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Moving on from Obama's Pastor, NBC Focuses on McCain 'Mistake' --3/20/2008


1. Moving on from Obama's Pastor, NBC Focuses on McCain 'Mistake'
A day after Barack Obama's speech in reaction to the bigoted and hateful rants of his long-time pastor, the network evening newscasts moved on -- with only ABC briefly mentioning the topic -- while NBC Nightly News, which has run just one clip of Jeremiah Wright and on Friday had instead featured a whole story about Obama's childhood friends cheering him on, centered a Wednesday night story around "a mistake" by John McCain. Anchor Brian Williams provided an ominous plug: "Did John McCain slip, or was his mistake intentional? His choice of words making news tonight." Kelly O'Donnell soon proposed: "Defense and national security are central to McCain's campaign. So a mistake he repeated this week has stood out. At least three times McCain incorrectly asserted that Iran is aiding al Qaeda." After video of Senator Joe Lieberman whispering in McCain's ear, McCain corrected himself as O'Donnell explained: "The mistake, al Qaeda is a Sunni group while Iran is a Shia nation." O'Donnell highlighted how "Senator Obama seized on the error," concluding with the suggestion the one comment undermined McCain's image: "Leaving McCain to defend his expertise during a trip in which he intended to showcase it."

2. ABC's GMA Lauds 'Historic' and 'Remarkable' Obama Speech
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, various hosts and reporters could barely restrain their glee and admiration for Senator Barack Obama's Tuesday speech about race and the incendiary comments of his pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Co-host Robin Roberts hyperbolically claimed that "some" believe "his speech was not only important for his campaign but also for the future of the country." In a tease for the program, she put the onus on America and asserted, "Barack Obama challenges voters and the country..." Fellow co-host Chris Cuomo set up an "exclusive" interview with the presidential candidate by labeling the speech "historic." Nightline co-host Terry Moran, who talked to Obama, prefaced his segment by bubbling: "Well, as you know, one of the hardest things to do in American politics, in American society, is to talk honestly about race. And it's clear that's what Barack Obama was trying to do in that remarkable speech."

3. CBS's Rodriguez: Obama's Speech 'A Defining Cultural Moment'
Wednesday's CBS Early Show devoted four segments to Obama's speech on race and the Jeremiah Wright controversy and that coverage began with a proclamation by co-host Maggie Rodriguez: "It's being called a defining cultural moment in America. Barack Obama speaks about America's racial stalemate, a moving moment, a political risk." Rodriguez went on to tease upcoming coverage of the speech by again emphasizing its "historic" nature: "It was without question a defining moment in American political history. But for an African-American presidential candidate who'd played down race in his campaign, this was a huge gamble politically." The first of the show's four segments featured a report by correspondent Byron Pitts, who observed: "If critics hoped Senator Barack Obama would disown his controversial pastor, they were disappointed." After speaking of Obama's "disappointed critics," Pitts went on to praise Obama's unifying message and give some political advice: "But beyond condemning his minister's words, Obama tried bridging the racial divide, acknowledging years of bitterness and anger amongst blacks and whites...With a slip in the polls, the Illinois Senator needs to take the nation's attention off race and back on jobs, health care, and the war in Iraq."

4. Hume Recites 'Rave Reviews' for Obama 'In Much of National Media'
Reciting three quotes highlighted in Wednesday's CyberAlert (and Tuesday night on NewsBusters), plus one from CNN's Campbell Brown which we missed, FNC's Brit Hume led his "Grapevine" segment Wednesday night by illustrating how "Barack Obama's speech on race yesterday played to rave reviews in much of the national media." Hume recounted: "On NBC, the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart said the address was, quote, 'a very important gift the Senator has given the country.' NBC's own Chris Matthews said it was, quote, 'worthy of Abraham Lincoln' and quote 'the best speech ever given on race in this country.' ABC's George Stephanopoulos said Obama's refusal to renounce his highly controversial pastor was, quote, 'in many ways an act of honor.' And on CNN, Campbell Brown called the speech 'striking' and 'daring,' asserting that Obama had, quote, 'walked the listener through a remarkable exploration of race from both sides of the color divide, from both sides of himself.'"

