfleger and his ridiculous “sermon” last Sunday at Obama’s church in Chicago. Pfleger is a long-time ally retired Rev. Wright, and has appeared with and spoken glowingly of Louis Farrakhan.
But Abrams segment was set-up as a blast at Fox News which had been running the new Pfleger video on its various news and opinion programs, and had put the video up on its website. Here’s part of what Abrams had to say:
ABRAMS: We‘re back. It seems the right wing media found a new opportunity to take shots at Barack Obama tonight. All afternoon and evening, Fox News has been playing and replaying new video of a priest who used to be part of a group called Catholics for Obama. He was appearing as a guest speaker at Obama‘s Chicago-based church last weekend. Fr. Michael Pfleger was mocking Hillary Clinton.
ABRAMS: Obviously, this is idiotic. But Obama denounced the pastor saying, quote, “As I have traveled this country, I‘ve been impressed not by what divides us, but by all that unites us. That is why I am deeply disappointed in Fr. Pfleger‘s divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn‘t reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause.”
The Fr. Pfleger came out and apologized, too, saying, “I regret the words I chose on Sunday. These words are inconsistent with Sen. Obama‘s life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Sen. Clinton or anyone else who saw them.”
But for Fox News, come on. This is red meat, tonight, doing their best to make this as big as possible.
ABRAMS: So is this just a right-wing effort to create an issue or could this actually stick?
ABRAMS: But here‘s my problem with it. And Brad, I want you to listen to this. Here‘s Brit Hume talking about this tonight. He led this show with it, then he did it again later in his show on Fox News. Here‘s what he said.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The minister Michael Pfleger, a long-time Catholic priest and community activist in Chicago, member until just a few weeks ago of a group called Catholics for Obama, an advisory board of the Obama campaign and a man identified in a “Chicago Sun Times” report four years ago as one of Barack Obama‘s spiritual counselors. .
ABRAMS: A man identified in the “Chicago Times” report four years ago I mean, Brad, isn‘t this a concerted effort by the far right to create another pastor problem for Obama?
ABRAMS: Let‘s just say – I had never heard of this guy before tonight, before we heard about this today and tonight. Let‘s assume that he says bad things and he‘s not a guy that anyone should support, OK? Barack Obama has now come out and said, basically, “I don‘t know why this guy said it. It doesn‘t represent what I think about it.”
ABRAMS: But look, this pastor –no one that I think is going to come on this program is going to defend the guy for these stupid comments. The question is and this is a Fox News front page on the Web from a couple of hours ago, all right? Let‘s put it up. Have we got – Oh, it‘s still up there now. There it is – “Problem Preacher” from Fox News, leading their Web site with a big picture. I mean, this is what they want, Brad. Isn‘t this – I mean this is –
BLAKEMAN: Come on. Hey, Dan, if you didn‘t have this video, the video speaks for itself. The guy is a nut. And Barack Obama should have known he had past behavior that was less than normal.
ABRAMS: All right. I‘m going to ask you directly, do you think, Brad, that this is a real legitimate – you‘re running Fox News now, all right? This is the front page of your Web site. Let‘s assume you‘re actually fair and balanced for a moment, all right…. And that you‘re not just a right wing hack machine. Let‘s assume for a moment that‘s what you are. You put this on front page with a big picture and the headline, “Pastor Problem”?
ABRAMS: Yes. All right. Let me play another piece of sound. This is again from Fox News, what I view – and look, Brit Hume is a serious guy, well-respected guy on Fox News. But here he is, in my view, hyping this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is distancing himself tonight from another Chicago minister over a sermon that was preached at Obama‘s Trinity United Church this past weekend. So, we appear to have a new reverend controversy swirling around the Obama campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: “So, we appear to have a new – “ I mean, it‘s all so – I don‘t know. I mean, look, we all hype things to some degree but this just seems to me like classic right-wing propaganda….
First, to simply assume this is a “right-wing” hit job on Obama ignores the one person who has the most to gain immediately — Hillary Clinton.
This video surfaced 4 days after it was shot inside Trinity Church. Knowing Pfleger’s past, which camp is more likely to have sent someone into that church last Sunday with a camera, just on the off chance there might be something worth recording for posterity?
