It is a major scandal that threatens to derail Barack Obama's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, but the mainstream media is treating it as a minor political scuffle, says Fox's Bill O'Reilly.
In his talking points memo Monday night, O'Reilly played tapes of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright's (Obama's former pastor's) rants against the United States and then said that all clear-thinking Americans including Sen. Obama are appalled by what he called "those hateful words."
Noting that Obama said that the picture being painted of Wright is not accurate, O'Reilly wanted to know what about it was inaccurate and added, "Americans also don't know very much about Barack Obama. And so he has some explaining to do — and not with soft-ball interviewers either."
"How," O'Reilly asked "can you have a close association with an American hater for 20 years? Surely Senator Obama knew how Wright felt even though he might not have heard the exact words. Also, what kind of judgment allows a sitting senator to attend a church that radical?"
O'Reilly noted that the latest Rasmussen poll shows Obama losing support across the country — his favorability rating is down five points in three days, and the Wright controversy is the force driving them.
"The folks don't want leadership that is associated with that kind of hatred," O'Reilly said. "At this point, the story tells us more about the media than Senator Obama. And remember the very liberal New York Times attacked John McCain for associating with a lobbyist nobody ever heard of."
"The Times," he recalled, "put the story on page one and the liberal media ran with it. The McCain story was about association and judgment and what's the Obama story about? Association and judgment. But The New York Times buried the pastor story — the paper must think its readers are stupid.
"Likewise, the nightly network news programs have downplayed the situation. On Friday, ABC News ignored it and NBC News gave it 20 seconds."
Had his "O'Reilly Factor" not broken the story wide last Thursday night, he said, "it would have likely died which is exactly what the leftist media wants.
"Finally Barack Obama says he deplored the racial aspect of the story, but who is really pushing race?" O'Reilly asked, adding, "I believe that would be [Obama's] former pastor and far-left zealots like Media Matters and Jesse Jackson. They are the chief race baiters in America."
"The Wright story," O'Reilly said, "is here to stay. Voters aren't going to forget it. Senator Obama should realize that and confront the issues on programs like this one where millions would see him, and he would get a fair hearing. If he does not fully explain his association with Pastor Wright he will not be elected president."
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