5. Three Weeks Until MRC's 2008 'DisHonors Awards,' Get Tickets Now
Just three weeks until the MRC's 2008 "DisHonors Awards." The MRC's annual video awards with the "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year presented to Tony Snow, will take place in Washington, DC on Thursday evening, April 10. Confirmed participants: Ann Coulter, Larry Kudlow, Mark Levin, Cal Thomas and many more since surprise conservative guests will accept the awards in jest. Get your tickets now.


Moving on from Obama's Pastor, NBC Focuses
on McCain 'Mistake'

A day after Barack Obama's speech in reaction to the bigoted and hateful rants of his long-time pastor, the network evening newscasts moved on -- with only ABC briefly mentioning the topic -- while NBC Nightly News, which has run just one clip of Jeremiah Wright and on Friday had instead featured a whole story about Obama's childhood friends cheering him on, centered a Wednesday night story around "a mistake" by John McCain. Anchor Brian Williams provided an ominous plug: "Did John McCain slip, or was his mistake intentional? His choice of words making news tonight."

Kelly O'Donnell soon proposed: "Defense and national security are central to McCain's campaign. So a mistake he repeated this week has stood out. At least three times McCain incorrectly asserted that Iran is aiding al Qaeda." After video of Senator Joe Lieberman whispering in McCain's ear, McCain corrected himself as O'Donnell explained: "The mistake, al Qaeda is a Sunni group while Iran is a Shia nation." O'Donnell highlighted how "Senator Obama seized on the error," concluding with the suggestion the one comment undermined McCain's image: "Leaving McCain to defend his expertise during a trip in which he intended to showcase it."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

As recounted in the Wednesday CyberAlert, in covering Obama's speech NBC's Lee Cowan admired how "in the City of Brotherly Love, Barack Obama gave the most expansive and most intensely personal speech on race he's ever given," adding it reflected "honesty that struck his rival Hillary Clinton." Also on the NBC Nightly News, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart asserted "it was a very important speech for the nation. It was very blunt, very honest" and so "a very important gift the Senator has given the country." For more: www.mrc.org

So far, the only Wright soundbite aired on NBC Nightly News ran on Saturday when viewers heard his "Not God Bless America, God damn America."

The March 17 CyberAlert item, "Instead of Wright, NBC Touts Childhood Pals: 'Good Luck Barry!'," reported:

Friday's (March 14) NBC Nightly News allocated a mere 22 seconds to Barack Obama's condemnation of what fill-in anchor Ann Curry vaguely described as "inflammatory remarks that his long time pastor made about Hillary Clinton and the nation," but instead of informing viewers of any of those remarks, such as Reverend Jeremiah Wright's suggestion that the U.S. deserved 9/11, the newscast then devoted three minutes to a celebratory piece about how excited Obama's childhood friends in Indonesia are about his candidacy.

In a story which began and ended with a picture of Obama's classmates in front of huge "Good Luck Barry!" lettering, reporter Ian Williams trumpeted the wonders Obama is doing abroad: "The fact that Obama lived in Jakarta and studied at this school has really captured the popular imagination. It's already working wonders for America's battered image here." A local commentator oozed over how "Obama's candidacy confirms the romantic ideals people like me have held since childhood that America's the land of opportunity."

Williams concluded with how "friends remember Barry playing barefoot in the paddy fields with a real spirit of adventure," and so now "hope there'll be no turning back on his journey to the White House. And Barry might attend their next reunion as President of the United States."...

