Sunday, March 30, 2008

Scary Black Pastors and the Press

by: Harry Waisbren

The press induced "controversy" surrounding the youtube videos of Reverand Wright has generally been a vomit-inducing, race baiting free for all since it began. This back to the 50's style affair has been so poorly managed by the press that there are now concerns for Wright's very safety. Do not be fooled by the press's supposed veneer of objectivity: a prominent black leader is now in danger because of the latent racism boiling to the top amongst our Elite Political Class. Scarecrow from Firedoglake is aboslutely right:

America's DC pundits are bullying a black candidate while making racist attacks on black pastors and churches, thinly disguising them as a defense of American civility and patriotism....It does not seem to have occurred to the white DC pundit class that blacks have every right to be angry at America -- and that condemning them for this anger is racist.

It never made sense for this issue (and most else covered by the mainstream press) to be of such prominence considering the tyranical rule America is embroiled against--so severe that our European Allies now have more faith in Vladamir Putin than Bush . However, compared to the major issues of the day this is particularly ridiculous in light of Mccain's serial embarrassments on his Middle East tour that just so happen to counter his credentials as a Serious foreign policy Expert.

Pam Spaulding caught the true reason why this is considered so preeminently newsworthy:

people have to acknowledge part of the reason for the discomfort lies in Wright's delivery of the message. It's so black, isn't it? It sounds militant to tender ears outside the traditional black church. For that matter, it doesn't resemble the delivery of sermons in other denominations of black churches -- I was raised Episopalian, and those folks aren't the hooping and hollering types of congregations. That said, what does that all mean? If the same messages were delivered with a velvet glove, with less inflammatory language, would it generate the same reaction? I doubt it.

She is completely right that it is not even the most radical of Wright's conspiracy theories that is creating such a stir, as if controversial and offensive statements of a candidate's pastor were worthy of such coverage there would be much more regarding Mccain's connections to Rev. Hagee and Rev. Moon among others. Rev. Wright is called anti-American for saying our foreign policy played a role in 9/11, but John Mccain is able to endorse Rev. Hagee proudly despite him suggesting that Hurricane Katrina was God’s vengeance on America for our tolerance of homosexuality. This is a double standard of epic proportions, and it is as clear an expose on the state of American journalism as there possibly could be.

If it was only the views of the pastors that were at issue, then Fox News would not be predicting that blacks will riot following an Obama loss. Jon Stewart summarized this latent racism in the double standard from the press when he said "yeah, I mean we all love Jesus, but why do you have to be so black and angry about it?" This is what is going on, and the sooner our country recognizes how much further we have to go to deal with race relations the better.

Glenn Greenwald, who has been leading the fight against this double standard for some time, has documented how this precise attitude has been completely exposed by the most mainstream of conservative bloggers. In the post excerpted below he takes great care to describe how more credible mainstream outlets make dog whistles to these sort of views:

Here's the dirty secret all of us know and no one will admit to. There ARE niggers. Black people know it. White people know it. And only black people are allowed to notice and pronounce the truth of it. Which would be fine. Except that black people are not a community but a political party. They can squabble with each other in caucus but they absolutely refuse to speak the truth in public. And this is the single biggest obstacle to healing the racial divide in this country. I'm not proposing the generalized use of the term, just trying to be clear for once, in the wake of Obama's call for us to have a dialogue about race. However much they may scream and protest, black people will know what I mean when I demand they concede that the following people are niggers:

-Jeremiah Wright
- O.J. Simpson
- Marion Barry
- Alan Iverson
- William Jefferson
- Louis Farrakhan
- Mike Tyson

It is just this sort of conduct that has the RNC fearing being labeled bigots, but they are clearly latching onto it as an electoral strategy. However, it is entirely disconcerting and much more surprising to me that Hillary Clinton has also joined in on the Rev. Wright fear mongering in what has become an increasingly racialized and negative campaign strategy. Despite the coverage, Chris Bowers at Openleft noted how Obama's relationship to Wright should be considered a positive to progressives:

I am not offended by Jeremiah Wright. In fact, Wright is actually one of the reasons I have always liked Obama. And no, that is not because I am religious (I'm not) or that I actually liked the comments that have caused a controversy about Wright (I don't). Instead, Obama's upbringing, including the church he attends, provides him with a perspective on a large segment of America that is rarely represented either in popular American culture or in the executive branches of state and federal governments. If you live in a large American city, but not in one of the expensive / gentrified areas of those cities, you know that there is absolutely nothing shocking or even unusual about Jeremiah Wright.

Bowers is absolutely right that Obama’s recognition of such rancor, some justified and some maybe not, in the black community is quite the positive attribute compared to the beltway enclosed and ignorant elites that have run our government and media for far too long. Even aside from this evidence of Obama's important perspective on stark realities in this country, as seen in his incredible speech on Wright and Race, John Cole cites another potential reason to be happy about this sad racist saga in a simple request:

Can you stop pretending he is Muslim now that you are denouncing his Christian minister?

Sadly, the way our media functions these days, I think that might be far too much to ask. Shockingly, there is an element of phenomenal news in this debacle: polling is indicating that the people are ignoring the concerns from our joke of a press and aren't falling for the race baiting:

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC national poll says that the controversy over Jeremiah Wright didn't hurt Obama. Not only has he held against Hillary Clinton (they're in a dead heat at 45% each, as opposed to two weeks ago when Clinton was 47% to his 43%), but his numbers relative to McCain haven't moved (he's 42% to McCain's 44%, virtually the same as in the previous poll).

The people are waking up, and they are sick and tired government and media elites attempting to pit neighbor against neighbor in order to get us to ignore the fact that we are being robbed blind by a developing aristocracy. As rancid as this whole situation has been, if it does cause a substantial portion of the populace to truly wake up, it might end up one of the most important developments in race relations in quite some time.

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