Whether He’ll Admit It or Not, Obama Has the Wright Message

On Friday March 14th as part of the growing national trend towards religious intolerance, CNN’s prime time pinup Anderson Cooper joined the throng of Pharisees scouring the Democrats over the weekend by staging his own version of the fabled Inquisitional accounting of the number of angels on the head of a pin, when he scored an up close and personal, as in “in-your-face” interview with Barack Obama and did his best to crucify him.

Cooper chose to disregard America’s purported belief in the freedom of religion to instead contribute to the wave of mock outrage at Obama for political opinions espoused his minister, Chicago’s famous/infamous Jeremiah Wright. Instead of upholding his role as a champion of America’s cherished free speech and freedom to embrace a variety of spiritual expression, Cooper portrayed himself as the rightfully indignant arbiter of basic American decency. The tact he took was to lay out a very narrow, and ultimately erroneous, parameter for which political and religious beliefs are considered acceptable in the American mainstream.

Following the tense terse interview wherein Obama quite rightly lamented being ambushed, Anderson continued to call for the excommunication of the heretic Obama and was joined by, among others, guest Torquemada Tony Perkins who disdainfully quipped he’d allow that “Wright had the right to be wrong,” as Anderson nodded in approval. Meanwhile, ever the candidate, Obama dutifully and desperately denied the essence of every clip from Wright’s sermons. To his credit Obama never joined in the effort to discredit Wright, the man, though he scrambled as fast as he could to distance himself from the Wright message.

And what outrageous heresies was Wright fomenting? Judging from the frequency with which CNN played it, the most outrageous clip, Wright’s worst wrong, was to assert that America is run by rich white men. Unless Anderson himself was personally offended because he himself is a rich white man who, due to his role in the media, does in deed take part in running the country, it is hard to understand Anderson’s offense, since it is even more difficult to suggest that on the face of it, there is anything inaccurate in this Wright observation.

Statistics have perpetually shown that a distinctly small minority of Americans have always had the majority of personal wealth in the country and have used that position of privilege for economic and political power to direct the engine of the nation to their personal advantage. It is, in fact, a longer held tradition than baseball, hot dogs, and even apple pie. Currently, we are either enjoying, or suffering through, a period of some of the most extreme concentrations of wealth in our history with less than 5% of the population having accumulated more than 90% of the personal wealth. And, coincidentally, the clear preponderance of those in that precious richest 5% are, indeed, white males. Men like Bush, Cheney, Sumner Redstone, Rupert Murdoch, and Anderson Cooper himself.

A second Wright observation that frosted Cooper’s mug was that the US is a leading exporter of terrorism around the world. Again, this is an irrefutably Wright assertion and one Cooper would have to be cuckoo to contend. Consistently number one in global military spending, we have so many military bases around the world that even the Department of Defense can’t keep an accurate count (somewhere between 700 and 1000 as of Nov. of 2007). These bases bring weapons and the threat of violence to more than 130 countries around the world.

With more than a million Iraqi scalps under our belt since Bush Sr. first invaded the country in 1991 and another four million homeless in that country through our doing, plus the dead and devastated in Afghanistan, and the oppressions and threats we subsidize by providing economic and military aid to repressive regimes around the world, it would be hard to not acknowledge that, no matter how we the people wish to view ourselves, we as a government have been one of the world’s leading creators of fear and unrest. Just because these shameful truths are unpleasant, that doesn’t make them less true.

Throw in the way that our quest for oil has not only fueled terrorist supporting governments like Saudi Arabia and destabilized our own economy, but threatened our entire global existence, and you’re talking terror; and we have only ourselves to blame.

Or the way our quest for cheap products and produce have enmeshed so many of our “favored” trading partners into wage slave economies and the terror that creates; not to mention the environmental destruction both at home and abroad, and the terror that creates, and it is hard to gauge which is more laughable, the way Obama cravenly tried to crawl around the issues to avoid challenging even the most easily discredited untruth in case he should offend somebody, or Anderson’s obvious ignorance of the realities of this nation whom he purports to inform.

Amazing Anderson, amazing. If only you could arrange to watch some news.

Mikel Weisser teaches social studies and poetry on the left coast of Arizona. He can be reached at weisser@frontiernet.net. Read other articles by Mikel.

