By all rights, this should have a major impact on Obama’s re-election.
But that assumes the media are interested, and let’s face it, they are activly not interested in holding Obama to any sort of reasonable standard.
The racially charged and at times angry speech undermines Obama’s carefully-crafted image as a leader eager to build bridges between ethnic groups. For nearly 40 minutes, using an accent he almost never adopts in public, Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America. The mostly black audience shouts in agreement. The effect is closer to an Al Sharpton rally than a conventional campaign event.
I think a lot of people who hated George W Bush did so origionally because of his accent. Obama knows this full well, and hence makes sure he talks more properly. But in the video, he drops that.
Obama gave the speech in the middle of a hotly-contested presidential primary season, but his remarks escaped scrutiny. Reporters in the room seem to have missed or ignored his most controversial statements. The liberal blogger Andrew Sullivan linked to what he described as a “transcript” of the speech, which turned out not to be a transcript at all, but instead the prepared remarks provided by the campaign. In fact, Obama, who was not using a teleprompter, deviated from his script repeatedly and at length, ad libbing lines that he does not appear to have used before any other audience during his presidential run. A local newspaper posted a series of video clips of the speech, but left out key portions. No complete video of the Hampton speech was widely released.
Obama begins his address with “a special shout out” to Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago pastor who nearly derailed Obama’s campaign months later when his sermons attacking Israel and America and accusing the U.S. government of “inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color” became public. To the audience at Hampton, Obama describes Wright as, “my pastor, the guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He’s a friend and a great leader. Not just in Chicago, but all across the country.”
By the time Obama appeared at Hampton, Jeremiah Wright had become a political problem. Wright told The New York Times earlier that year that he would no longer be speaking on the campaign’s behalf because his rhetoric was considered too militant. And yet later in the Hampton speech Obama explicitly defends Wright from unnamed critics, a group he describes as “they”: “They had stories about Trinity United Church of Christ, because we talked about black people in church: ‘Oh, that might be a separatist church,’” Obama said mockingly.
Wright was about the only thing the media investigated on Obama. But it’s clear now that not all the media were interested in fully reporting what was going on.
It’s a remarkable moment, and not just for its resemblance to Kayne West’s famous claim that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” but also because of its basic dishonesty. By January of 2007, six months before Obama’s Hampton speech, the federal government had sent at least $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. Compare this to the mere $20 billion that the Bush administration pledged to New York City after Sept. 11.
Moreover, the federal government did at times waive the Stafford Act during its reconstruction efforts. On May 25, 2007, just weeks before the speech, the Bush administration sent an additional $6.9 billion to Katrina-affected areas with no strings attached.
As a sitting United States Senator, Obama must have been aware of this. And yet he spent 36 minutes at the pulpit telling a mostly black audience that the U.S. government doesn’t like them because they’re black.
Politicans telling big fat lies to friendly audiences is not a new thing. The media deliberatly turning a blind eye… I’m guessing that happens a lot less – and almost never if you’re on the right.
But he was also playing to the ignorance of his audience. Most people were aware that the Bush administration was trucking obscene amounts of money into Katrina hit areas – small government conservatives were livid about it.
In the prepared version distributed to reporters, Obama’s speech ends this way:“America is going to survive. We won’t forget where we came from. We won’t forget what happened 19 months ago, 15 years ago, thousands of years ago.”
That’s not what he actually said. Before the audience at Hampton, Obama ends his speech this way:
“America will survive. Just like black folks will survive. We won’t forget where we came from. We won’t forget what happened 19 months ago, or 15 years ago, or 300 years ago.”
Three hundred years ago. It’s a reference the audience understood.
The Daily Caller (who is breaking the story) have also got a story on the media response. basically, many members of the media were already claiming there was nothing to it before the story was even published.
Which means that they’re not going to report it.
A few weeks ago, we had the respective party’s conventions. At one, a couple of racist idiots got kicked out for saying something racist. This generated thousands of news articles (though not one from Fox news as far as I can tell – which is something they should be ashamed of). One Julia Rodriguez stated she would like to kill the opposing candidate (and that’s only one example). That little outburst (and watch the video – she really meant it) generated barely a blip on the radar. I searched Google News the day after it became news, and got a mere handful of mentions. I can’t even find if she was disciplined, I assume not.
(MSNBC and CNN news sites give no hits on a search for her name.)
Let’s see if this story get the same treatment.