Apparently, at his new conference today, Obama gave as one of his reasons for repudiating Wright, Wright’s claim that Louis Farrakhan is one of the great figures of the century. In fact, this is old news. In the same November/December special double-cover issue of Trumpet News Magazine that contains Wright’s fulminations about “garlic-nosed” Italians, we find a full scale cover-picture of Louis Farrakhan and an interview with Farrakhan himself. The Farrakhan cover-story was published in association with Trumpet News Magazine’s decision to honor Farrakhan with an “Empowerment Award.” (Trumpet is a Wright vehicle.)
In the introduction to the interview, Rhoda McKinney-Jones quotes Wright’s own assessment of Farrakhan as follows:
“When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens,” says the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, likening the Minister’s influence to the E. F. Hutton commercials of old. “Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen…His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.
“Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience,” continues Wright. “His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation’s most powerful critics. His love for Africa and African American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and purpose.”
McKinney-Jones doesn’t say where these Wright quotes come from. My guess is that it was from the statement in which Wright announced that Farrakhan would receive an Empowerment Award. Obama may not have read this story in Trumpet News Magazine (does he receive it?), but Wright’s award to Farrakhan has been a story for quite a while. Why is it unacceptable now when it’s been a public story for some time? Had Obama looked into the matter when the award was announced and/or publicly condemned by those outraged at Wright’s actions, he could easily have turned up the very same quotes that Wright echoed yesterday at the National Press Club.