13 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Angelo said on March 17th, 2008 at 5:31am #

    There is a lot of truth in Wright’s message, too. Parts of the fact is true, the messenger is the problem or the ways he elaborates. And the hyper sensitivity of the media (outter ring of defense of those few )ready to knock down who ever challenges their way of life. The media controls that heart and minds of the America poor, and this America poor is about to lose the latest opportunity to renew themselves with the world.

  2. Leslie said on March 17th, 2008 at 5:58am #

    LA Times is reporting on this:
    and Obama campaign chief admits to long-term knowledge of the looming Wright problem: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/03/throughout-his.html

    Watch for this in the news:

    Despite Obama campaign’s denials, a Newsmax report posted in August places Obama at Trinity on July 22 when Wright preached of the “United States of White America” and “White arrogance.” Obama denies having heard Wright speak in such divisive terms – he says Wright talks about Jesus. Obama campaign has denied the date, but Secret Service should easily be able to clear that up. The reporter, Jim Davis, offers details about his visit on July 22 with Obama in attendance.

    [quote=http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/8/8/194812.shtml]Jim Davis
    Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007

    Presidential candidate Barack Obama preaches on the campaign trail that America needs a new consensus based on faith and bipartisanship, yet he continues to attend a controversial Chicago church whose pastor routinely refers to “white arrogance” and “the United States of White America.”

    In fact, Obama was in attendance at the church when these statements were made on July 22.

    Obama has spoken and written of his special relationship with that pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

    The connection between the two goes back to Obama’s days as a young community organizer in Chicago’s South Side when he first met the charismatic Wright. Obama credited Wright with converting him, then a religious skeptic, to Christianity.

    Obama was not the only national African-American figure to cozy up to Wright. TV host Oprah Winfrey once described herself as a congregant, but in recent years has disassociated herself from the controversial minister.

    A visit to Wright’s Trinity United is anything but Oprah-style friendly.

    As I approached the entrance of the church before a recent Sunday service, a large young man in an expensive suit stepped out to block the doorway.

    “What are you doing here?” he asked.

    “I came to hear Dr. Wright,” I replied.

    After an uncomfortable pause, the gentleman stepped aside.

    On this particular July Sabbath morning, only a handful of white men — aside from a few members of Obama’s Secret Service detail — were present among a congregation of approximately 2,500 people.

    The floral arrangements were extravagant. Wright, his associate pastors, choir members, and many of the gentlemen in the congregation were attired in traditional African dashiki robes. African drums accompanied the organist.

    [quote=http://www.newsmax.com/kessler/Obama_hate_America_sermon/2008/03/16/80870.html]Obama Attended Hate America Sermon
    Sunday, March 16, 2008 7:14 PM
    By: Ronald Kessler

    Obama claims he was completely unaware that the Reverend Wright’s trademark preaching style at the Trinity United Church of Christ targeted “white” America.

    Contrary to Senator Barack Obama’s claim that he never heard his pastor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. preach hatred of America, Obama was in the pews last July 22 when the minister blamed the “white arrogance” of America’s Caucasian majority for the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks.

    If Obama’s claims are true that he was completely unaware that Wright’s trademark preaching style at the Trinity United Church of Christ has targeted “white” America and Israel, he would have been one of the few people in Chicago to be so uninformed. Wright’s reputation for spewing hate is well known.

    In fact, Obama was present in the South Side Chicago church on July 22 last year when Jim Davis, a freelance correspondent for Newsmax, attended services along with Obama.

    In his sermon that day, Wright tore into America, referring to the “United States of White America” and lacing his sermon with expletives as Obama listened. Hearing Wright’s attacks on his own country, Obama had the opportunity to walk out, but Davis said the senator sat in his pew and nodded in agreement.

  3. Max Shields said on March 17th, 2008 at 9:38am #

    Wright is right. The condemnation by Obama of Wright’s words are just more of the same. Hillary has become a macho Commander In Chief and Obama is “transendant”. Whatever it takes to get in the Oval Office.

    The jig’s up. The economy is going where it’s never been before.

