Thursday, March 20, 2008

All Obama, all the time

Talk radio again today: All about Obama and his preacher. No other topic really even came up. Since every blog in the country has bloviated on this topic, I probably can't add much. But here are three points:

1. The remarkable thing is how little the story has advanced in the week that talk radio has been obsessing over it. Outside of the original half-dozen or so sentences on tape from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, I have not heard another word of anything he has said. Still no context, still no indication of how common such remarks were. The presumption has been that he was saying stuff like that every week, but no evidence has been offered to show that is true. To me, it makes a difference. A guy who says a half-dozen dumb things over the course of a long career is a lot different from a guy who says dumb things every week. And if such comments were rare, it would certainly help explain why Obama stands by him. But talk radio seems to have no interest in the question -- either that, or the staffs are looking hard for more dirt and can't find any.

2. Obama made an excellent speech about race this week that you would think would be relevant. But talk radio has almost entirely ignored it. Today, Dick Morris said it was a good speech but maybe not enough. A caller said the speech showed that Obama lied about what he heard and when he heard it. O'Reilly played a clip of Chris Matthews praising the speech and said that showed how deeply Matthews is in the tank for Obama. Otherwise, the speech might as well have never happened. Too bad. Obama said a lot of things worth discussing, but that discussion apparently won't take place on talk radio.

3. Several callers complained that the Rev. Wright took the Lord's name in vain. I assume this refers to his "God damn America" statement. But whatever may be wrong with that statement, it is not an example of taking God's name in vain. Hitting your thumb with a hammer and saying "goddamnit" is taking God's name in vain. But if what Wright said takes the Lord's name in vain, then so does "God bless America." Both statements ask God to respond on the speaker's behalf in particular ways for particular reasons. Neither is more vain than the other.

UPDATE: Apparently cable news has been no more insightful. Jon Stewart played a long clip of cable news excerpts last night that consisted solely of questions about how the speech would affect Obama's election chances.

The night before, Stewart played an excerpt from Obama's speech, then said: "At 11 a.m. on a Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race as though they were adults."

Not too many adults, apparently, in the cable news and talk radio crowd.


jcurmudge said...

And now you know why I don't listen to talk radio. I did when in a pastoate so I could know what my people were bein subjected to.

Anita said...

David, Did you really expect talk radio to engage in a discussion of Obama's speech? For all the bloviating on blogs, that's where the discussion is taking place. And in e-mails. I've just had the longest e-mail exchange with my brother than we have had in years. We're on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but that discussion--civil and thoughtful-- was prompted by Obama's speech.

anita said...

Update here, David--Chris Wallace at Fox News has taken Fox and Friends to task for two hours of--in his words--"Obama bashing." You can find the clip on YouTube.