For the entire previous CyberAlert rundown: www.mrc.org

ABC's World News provided the only Wednesday evening mention of Obama and Wright, in this brief exchange between Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos that followed a discussion about the problems facing Democrats in trying to count Florida and Michigan:

CHARLES GIBSON: One other subject I want to ask you about is the Obama speech from yesterday on which we reported so extensively. And I wonder how Republicans were reacting to it today.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: They think it's is a killer issue, Charlie. They have all year long believed that Hillary Clinton would be easier to beat in November. But that view is starting to change now after this Wright issue has come to the fore. There's some polling evidence to back that up. And that may turn out to be Hillary Clinton's best argument now in this nomination fight. She can go to the super-delegates and say, look at what's happened. Barack Obama has been damaged. He is no longer electable.

Hmm, maybe the fact it's "a killer issue" is why the networks were so reluctant to cover the topic and so quick to move on.

The Wednesday, March 19 NBC Nightly News story:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Back to the presidential campaign briefly. John McCain's latest stop on his overseas trip, Israel where the talk was of neighboring Iraq and what the U.S. should do. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell is traveling with him.

KELLY O'DONNELL: John McCain's visit to one of Judaism's most revered and usually solemn sights, the wailing wall, set off a commotion. A sign of intense interest in his visit. And the Iraq war was a focus during our interview.
JOHN McCAIN TO O'DONNELL: For nearly four years, we pursued a failed strategy. For the last year it's been a successful strategy.
O'DONNELL TO McCAIN: Do you believe in a first term, if elected, there would be a dramatic reduction in the number of U.S. forces engaged in combat in Iraq?
McCAIN: Oh, yes, sure.
O'DONNELL: But he declined to say how many U.S. troops would need to stay.
McCAIN: I can't give you a number and honestly the number doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is American casualties. My goal as President is to reduce and eliminate American casualties.
O'DONNELL: Defense and national security are central to McCain's campaign. So a mistake he repeated this week has stood out. At least three times McCain incorrectly asserted that Iran is aiding al Qaeda.
McCAIN IN IRAQ: That al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran. That's well known.
O'DONNELL: Then after Senator Lieberman whispered in his ear.
MCAIN: I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al Qaeda. Not al Qaeda. I'm sorry.
O'DONNELL: The mistake, al Qaeda is a Sunni group while Iran is a Shia nation.
O'DONNELL TO McCAIN: People did notice that you made this comment and wondered was it simply a slip of the tongue?
McCAIN: I corrected it immediately. I corrected my comment immediately. But to think I would have some lack of knowledge about Sunni and Shia after my eighth visit and my deep involvement in this issue is a bit ludicrous.
O'DONNELL: But today, Senator Obama seized on the error.
BARACK OBAMA: Just yesterday we heard Senator McCain confuse Sunni and Shia, Iran and al Qaeda.
O'DONNELL: Leaving McCain to defend his expertise during a trip in which he intended to showcase it. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, Jerusalem.

ABC's GMA Lauds 'Historic' and 'Remarkable'
Obama Speech

On Wednesday's Good Morning America, various hosts and reporters could barely restrain their glee and admiration for Senator Barack Obama's Tuesday speech about race and the incendiary comments of his pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Co-host Robin Roberts hyperbolically claimed that "some" believe "his speech was not only important for his campaign but also for the future of the country." In a tease for the program, she put the onus on America and asserted, "Barack Obama challenges voters and the country..."

Fellow co-host Chris Cuomo set up an "exclusive" interview with the presidential candidate by labeling the speech "historic." Nightline co-host Terry Moran, who talked to Obama, prefaced his segment by bubbling: "Well, as you know, one of the hardest things to do in American politics, in American society, is to talk honestly about race. And it's clear that's what Barack Obama was trying to do in that remarkable speech."