  4. rosemarie jackowski said on March 17th, 2008 at 10:59am #

    Cooper is a real disappointment – along with the rest of the Press. No where did I see an informed discussion of Wright’s comments. That is exactly what is needed. Wright is right. If USAers ever get out of denial, they will understand US history. Too bad that the schools are centers of brain washing for the government. Wright’s comments are very similar to comments made by others – Malcolm X, Ward Churchill,… Every time someone try to enlighten the brain washed masses, they are silenced.
    I would vote for Obama if he had the courage to say the things that Wright has. Sure it would cost him votes – He might then lose the election but we would have the start of a great “Truth Movement”. In the meantime, I will continue to support Nader. If he is allowed to debate, much of the truth will come out.

  5. TL said on March 17th, 2008 at 12:10pm #

    I would say the real bias is in your selective reporting of the CNN coverage. The “inquisition” interview included Cooper and Obama laughing together at the end. The questions were tough but fair. The topic was valid. If Hillary had someone she’d described as her mentor for twenty years who publicly ranted lengthy indictments against other races, or men as a gender, or the country as a whole, etc she would have been expected to make some explanations too. The two broad statements you addressed were not the ones that particularly seemed to bother Cooper, and you have worded them very conveniently for your own purposes. Cooper singled out things like the claim the government invented AIDS to destroy blacks and Wright’s comments within days of 9/11 that America was to blame for the bombing. You also neglect to mention that two out of three members of the panel were very supportive of Obama and urged people to understand the preaching in a cultural and historical context. Cooper was very respectful of their views and allowed them to dominate most of the discussion. Why don’t you include the actual full footage from the show so people can get an accurate idea of the coverage to base their judgements on?

  6. HR said on March 17th, 2008 at 2:27pm #

    It’s beyond me why people even bother watching corporate news at all. I gave up on it in the early 90s (I’m a slow learner, since I was in my 40s at the time). It’s also amazing that people even bother debating the stands of the “two” candidates being offered by the right-wing facade that calls itself the liberal Democratic Party. Both its candidates are for a bloated military, and neither cares one little bit about what the people want, only about what the corporations want, all the high-sounding blabber aside. Several months ago, Obama stated that he would look into “fixing” Social Security, which aint broken, by raising the retirement age or cutting benefits! There’s some hope and change for you. I’m just glad that Nader and McKinney are running, so I won’t have to leave the presidential part of my ballot blank. Of course, I am confident that the “real” liberals will vote for whatever garbage the DNC and DLC lay before them.

  7. Mike McNiven said on March 17th, 2008 at 2:41pm #

    Obama , without any demand from anyone related to the Democratic party, DECIDED to praise RonaldReagan! To those who suffered during those eight years, here and abroad, that shows a lot of hidden ruthlessness in BHO which doesn’t have anything to do with Rev. Wright!

    The Reagan-Sharon massacre of more than two thousand Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila is just one example of the horrifying Reagan years!

  8. opeluboy said on March 17th, 2008 at 3:52pm #

    Obama was in not at the church on the date that the NewsMax article claims he was. He was out of town campaigning. Bill Kristol, who quoted from Kessler’s piece in the Times has since printed a retraction.

    NewsMax hasn’t. And, I imagine, won’t.

    That said, I agree with Wright on a number of his points, and unless you are terminally stupid, you know that what this is REALLY about is the reverend mentioning Palestinian suffering.

  9. Deadbeat said on March 17th, 2008 at 5:45pm #

    you know that what this is REALLY about is the reverend mentioning Palestinian suffering

    That is absolutely correct. CNN and much of the media are pro Zionist. If Obama or any other politician wants to become President must show their adherence to Zionism. Unfortunately, even this author misses that. Wright spoke directly about the suffering of the Palestinians and mention that 911 was really about “blowback” due to U.S. foreign policy.

    The reason again for the demobilization of the anti-war movement and especially the lack of African American participation within the anti-war movement has very much to do with the difference of how African Americans (especially the Black Nationalists) addresses Zionism and its effects on U.S. policy vis-a-vis the white left.

    Sorry folks but that is the truth.

  10. Deadbeat said on March 17th, 2008 at 5:59pm #

    Obama , without any demand from anyone related to the Democratic party, DECIDED to praise RonaldReagan! To those who suffered during those eight years, here and abroad, that shows a lot of hidden ruthlessness in BHO which doesn’t have anything to do with Rev. Wright! The Reagan-Sharon massacre of more than two thousand Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila is just one example of the horrifying Reagan years!

