Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Mainstream Media Handling of the Obama-Wright Issue

Super Bowl Headline: "Wasn't Bill Belichek's post-game speech great?"

We should not overlook how the Mainstream Media is handling the flap over Pastor Jeremiah Wright. The tapes first made headlines when released by ABC News' Brian Ross and Fox News. Initially, the MSM tried to sit back and wait and see if the public caught on-in other words-if the story had legs. Why did the MSM take such a hesitant approach? Because, for the most part, they support Obama's candidacy.

After a couple of days, it was obvious that the story was causing a national sensation. Like Monica Lewinsky, they couldn't ignore or bury it when the whole country was talking about it. It was all over YouTube and the Internet-and Fox News and talk radio sure weren't going to ignore it. All the MSM could do was spin it.

And they are,in fact, spinning it. From Keith Olbermann to Chris Matthews to CNN, they are trying to put the best face possible on Obama's situation and his handling of it.

Typical is the reaction to Obama's speech in Philadelphia. To people like Chris Matthews, it was the greatest speech since Gettysburg. News headlines blared, "Obama makes historic speech on race". "Obama confronts race head on". CNN's Wolf Blitzer had a panel the other night, where virtually every participant was a Democrat, either supporters of Clinton or Obama, but unanimously praising Obama's speech. The only fly in the ointment for CNN was conservative, black talk show host, Larry Elder, who has been unremitting in his criticism of Obama's speech. (Larry has also pointed out the irony of the 8 American flags that were placed behind Obama on the stage for his speech-this the same man who made a point of telling us that he would no longer wear the flag lapel. According to one news reporter who was present at the speech, much care and discussion went into the placement of the flags on stage.)

But I digress. Just tonight, Obama appeared on Larry King on Life Support for a friendly venue interview. Even when faced with Lobbin' Larry's softballs, Obama contradicted himself again when he repeated the original line that Wright's statements had only recently come to his attention and were not made in his presence. Wait a minute. Didn't Obama admit in Philadelphia that he had been in the pew when some of the controversial statements were made? Which is it, Senator?

At any rate, it is the electorate who will sort this all out, and the polls are showing Obama losing support fast. Clinton is expected to win Pennsylvania big, but the other states are still up in the air. With Florida and Michigan seemingly passing on holding new votes, it appears that only the Superdelegates can save Hillary at the Denver Convention. As it appears almost certain now, Obama, with all his new baggage, will still carry a Superdelegate lead into the convention. He also needs to keep his lead in the popular vote, however slight. If Hillary can't even take a lead in the popular vote, then the only arguments she has to get Superdelegate votes would be that Obama has become unelectable because of the Wright issue, and that she has moved ahead in the polls. Nonetheless, if it plays out that way, Obama's supporters are going to feel they were robbed in a smoke-filled room.

What happens in Denver will be fascinating. How the MSM spins it will also be worth watching.

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