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Liberal media myth lies shattered

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By Rick Howell

Anyone who truly believes in a “liberal media” would have to wonder why news organizations would spend endless weeks carrying on over nutty comments from Barack Obama’s former preacher.

Following the “logic” that media only supports and encourages liberal candidates at the expense of glorious conservatism, then surely it wouldn’t hammer home something that is only likely to hurt Obama’s campaign.

But it would, wouldn’t it? And it has, hasn’t it? What that means, naturally, is that mainstream, corporate media is always motivated by its own habits and needs, and doesn’t care a whit about helping liberal Democrats.

The obsession with Jeremiah Wright is particularly absurd, but is yet another example of the empty and useless trails down which media tries to lead us in a presidential campaign.

Instead of probing stories about the relevant issues, and in-depth reports of what various candidates would actually do about them, we get this kind of stuff. And we usually get it in droves.

It would have been fine to report what Obama’s preacher said once, take the candidate’s response, and then let it go. Frankly, I’m not sure that was worthy of an actual story, but at least that would have left it where it belonged.

Wright, after all, has no position in Obama’s campaign, and is not a candidate for any office himself. After he retired from the church Obama belongs to, that, especially, should have ended the matter. But now, it’s a constant cycle of “Wright saysee.” and “Obama respondsee.” How long does this nonsense go on?

After the first cycle of these non-stories, some rube in the press noted that John McCain had accepted the endorsement of right-wing evangelist John Hagee. The Rev. Hagee, known for his intense and sometimes comical embrace of Israel, also subscribes to kooky ideas about Catholics, and has called the papacy “the whore of Babylon.”

Once this was reported, McCain responded. His response was reported, and then that was the end of it. Funny, isn’t it, that the “liberal media” would treat McCain better than Obama?

As for Mr. Wright, there’s really not much that can be said, except that he seems to be rather enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, and is trying to stretch it out as long as he can. But anyone who has ever sat in a pew knows that preachers routinely make statements that many in the congregation wouldn’t agree with.

Barack Obama should not be judged and held accountable for anything his pastor - and certainly not his former pastor - has said. But the mainstream media sees it another way.

It’s difficult to say how much this is really hurting the campaign, at a time when Obama does seem to have problems closing the deal, anyway. By the time you read this, two other primaries will have been held, and the whole situation may be different.

But the lesson here is much more about media than it is about Obama. The senator from Illinois has inspired Democrats and independents like no presidential candidate in recent decades. Yet, to the minions of the national media, he’s just another story, subject to the same whims and obsessions to which they subject everyone and everything else.

The Jeremiah Wright nonsense has made me wonder again something I’ve wondered many times over the years as conservatives have ranted and raved about “the liberal media.”

Where is the liberal media when you need it?

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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, is a member of the Roanoke City Democratic Committee, and can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.