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Moran did ask one tough question. He bluntly queried Obama: "If I went to a church where white supremacy was preached, what would you think of me?" But when the Senator dodged the question, he didn't follow-up. More representative of Moran's tone was when he tossed a softball about the type of advice Obama's wife gives him. He closed the segment by oddly claiming that the controversy comes down to black patriotism: "For some, perhaps for many white voters, the controversy that's erupted around Barack Obama's candidacy might be boiled down to a stark question: Do you consider yourself a black man or an American first?" Now, maybe Moran meant that it doesn't seem like Reverend Wright like America much, but it was a poorly phrased question.

Moran's interview first aired on Tuesday's Nightline. See the March 19 CyberAlert for more: www.mrc.org

In a follow-up piece, This Week host George Stephanopoulos similarly rhapsodized over Obama's "sophisticated, eloquent" speech. Now, he did question how effective it would ultimately be, but later said that the fact that Obama won't renounce Wright personally is a plus: "And I think the other intangible here is how voters will respond, not only to the honesty that Barack Obama showed yesterday, not only the sophistication he showed in the speech, but also the honor that he showed." According to Stephanopoulos, even Americans who don't like Wright will respect Obama for sticking by him.

There's another way to demonstrate just how taken Good Morning America was with the speech. In an age where quick cuts and short attention spans rule, GMA played, uninterrupted, a one minute and 18 second long clip of the address, a favor not often granted to many political speeches.

A transcript of the two segments, which aired at 7:04am on March 19:

7am tease
ROBIN ROBERTS: Black and white. Barack Obama challenges voters and the country, talking frankly about race. We have an exclusive interview with the senator this morning.

7:04am
ROBERTS: And now to the race for '08 and one of the biggest tests of this campaign. In a speech on Tuesday, Barack Obama condemned the words of his former preacher and called for a nationwide conversation on race in America. Now, some say his speech was not only important for his campaign but also for the future of the country.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA (time: 1 min 18 seconds): The fact that so many people are surprised to hear the anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour of American life occurs on Sunday morning, that anger is not always productive but the anger is real. It is powerful. And to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, but race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother, a woman who helped raise me but a woman who once also confessed her fear of black men who passed her on the street and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like healthcare or education or the need to find good jobs for every American.
ROBERTS: So many people watching that yesterday.
CHRIS CUOMO: Oh, absolutely. People are talking about it. And the opinions, you know, they're going to vary. But, the question is, what's being called an historic speech-- Now, the question is, what does the Senator himself hope can come from this? Terry Moran, anchor of ABC News "Nightline" sat down with the Illinois senator in an exclusive interview to talk about what motivated the speech and what this could mean to his campaign and the country. Terry joins us from the nation's capital this morning. Good morning, Terry.
TERRY MORAN: Good morning, Chris. Well, as you know, one of the hardest things to do in American politics, in American society, is to talk honestly about race. And it's clear that's what Barack Obama was trying to do in that remarkable speech. And when we sat down with him just afterwards, he reflected on what he was trying to do here and why he felt he had to give this speech now. Things are changing in this campaign. Race is emerging as an issue in the Mississippi primary. You won 92 percent of the black vote and just 26 percent of the white vote.
OBAMA: Right.
MORAN: Given what's happening, do you feel this is a make or break moment for your candidacy?
OBAMA: You know, I don't think it's a make or break moment, I mean, we, if you just look at mathematics and the popular vote of the campaign. We're in a good place.
MORAN: As for the Reverend Wright-
OBAMA: My point, I think was that you don't disown, certainly the church, but you don't even disown a man, simply because he says something that you profoundly and deeply disagree with.
MORAN: Well, let me press you on that. If I went to a church where white supremacy was preached, what would you think of me?
OBAMA: Well -- But, see, I disagree with you though, Terry. That's not what is preached at Trinity. And that, I think -- That is an easy equivalence that is not what at all is taking place. If you look at the sermons, even the most offensive ones that are at issue, he is condemning white racism, as he defines it. But he is not condemning the white race. He is not suggesting that blacks are superior.
MORAN: And Obama is quick to point out the complexity of his own heritage and how it shapes his politics.
OBAMA: One strength I do have, is that I have a foot in each camp. Right? Since I'm half white, and was raised by a white mom and white grandparents. You know, I have a little more insight into, into those white resentments. You know, you think of the experience of whites in a place like Boston or Scranton, Pennsylvania, you know, where -- at time of economic stress and difficulty, suddenly, blacks are moving in, kids are being bused. You know, there's some sense that, you know, the economic competition is being tilted unfairly because of affirmative action.
MORAN: Another major force in his life, his wife, Michelle.
OBAMA: I am married to a black American who carries within here the blood of slaves and slave owners.
MORAN: You mentioned your wife Michelle's heritage in this speech. What kind of advice has she given you on these matters?
OBAMA: You know, Michelle, and most of my black friends, I think, were much more confident and calm about me giving this speech. My white friends and advisers were much more nervous.
MORAN: For some, perhaps for many white voters, the controversy that's erupted around Barack Obama's candidacy might be boiled down to a stark question: Do you consider yourself a black man or an American first?
OBAMA: An American, absolutely. Yeah.
MORAN: Is there a difference between black patriotism and white patriotism?
OBAMA: No, I don't think so. I mean, what I think is that the African-American community is much more familiar with some of the darker aspects of American life and American history. I think that they understand America much less as a marching band playing, you know, John Phillips Sousa. They understand America much more as a, as a jazz composition with blue notes.
MORAN: A final note, Obama's basic message is that all of the dishonesty about race, the anger and resentment leads to spectacular dead ends, like he pointed out, the O.J. Simpson trial. And he went out of his way to say he thought O.J. was guilty.