She is in the final desparate days of a campaign that right now has a chance to prevail only by peeling superdelegates away from Obama. Their storyline for weeks now has been “You don’t know what you’re buying” — and this fits that narrative perfectly.
But, as for Abrams admitted ignorance — isn’t that was segment producers are for? Here’s how hard it would have been to find a significant piece of information on the relationship between Obama and Pfleger:
ny_times — yep, the pages of the NY freeking Times.
Before his loss to Mr. Rush, Mr. Obama’s typical response for requests for state money would be a lecture, recalled Dan Shomon, a former Obama aide. “He would say something like: ‘You know what, you’re not going to get your money, and you know why? Let me explain the state budget,’ ” Mr. Shomon said. “Then he’d give a 20-minute treatise on how the Republicans wouldn’t raise taxes, so there wasn’t any money to do what they wanted to do.”
Now, Mr. Obama more eagerly met the demands for spending earmarks for churches and community groups in his district, said State Senator Donne E. Trotter, then the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I know this firsthand, because the community groups in his district stopped coming to me,” Mr. Trotter said.
Typical of Mr. Obama’s earmarks was a $100,000 grant for a youth center at a Catholic church run by the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a controversial priest who was one of the few South Side clergymen to back Mr. Obama against Mr. Rush.
How significant is this connection? Well, if you read the entire NYT piece, you get a very good review of how Obama rose to power in Chicago politics. Here’s a brief chronolgy, from the same NYT’s piece:
When Obama went to Chicago in 1985, he worked as a community organizer during the Mayoralty of Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, who was first elected to the post in 1983. Washington is Obama’s first political role model.
As a 3rd year law student, Obama sought out an interview with Judson Miner, a famed civil rights attorney for a small firm in Chicago that often clashsed with the Daley political machine. Miner had worked at the side of Mayor Washington as his Corporation Counsel (city attorney). But Obama wasn’t interested then in a job with Miner’s law firm, he wanted to know from Miner how it was Washington had navigated Chicago politics to rise to the office of Mayor.
Obama wanted to run for office reprensenting the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side — Chicago’s equivalent to Berkeley, Claifornia.
“Hyde Park is a liberal bastion of integration in what is otherwise one of the nation’s most segregated cities. Mayor Washington had called it home, as did whites who marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wealthy black entrepreneurs a generation removed from the civil rights battles of the 1960s. At its heart is the University of Chicago; at its borders are poor, predominately black neighborhoods blighted by rundown buildings and vacant lots.
Obama joined Miner’s law firm in 1993, but left to run for State Senate in 1996.
It was through the law firm that Mr. Obama met Marilyn Katz, who gave him entry into another activist network: the foot soldiers of the white student and black power movements that helped define Chicago in the 1960s. As a leader of Students for a Democratic Society then, Ms. Katz organized Vietnam War protests, throwing nails in the street to thwart the police.
But in 2000, Obama became impatient to move up in the political world, and began inquiring of his supporters about challenging the incumbent Hyde Park Congressmen, former Black Panther Bobby Rush. Obama was cautioned against the challenge by just about all his mentors, but he decided to take on Rush anyway, and was crushed in the primary.
But he was backed in the effort by Father Michael Pfleger.
Father Pfleger has long worked with South Side political leaders to reduce crime and improve the community. But he has drawn fire from some quarters for defending the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and inviting him to speak at his church. Father Pfleger … is one of the religious leaders whose “faith testimonials” Mr. Obama has posted on his presidential campaign Web site.
Except its not there anymore.
So Abrams ridicules the news judgment of Fox News for giving prominence to the tape of Pfleger that emerged yesterday, while at the same time acknowledging that he never heard of the guy before yesterday, but without doing even the barest hint of research to determing the closeness of Pfleger’s connection to Obama’s political career.
Obama rose to power in Chicago politics on the twin engines of the religious institutions in that community, and the Socialist-Progressive establishment based at the University of Chicago.
Abrams comments about being Fox being a “right wing hack machine” strike me as a little self-projection, though he’s too much of a dunce to realize it.