Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jeremiah Wright is not all wrong

As the Jeremiah Wright "controversy" resurfaced over the weekend and the drive-by attacks from the GOP-shrouded Fox News Channel started up again, you can only wonder how this situation got to where it did.

Part of the problem is the media's reliance on quick hits. Five-second soundbytes. Of course, that is a product of the times. USA Today started it all years ago with its quick hits summary of the day's news.

Newspapers picked up on that like lemmings. The paper I once worked for, the San Jose Mercury News, had endless meetings to discuss how to present the news more concisely and quickly for its commuting public.

Of course, what happens is quotes are taken out of context. Details are omitted. Anything to save time.

This has become the new standard in too much of the media. Get it done quick. Doesn't matter if it isn't all there.

That has been the big gap in the Wright story. Anyone who has taken the time to listen to Wright's sermons in full will find he is not the diehard racist Fox News and the GOP spinmeisters love to tout.

Listen to his sermons: "The Audacity of Hope", the "God Damn America" sermon and the 9/11 sermon. No one who hears these sermons and listens to them will come out with the interpretation foisted off on us in some parts of the media, especially Fox News.

Wright is actually a very very good speaker. I don't believe in his conspiracy theories, but his words expounding hope are good to hear.
There's a lesson to be learned in all this: Hearing words are one thing. Listening to what's being said is something else.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Operation Chaos: Limbaugh or luck? Hotlist

Rush Limbaugh thinks he has thrown the Democratic race into turmoil. Did he -- or would the Obama-Clinton race, such as it is, have happened without him?

Some party-line Republicans, led by none other than Old Faithful Rush Limbaugh, think they are responsible for making the Democratic nomination a horse race instead of the runaway it was. An interesting report in today's San Francisco Chronicle by Carla Marinucci spells it out.

"Limbaugh's effort, which began early this year, is a call to arms urging conservatives and Republican voters to re-register as Democrats - and create chaos in that party's presidential nomination process by casting a vote.

The proof that it is working, Limbaugh says, is in the unusual turnout of turncoats: An estimated 100,000 GOP voters crossed over in Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary. And he argues it's no coincidence that TV networks last week appeared reluctant to rely on exit polling and waited more than an hour before calling a solid Keystone State win for Clinton. "Operation Chaos" loyalists have been following orders to mess with exit pollers en masse - by lying to them, Limbaugh says.

'The endgame is to see that neither of these candidates can win by virtue of the primaries," Limbaugh told The Chronicle last week. 'One or the other will win only when the superdelegates decide who they want. And whoever the supers choose will infuriate the loser's supporters. More chaos.'"

So Rush thinks he has that much power? Let's look at a few facts.

First, the idea, as Marinucci says, that Republicans would give up their party affiliation just to vote for the opposition in an election is silly, especially if they have to re-register to do so. If a primary allows them to crossover vote, that, of course, is a very likely scenario under which it could happen. Otherwise, most people -- outside of Limbaugh' lemmings -- wouldn't bother.

Even some of his fellow Republicans don't think this scenario works. Former state Senate and GOP leader Jim Brulte, who's supporting McCain, told Marinucci, "Do I think Rush has a lot of influence among conservatives? Of course he does. He's a thought leader, an opinion leader of the American conservative movement. But do I think most voters change their affiliation to dink around in other parties' primaries? I don't think it happens."

There's even the theory that this whole "Operation" is a Limbaugh ego trip for having denounced McCain. Wouldn't surprise us.

Second, it was pretty inconceivable that the Democratic nomination would go unchallenged, especially with Hillary in the race and as the underdog. She is a unrelenting competitor. Her drive is one of her best qualities. Some Republicans are clucking over the prospect of her against McCain. They may be clucking too soon.

All of this and more (see the article) points to the conclusion that Limbaugh didn't really do anything that mine what was already there. It'll be fun, however, to see him spin this in November after the Republicans lose -- which is a river of denial the GOP is refusing to cross, but which is a lot closer than they think.

Most Popular On HuffPost