7:11am
ROBIN ROBERTS: And now for the bottom line, we turn to ABC chief Washington correspondent and host of This Week, George Stephanopoulos. And going back to the speech for a moment there, George -- Excuse me, good morning to you, George. Nice to see you.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Hey, Robin. How's it going? ROBERTS: It's going really well. Going back to the speech for a moment, and there's so many levels to it, so many levels to it. But politically speaking, was it effective?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think it stopped the short-term bleeding. As a speech, it was, I think, a stunning success. As a speech, it was sophisticated, eloquent. Barack Obama is as fine a writer as you'll find in a politician. The question is, how was it received by some key audiences? I think it reassured Barack Obama's liberal supporters. I think it was a harder sell to win over white working class voters in these primaries who have been pretty resistant to Barack Obama all through this process. And the comments of Reverend Wright will make that even more difficult. A single speech isn't going to solve that. The final key group are these undecided super delegates who holds the balance of power in this primary fight. My gut tells me that it probably helped Barack Obama with this group. But, they are going to wait and see how voters respond in polls and these upcoming primaries before they make a final decision.
ROBERTS: And speaking of polls, there that was a poll taken yesterday. And 65 percent of all voters, Democrat, independent, Republican, 65 percent of them said Reverend Wright's comments made no difference in the way they view Obama. Again, this was taken yesterday. This is unchartered territory for a presidential candidate to, to weigh into this really frank discussion about race.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about it, Robin. And that's why Barack Obama knew all along that he would have to give this speech at some point in the campaign. Those polls, those early polls are also tough to gauge, because they can't measure how this will play out over the course of a campaign. And I think the other intangible here is how voters will respond, not only to the honesty that Barack Obama showed yesterday, not only the sophistication he showed in the speech, but also the honor that he showed. He did not renounce someone that he was under a great pressure to renounce, even though he disagreed with his comments. And I think a lot of voters, even if they're uncomfortable with Reverend Wright, will respect Barack Obama for that act.

CBS's Rodriguez: Obama's Speech 'A Defining
Cultural Moment'

Wednesday's CBS Early Show devoted four segments to Obama's speech on race and the Jeremiah Wright controversy and that coverage began with a proclamation by co-host Maggie Rodriguez: "It's being called a defining cultural moment in America. Barack Obama speaks about America's racial stalemate, a moving moment, a political risk." Rodriguez went on to tease upcoming coverage of the speech by again emphasizing its "historic" nature: "It was without question a defining moment in American political history. But for an African-American presidential candidate who'd played down race in his campaign, this was a huge gamble politically."

