Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Raleigh N&O's "pitchin'" for Obama

Readers Note: I just sent the following email to Raleigh News & Observer public editor Ted Vaden with a Cc. to deputy editorial page editor Jim Jenkins. The email concerns a column by Jenkins which you can read here.

Dear Ted:

I know you’re concerned newspapers are losing their readers' trust. You’ve also said the N&O’s editorials and opinion columns are justified because the editorialists' and columnists' formal educations and professional experiences enable them to provide N&O readers with informed and thoughtful commentary on important and often complex matters.

I thought about all that this morning when I read deputy editorial page editor Jim Jenkins’ column, “Preachin’ and politickin’.”

Jenkins said Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s words are “hard-hitting and flammable.” They “roiled things up…for [Senator] Obama [who] felt he had to repudiate him [.]”

But Jenkins said nothing about the content of Wright’s sermons. Things like “God damn America,” “KKK – America,” and Wright’s explanation for the HIV/AIDS epidemic: the American government deliberately spread it as a means of holding down our African-American population.

Jenkins took a different approach when he told readers about Senator McCain’s seeking and accepting for a brief period Rev. John Hagee’s endorsement.

For one thing, Jenkins reported on the content of Hagee’s extremely noxious and bizarre remarks: “Alas for [McCain], a Web site turned up Hagee sermonizing as to how Hitler was a tool used by God so that Jews would go to the Promised Land -- at least, that was an interpretation, although Hagee defended himself.”

For another thing, while Jenkins said Obama “repudiate[d]” Wright, he said only that McCain “distanced himself from Hagee.” Jenkins then went on to tell readers “ Hagee later withdrew his endorsement.”

In fact, when McCain first learned of Hagee’s remarks, he called them “crazy and unacceptable.” McCain later issued a statement before Hagee withdrew his endorsement in which he said: "Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well."

Why did Jenkins tell readers McCain had merely “distanced himself” from Hagee when in truth he had denounced him and repudiated his endorsement?

And why didn’t Jenkins tell readers anything about the content of Wright’s racist and anti-American “preachin’ and politickin’”? Or that Obama had sat and listened to it for twenty years?

At the end of his column, Jenkins attempted to draw equivalence between McCain’s situation with Hagee and Obama’s with Wright, his close friend and pastor of twenty years to whom he brought his children for religious instruction and to whose church he and his wife contributed $26,000 last year.

And having attempted to equate McCain’s and Obama’s situations relative to the two preachers, Jenkins went on to say, “most Americans won't be thinking about the views of a few high-profile ministers when they go in the booth.”

Jenkins said nothing about the tens of millions of American’s who’ll certainly “go in the booth” remembering Senator Obama and Ms. Obama were active members of Rev. Wright’s church and his close friends.

Jenkins grossly distorted facts and relationships. He avoided addressing critical and obvious questions both Obamas have so far refused to answer concerning their close ties to Wright.

You don't need much formal education or professional experience to write the column Jenkins wrote. Any hack working for Obama could do it.

A better title for “Preachin’ and politickin’ ” would be “Pitchin’ for Obama.”

And as for the column’s influence on readers’ trust, I think it will only help with readers who trust the N&O to pitch hard for Obama in its news columns and editorial page.

The rest of your readers won't go for the curve ball Jenkins threw then today.

As always I'll be happy to publish in full whatever reply you make.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

I think you just threw them a no-hitter.


Anonymous said...

Yup, it was a no-hitter.

Great work.

Archer05 said...

The Raleigh N&O's -" Biased news selling well, is it?

“Report: Conditions worsen at McClatchy's News & Observer... cuts may be deeper than previously announced.”

John Drescher quote: McClatchy is taking steps to “Tightening the news hole.”
(Man, I don’t even want to go there!)

(As one N&O staffer said yesterday, “McClatchy is working for its bankers now.”)
What is that saying? ‘Jenkins fiddles while McClatchy burns’ - or something like that.

Anonymous said...

John -

You may want to check this out for an entirely different view of the Reverend Hagee. It appears that, far from being anti-Semitic, he is quite philo-Semitic.

Jack in Silver Spring