Friday, March 21, 2008

The Harpies

Continuing the discussion of Obama's speech -- in his role as the Great Uniter -- the question is whether he was successful in his efforts to start the conversation, while being able to move forward with his race for the White House. Part 1 of the discussion is here.

The answer, my friend, is not just blowing in the wind, the answer is roaring in the rants of the media machine. As the Boston Globe article, Obama's odyssey on race, notes:

Obama's critics have also sought to sew the Wright controversy into a broader narrative about Obama's views on America, raising his decision not to wear a flag lapel pin and Michelle Obama's recent comment that this was the first time in her adult life that she was "really proud" of America. (Obama has said the pin became a substitute for true patriotism; Michelle Obama later said she meant to express pride in all the new voters participating in the primary process.)

But those who know Wright and Obama bristle at what they say is a caricature being painted irresponsibly by the news media.

"Out of that supposedly racist, nationalist, hateful church comes a man who has done more to pull people together, to talk about unity, give people hope, cause people to be inspired and patriotic like I haven't seen in my lifetime," said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, the outspoken white pastor of St. Sabina, a largely black Roman Catholic parish on Chicago's South Side.

Oh sure, blame it on the press. What, you think they just want to keep the controversy going as long as possible? Humm, let's see what Jon Stewart has to say on the matter:

If the right wing media machine were to be believed, Obama should just pack it in and concede to Hillary Clinton right now. The harpies are hard at work spinning the spin.

There is some good news however. It may be that the public is actually acting like adults, as Jon Stewart put it. According to the latest poll, Majority Doesn't Believe Obama Shares Wright's Views:

A new poll from Fox News, the first major poll taken since Barack Obama's big speech on race relations, shows that the effect of the Jeremiah Wright flap might not be so bad after all.

By a 57%-24% margin, registered votes do not believe that Obama shares Wright's controversial views. The internals show only 17% of Democrats saying Obama shares Wright's ideas, along with 20% of independents and 36% of Republicans.

A final note on the Stewart skit and the press reaction. In the clip from Part 1, one of the newscasters that questioned how the Rev. Wright would play to the voters in Ohio and Missouri. He notes that his quote was taken out of context, Screwed by The Daily Show. When he was grousing about that, he adds:

I told someone this morning this my version of what happened, and she laughed and said, "Now you know how the reverend feels."

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