The first of the show's four segments featured a report by correspondent Byron Pitts, who observed: "If critics hoped Senator Barack Obama would disown his controversial pastor, they were disappointed." After speaking of Obama's "disappointed critics," Pitts went on to praise Obama's unifying message and give some political advice: "But beyond condemning his minister's words, Obama tried bridging the racial divide, acknowledging years of bitterness and anger amongst blacks and whites...While Obama invoked the tone of a preacher, it was a politician speaking. With a slip in the polls, the Illinois Senator needs to take the nation's attention off race and back on jobs, health care, and the war in Iraq."

[This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Following the report by Pitts, co-host Russ Mitchell went on to highlight one of Obama's "disappointed critics": "As you might expect, Obama was a hot topic on talk radio as well. Take a look." Mitchell then played a clip of Rush Limbaugh: "Barack makes whites feel good. Jackson and Sharpton did not, but his association with Reverend Wright now threatens this, the association with Reverend Wright has de-masked Obama."

Mitchell then went on to show a sample of voters reacting to Obama's speech. If one includes Limbaugh's comment, their were 3 comments critical of Obama and twice as many, 6 comments, in favor of Obama. One such pro-Obama voter, Ann Loeb, remarked: "I wish that people would just stop. I think the problem is that the primaries period is much too long, and people can't help digging up little things that are really beside the point, and I would just like to forget about it and move on."

Mitchell followed that comment by colluding the segment this way: "Well, the polls show this incident has cost Obama support among some voters. Many political pundits give him credit for tackling the issue right now, head on."

In the second segment of the day, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to CBS political analyst Jeff Greenfield and pollster Frank Luntz about the political fallout of the speech. Rodriguez introduced the segment by quoting a new CBS poll: "About 30% said that Reverend Wright's statements made their view of Obama less favorable." Of course the CBS has barely reported on Wright's most controversial comments, so one wonders what "statements" to which the poll refers.

Rodriguez began by asking Greenfield: "Consensus seems to be that this was yet another great eloquent speech by Barack Obama, but, Jeff, let's start with you and take it further. Do you think that it accomplished his task, which was to diffuse the Reverend Wright situation?"

Greenfield said no and actually provided some tough criticism for both Wright and Obama when he later said that: "Some of the things that Reverend Wright said -- that AIDS was a government conspiracy to commit genocide against black people. These are the words of a crackpot, and the question is if this is a spiritual mentor, this is a guy that's part of your life, at what point do you look up and say this guy is too much off the rails for me to be associated with him."

For his part, Luntz explained why the speech was not the "great eloquent" one that Rodriguez described: "Also, he had two Teleprompters, left and right, when you watch clips of it, you'll notice that he never looked straight at the camera. This is important. Voters want to see your eyes. They want to judge whether or not you really believe what you're saying, but, instead, he's going back and forth. And third, he had to spend so much time on Reverend Wright that people have already forgotten the key points of his speech where he did talk so powerfully about race."

The third segment on Obama's speech was hosted by Mitchell, who talked to Time Magazine's Rick Stengel and liberal columnist for the left-wing Mother Jones magazine, Debra Dickerson. At one point Mitchell asked Dickerson: "Debra, as you watched the speech, did anything cross your mind that he had done particularly wrong?" Her response was predictable: "That he had done wrong? I got to tell you, I thought it was brilliant. I thought it was visionary. I don't think he struck a false note. He didn't -- he didn't -- he didn't distance himself -- he didn't distance himself from the things that have been said. He put them in context. I don't think he struck a false note at any place in this speech. He forgave Geraldine Ferraro. He put Jeremiah Wright in context in Obama's life, not in the context of Jeremiah Wright, 'You're not voting for him. You're voting for me. And this is my relationship with him.' I think it's a speech that people are going to be studying for a long time. I don't think he did anything wrong."