    Understand that NO politician can become POTUS unless they are vetted to at least to NOT bring up any challenge of the U.S. relationship with Israel and Zionism within the United States. Not even Ron Paul tackled the subject yet he received mucho support from the left. What this represents is how dominate Zionism is WITHIN the U.S. and we have the demobilization of the anti-war movement by the “left” as evidence of this.

    Ralph Nader has scratched the surface talking about “Israeli puppeteers” but the problem with this approach is that it assumes that the politician are “sellouts” to Israel when the real problem is ZIONISM as a racist ideology that have BELIEVERS among the rank of the U.S. citizenry and polity. The racist attitudes that define Zionism is acceptable discourse.

    This very aspect NO politician not even Nader has touched. And such left wing intellectual such as Noam Chomsky ignore or worst yet — DEFLECT. We’ve seen this with the recent rash of books that denounce the war in Iraq as mere “profiteering” (The Shock Doctrine).

    The only way the plight of the Palestinian can be address is when the left, and I mean especially the WHITE, JEWISH, left decide to CONFRONT Zionism head on by advocating a complete boycott of Israel. When that happens then you’ll see the emergence of “courageous” politicians.

  11. Alamantra said on March 17th, 2008 at 10:24pm #

    I’ve looked at everything that the media has rolled out for the purpose of using the Rev Wright to take down Barack Obama. I’m a white guy in Birmingham, Alabama and, that said, Rev. Wright’s comments strike me as being very legitimate. The “God Damn America” bit was about how God foresaken it is that our Government distributes drugs on the streets in minority areas, expands the prison industry, creates three strike laws that target minorities and tells us that is what justice is about.
    Well Hillary said they were going with the kitchen sink, and unfortunately these people never wash their dirty dishes so what we’re seeing isn’t a surprise. The cynics have been entrenched for a long time and they aren’t going to give up their power easily. The major media outlets like MSNBC have to answer to their corporate masters at General Electric and let’s face it… the Clintons are better for the likes of General Electric than Obama is. Obama want’s to cut military spending and that cuts into G.E.’s bottom line. Even the CBS/Viacom owner, Redstone Sumner, has cosy relations with the Clintons …so we’re not going to see ‘fair and balanced’ anything. What does that leave us? Fox? CNN? LOL. The corporate media is faithfully parroting what the Clinton machine wants them to: she’s “inevitable,” “Obama’s getting a free pass by the media” and so on. I want to commend the Dissidant Voice and say that I’m going to stay tuned in, and also invite participation on my own blog, where I’m covering all of this as well. Take care.

  12. Chris Crass said on March 18th, 2008 at 8:47am #

    Seems to me like Obama agrees with Wright personally, but it’s a liability to say so publicly. America is an extremely racist country and Obama’s running for president. If he wants to win, he has to downplay his connections to Wright. Clinton’s campaign has already shown its enthusiasm for racism, and McCain’s will undoubtedly up the ante in that regard. Obama’s employing the lessons of the past (Malcolm X, MLK Jr., etc.) and trying to avoid getting his head exploded.

  13. Chris Crass said on March 18th, 2008 at 9:14am #

    “The only way the plight of the Palestinian can be address is when the left, and I mean especially the WHITE, JEWISH, left decide to CONFRONT Zionism head on by advocating a complete boycott of Israel. When that happens then you’ll see the emergence of “courageous” politicians.”

    About the only things that Israel exports that would make it to the US are cut diamonds and high-tech gadgets. I’ve been boycotting Israel for years without even knowing it.
    What about the billions of dollars in interest-free loans and military subsidies? The only way to boycott those is by not paying taxes, which gets you a neat little jail cell.
    I think you need to make more of a distinction between zionism and capitalism. When the US gives Israel a bunch of tanks and shit, that’s basically a subsidy for arms manufacturers. It’s paid for by taxes on income, meaning the people who make murder so nice and easy get the cost of their mansions socialized to the population at large. It’s the principal of make-work, and it’s why the budget of the US is so disproportionately weighted towards war.
    Zionism is a symptom of the greater evil: capitalism. Capitalism is the reason for the destruction of Haiti, the war in Colombia, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Israel, the death of the oceans, the poison in the air, the children starving in the streets and the racism that pervades every aspect of American society. It’s selfishness made into an ideology, and selfishness is precisely what it promotes. Empathy is weakness, egoism strength.
    That’s certainly not to say that zionism isn’t evil in and of itself, though. It’s just that zionism follows capitalism, not the other way around.