(This is the frist in a series highlighting the work of MSM journalists and news organizations helping Sen. Barack Obama.)
Today Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times begins:
The controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- Sen. Barack Obama's pastor -- is speaking Monday at the National Press Club as part of a divinity conference of black church leaders. Wright's decision to headline an event at the Press Club -- open to all media -- risks giving Obama's critics more fodder, as if they don't have enough already.Sweet’s entire story’s here.
Meanwhile, PBS is touting an interview with Wright to be broadcast Friday on "Bill Moyers' Journal." Fresh material from Wright -- no matter how well-intended -- is not what Obama needs.
Wright's Press Club talk is supposed to be about offering perspective on black churches -- theology, history and politics, and the torrent of coverage stemming from Obama's presidential bid.
Wright's relationship with Obama triggered an uproar when video of Wright's inflammatory sermons surfaced. Faced with a crisis, Obama delivered a highly regarded speech in March about race and why he would not "disown" Wright, the senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side.
But the speech, good as it was, did not push Wright out of the picture. …
“The controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright” is also the racist and anti-American Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
But Sweet doesn’t remind us of that.
Rule number one when judging a news story, editorial or column about Jeremiah Wright: if the piece doesn’t explicitly label Wright’s virulant racist and anti-American “snippits” as what they are, and instead talks of “controversial” and “inflamatory” remarks, its spinning you and seeking to help Sen. Obama.
Notice that Sweet says public speaking by Wright is “not what Obama needs.”
Who doubts that?
But America’s public needs to hear much more from Rev. Wright.
He needs to tell us, for instance, how he came to believe that HIV/AIDS has been deliberately spead by our government? And whether he ever discussed that with Obama?
Does Wright believe he could be Obama's close friend and pastor for 20 years without Obama knowing about his attitudes toward “white America” and his “KKK America” remarks?
Sweet, instead of feeling as a journalist should, that those questions and many others need to be answered, reacts like an Obama supporter and worries they might be discussed in public.
Now, if you say, “Well, she was just trying to make the point Wright’s answers can make things more difficult for Obama, and that’s a valid point for a journalist to make,” I agree with you.
But Sweet could have said something like this: “ While there’s strong public interest in Wright’s views, many of which he’s never explained, his doing so risks giving Obama's critics more fodder.”
That sentence is fair and balanced. It helps explain why the National Press Club and Moyers/NPR were no doubt salivating to get him as a speaker/interviewee.
In the space of four short paragraphs Sweet works in two approving remarks about Obama’s Mar. 18 speech in Philadelphia.