Media Blog

Jeremiah, the Genial, Courtly Egghead?

Trying desperately to sell Jeremiah Wright’s image as mellowed out by his television tour, Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times claimed that prolonged Wright exposure might not hurt Barack Obama after all:

Now it turns out that Mr. Wright doesn’t hate America, he loves the sound of his own voice. He is not out of touch with the American culture, he is the avatar of the American celebrity principle: he grabbed his 30-second spots of infamy and turned them into 15 minutes of fame.
Cable news commentators have focused on the damage the spectacle inflicted on the embattled Obama campaign. And while Mr. Wright’s behavior may not have been politic for Mr. Obama, it was politics as usual for the television age. In at least one way, Mr. Wright’s star turn may have helped defuse his importance in the long run. The pastor who was thrust upon the public consciousness as a caricature of the angry black man emerged after an exhaustive series of performances as a more familiar television persona: a voluble, vain and erudite entertainer, a born televangelist who quotes Ralph Ellison as well as the Bible and mixes highfalutin academic trope with salty street talk.

Alessandra claimed Wright’s star turns weren’t proving that the supposedly unfair snippets of his sermons weren’t distortions. On PBS on Friday, Bill Moyers helped him demystify himself, she claims, as he looked “courtly, genial, and something of an egghead, tossing out academic citations, literary references and words like ‘hermeneutics.’” In Detroit on Sunday, he delivered a “thundering lecture” about white ignorance of the black church, and by Monday, he was “on a tear” at the National Press Club, offering reporters “feisty rejoinders and snappy retorts, looking as pleased with his replies as a contestant in a high school spelling bee who has just correctly spelled the final word.”
Nice try, Alessandra. Especially for someone who’s skewered the Bible Belt as “the Loire Valley of American extremism.”

Tim Graham — Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...

Most Popular

White House

Democrats in Peril

I will just make a prediction and try to keep out of the swamp of Trump-obsession as the weeks unfold. The anti-Trump movement is now in inexorable decline; it is a little like the Nixon defense forces after the Saturday Night drama in October 1973, with the departure of the attorney general, his deputy, and ... Read More
World

Canada Is Attacked Again

Media coverage of yesterday’s monstrous van attack in Toronto, which as of this writing is responsible for ten deaths and more than a dozen other casualties, was punctuated by political press conferences of the sort that are now an inescapable part of the dark theater of public tragedies. At his first ... Read More
World

Trump and the North Korean Tipping Point

The world has been stunned by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s announcement last week that he was suspending his country’s nuclear tests in preparation for the impending meeting with President Trump. Even critics have had to concede that Trump’s bellicose rhetoric since last summer regarding the North ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More