Mortgage Meltdown: Media Diverts from FACTS to Entertainment

Does anyone really care about what the media is hyping for their own ratings and their own revenue?

CAN ANYONE WAIT FOR RELIEF FROM THE 2 MILLION FORECLOSURES THAT WILL HURL US DOWN THE TUBES IF WE DON’T FIGURE A WAY OUT OF THE CREDIT CRISIS?

Exactly how important are the comments of an ex-pastor of a presidential candidate to someone who is losing their home, lost their job, can’t pay for gas, and can’t find a self and secure environment for their children to grow up, be educated, and prepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world?

Is there ANYONE who want to be rejected for hiring because of comments made by their pastor, preacher, minister, or rabbi? Are you defined by the views of YOUR spiritual leader?

Does it make any difference how crazy the ex-pastor was or how closely President Obama was listening to sermons when he was there for prayer and spiritual renewal? 

Is there ANYONE in publishing who wants to start printing news that is important and not merely entertainment? 

May 1, 2008

Obama Defends Handling of Furor Over Ex-Pastor

WASHINGTON — Senator Barack Obama on Thursday defended his handling of the firestorm around his former pastor, saying he had not denounced the minister’s provocative comments sooner because he wanted to “give him the benefit of the doubt” as a man who had married the Obamas and baptized their two daughters.

The senator made the comments in an interview with Meredith Vieira on the NBC “Today” show. He was joined by his wife, Michelle, and Ms. Vieira said it was their first interview together in more than a year.

Mrs. Obama spoke passionately of her pride in her husband, and how he has handled the harsh glare of public scrutiny. “I love my husband, you don’t want anybody talking poorly about the people you love, and quite frankly, I think he’s handled this stuff” well, she said. “I’m so proud of how he has maintained his dignity, his cool, his honor.”

The husband-and-wife interview, during which the two held hands, laughed and seemed particularly close and mutually supportive, appeared to have been designed at least partly to soften Mr. Obama’s image at a time when it has been buffeted by controversy surrounding the former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. It might also help him in his so-far problematic courtship of working-class white voters.

When provocative snippets from Mr. Wright’s past sermons were aired weeks ago, Mr. Obama at first denounced the comments but supported the man. When Mr. Wright went further in recent days, saying that it seemed possible the United States government had introduced the AIDS virus to undercut minorities, and that Mr. Obama’s original denunciations of Mr. Wright were not sincere, the senator finally made a break, calling the former pastor’s comments “outrageous,” and “divisive and destructive.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama’s standing in polls has suffered.

Asked by Ms. Vieira if he should have spoken out sooner, Mr. Obama replied, “I think the sequence of events was the right one, because this was somebody who had married Michele and I, who had baptized our children.”

He went on: “When those first snippets came out, I thought it was important to give him the benefit of the doubt, because if I had wanted to be politically expedient, I would have distanced myself and denounced him right away.”

When Ms. Vieira pressed Mrs. Obama on whether Mr. Wright had betrayed her husband, she demurred, saying, “I think Barack has spoken so clearly and eloquently about this.” She added: “We’ve got to move forward.”

Mr. Obama, who faces his next key test against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Indiana primary on Tuesday, currently a toss-up according to polls, again acknowledged that he was partly responsible for the tightening of the race. North Carolina holds its primary on Tuesday as well, and polls give him a double-digit lead there.

Both Senators Clinton, of New York, and Obama, of Illinois, were campaigning on Thursday in Indiana.

Mr. Obama again described his earlier comments in San Francisco — that some small-town Americans were “bitter” over the economy and tended to “cling” to religion and guns — as “very poorly phrased.”

“I should have said ‘angry and frustrated’ instead of ‘bitter,’” he said, “I should have said people rely on their religious faith during these times of trouble as opposed to ‘cling to.’”

Asked about surveys that show fewer Americans identify with Mr. Obama’s values than before, the senator struck a philosophical tone.

“We always knew this was an improbable journey,” he said. “We always knew this was hard, and the reason is because we’re trying to do something new.”

The Obamas had a playful moment late in the interview, as she was strongly defending him and he tried to cut her off.

“I know you’re trying to cut me off when I’m, you know, talking nicely about you,” she said, laughing.

“I know,” he smiled, “it gets me embarrassed.”

As part of the senator’s media campaign, he is scheduled to spend a full hour on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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