Just before Halloween, Politico published a story saying the media really are not rooting for Barack Obama. Nor are they biased against John McCain. Rather, the story attributed the fact that twice as many positive stories are appearing about Obama than about McCain to journalists just doing their job of following the news.
Was Politico trying to pull off a Halloween prank? I have seen firsthand how the media have favored Obama, while ignoring their obligation to report the news. As chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax, I began writing stories about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s mentor and former pastor, Jan. 7 with “Barack Obama’s Racist Church.”
The so-called Black Value System that Wright’s church promotes asserts that America structures “an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons” and takes other steps to “snare” blacks rather than “killing them off directly” or “placing them in concentration camps,” the story reported.
In sermons and interviews, Wright has equated Zionism with racism and Israel with South Africa under its previous policy of apartheid, the story reported. On the Sunday after 9/11, Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later, Wright suggested that the attacks were retribution for America’s racism.
I cited two exceptions to the media blackout about Obama and his church. Back in 2007, Sean Hannity of Fox News confronted Wright on TV and asked how a Black Value System would be any more acceptable than a white value system. Tucker Carlson of MSNBC described Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ as having a “racially exclusive theology” that “contradicts the basic tenets of Christianity.”
During the next two and a half months, I wrote more than half a dozen stories disclosing new information about Obama and Wright. On Jan. 14, I broke the story on the church’s lifetime achievement award to Louis Farrakhan with “ Obama’s Minister Honored Farrakhan.”
The story on Newsmax.com quoted Wright’s glowing praise of Farrakhan in the church magazine “Trumpet.”
On March 6, I wrote “Obama Minister Exudes Hatred.”
That story quoted the full text of a sermon Wright gave at Howard University. Among other things, the sermon said that America created the AIDS virus to kill off blacks. Based on that sermon, I sent a proposed Op-Ed to The Washington Post’s editorial side. I sent a similar piece to the paper’s “Outlook” section. Both rejected the piece.
Meanwhile, I sent the Newsmax stories to dozens of people I know in the print and broadcast media. In contrast to their interest in Joe the plumber’s background, no media outlet would touch the Wright stories. When I mentioned the stories to a cable news reporter I know, she said she could never propose running such a story.
“The media love Obama,” she said. “If you want to do a critical story about him, you are considered by the network to be biased.”
Finally, on March 12, Fox News ran a portion of a Wright sermon. ABC ran more excerpts the next day. On March 15, my Op-Ed, ‘Obama and the Minister,' appeared in The Wall Street Journal. Based on my reporting for Newsmax, it included excerpts from the Howard University sermon.
Referring to that piece, the March 15 New York Times said, “On Friday, Senator John McCain’s campaign forwarded to reporters an article in The Wall Street Journal in which Mr. Wright was quoted as saying, ‘Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run,’ and accusing the United States of importing drugs, exporting guns and training murderers.”
Yet for nearly three months, the media had refused to pick up the stories about Wright. Largely as a result of the stories’ being picked up, Obama’s double-digit lead over Hillary Clinton in national polls vanished, according to pollsters. At the same time, McCain shot up in the polls, and Clinton began pulling ahead of Obama in primary elections. If the media had done its job as Politico claims it does, Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee for president.
After the first flurry of stories, the media have continued to be reluctant to raise Wright as an issue. Politico’s Oct. 28 story by John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei asserts that the reason Wright has been “basically a non-issue” during the general election campaign is that his connection to Obama has an “out of bounds racial subtext.”
I may not be black, but I know what racism is. In 1964, as an editor of my college paper, I wrote articles that exposed discrimination against blacks in rental housing in Worcester, Mass., leading to investigations and a crackdown by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. In 1984, I wrote Washington Post stories revealing that Lena Ferguson had been denied membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) because she was black. The stories led not only to her admission to the DAR but also to her appointment as chairman and founder of the D.C. DAR Scholarship Committee.
The fact that a man Obama described as his mentor, sounding board, and adviser for 20 years routinely denounced America has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with character and Obama’s true beliefs.
The media’s continuing coverup of Obama’s associations with radical hate-mongers like Wright is a shameful chapter in the history of American journalism.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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