Later, Dickerson praised Obama for not denouncing Reverend Wright and she used Obama's own comparison of Reverend Wright to his grandmother: "I think it's exactly what he's -- what people wanted him to do and what he did not do, and I really admire, is he was basically asked to disown him, and he specifically refused to do that, and I think it's exactly like being required to disown one of your grandparents, and I thought that was beautiful in the speech because your grandparents are wise and they tell these crazy stories that don't make sense until the end. They smack you upside the head and give you a meat loaf sandwich, but then once or twice a month they say something so heinous and horrific that you're embarrassed. You never know what grandma is going to say. But you can't disown grandma."

The forth and final segment on Obama's speech was simply a 7 minute edited version of the speech. This 7 minutes was nearly half of the show's total 16 minute's of coverage of Obama.

Hume Recites 'Rave Reviews' for Obama
'In Much of National Media'

Reciting three quotes highlighted in Wednesday's CyberAlert (and Tuesday night on NewsBusters), plus one from CNN's Campbell Brown which we missed, FNC's Brit Hume led his "Grapevine" segment Wednesday night by illustrating how "Barack Obama's speech on race yesterday played to rave reviews in much of the national media." Hume recounted:
"On NBC, the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart said the address was, quote, 'a very important gift the Senator has given the country.' NBC's own Chris Matthews said it was, quote, 'worthy of Abraham Lincoln' and quote 'the best speech ever given on race in this country.' ABC's George Stephanopoulos said Obama's refusal to renounce his highly controversial pastor was, quote, 'in many ways an act of honor.' And on CNN, Campbell Brown called the speech 'striking' and 'daring,' asserting that Obama had, quote, 'walked the listener through a remarkable exploration of race from both sides of the color divide, from both sides of himself.'"

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

That effusing from Brown, formerly of NBC, came at the top of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 which she anchored Tuesday evening:
"Whether or not you agree with what Barack Obama said and whether or not it solves his immediate political problem, it was striking. And, in one respect, it was daring. Instead of simply distancing himself today from his former pastor's offensive remarks, Senator Obama took the opportunity and the risk of doing much more. Quietly, but clearly with great passion, he walked the listener through a remarkable exploration of race from both sides of the color divide, from both sides of himself."

For the full quote from Matthews on Hardball, see the CyberAlert item by Geoff Dickens, "Chris Matthews Hails Obama Speech as 'Worthy of Abraham Lincoln.'" Go to: www.mrc.org

For the quotes championing Obama from Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart on the NBC Nightly News and George Stephanopoulos on ABC's World News, check the CyberAlert item, "'Extraordinary' Obama Speech a 'Gift' for 'Confronting Race in America' with 'Honesty.'" Go to: www.mrc.org

Three Weeks Until MRC's 2008 'DisHonors
Awards,' Get Tickets Now

Just three weeks until the MRC's 2008 "DisHonors Awards." The MRC's annual video awards with the "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year presented to Tony Snow, will take place in Washington, DC on Thursday evening, April 10. Confirmed participants: Ann Coulter, Larry Kudlow, Mark Levin, Cal Thomas and many more since surprise conservative guests will accept the awards in jest. Get your tickets now.

"It was a terrific show...It was a great, great, great assemblage of people... Everybody just had a blast!" -- Rush Limbaugh, 2007 recipient of the William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence.

Make your reservation today. Every year our gala sells out, so don't delay.

Individual seats available for $250. To reserve your seat(s), contact the MRC's Sara Bell at: sbell@mediaresearch.org

Or call, 9 to 5:30 PM EDT weekdays: (800) 672-1423.

Online page with information: www.mrc.org

For a look at all the fun at last year's event: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker