Today is a red-letter day for the New York Times. For the first time, the paper has reported in its news section that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright once uttered the phrase “God damn America.” Wright’s comments were widely reported and widely discussed beginning with an ABC News report six months ago. Barack Obama even had to give a much-publicized speech because of those words, and others. But the newspaper of record has never seen fit to publish Wright’s quote in its news pages. Until today.
If my search of the Nexis database is correct, Wright’s quote first appeared in the Times in a column by Bill Kristol on March 17. It was mentioned again in a column by Maureen Dowd on March 23. It appeared in an editorial on April 26. It appeared in a column by the public editor on May 4, and also in an article in the Week in Review section on that same day.
But never in the front section of the paper. Until now. As with the April 26 editorial, today’s mention of “God damn America” is in the context of reporting on attack ads targeting Obama. But still, it’s there, on page one, for the first time.