Alexandria, VA- The broadcast networks buried and at times refused to report the hate-filled and anti-American sentiment of presidential candidate Barack Obama's spiritual mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. A new Media Research Center study, Editing Reverend Wright's Wrongs, details the limited (and sometimes censored) coverage Wright's comments received from February 10, 2007 to July 15, 2008. Viewers who watched ABC, NBC, and CBS saw very little of Rev. Wright's worst inflammatory remarks about America deserving 9/11 and the U.S. government inventing the AIDS virus to kill blacks.
"The broadcast networks have really shown themselves to be completely useless to voters this election year. Rev. Wright is a vicious man who welcomed America's worst mainland tragedy as just punishment for America's supposed sins abroad. He spews forth ridiculous conspiracy theories regarding our government's evil designs to murder African-Americans. And Wright was Obama's spiritual mentor for two decades. To downplay or simply censor the significance of these facts is a dramatic dereliction of duty by the networks," said MRC President Brent Bozell.
Key points detailing Wright coverage:
- The networks tried to hide Wright. Despite a feisty interview on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes back on March 1, 2007 about Obama's church's controversial commitment to a "black value system," the name of Jeremiah Wright didn't surface on the Big Three networks until CBS first broached it on February 28, 2008. The first story with Wright sermon soundbites aired two weeks later, on ABC on March 13. By then, 42 states and D.C. had already voted.
- The networks refused to report Wright's wildest charges against America. The networks refused to report soundbites of Wright's conspiracy theory about the U.S. government "inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color." They mostly ignored his comments that America deserved the 9/11 terrorist attacks. When Wright reiterated his opinions at the National Press Club on April 28, the three networks aired only 23 seconds about America deserving a terrorist attack, and again ignored Wright's claims that AIDS was cooked up in a government lab.
- Obama was treated to expansive coverage and praise when he tried to defuse the Wright situation. On March 18, Barack Obama's "race speech" drew a remarkable 15 minutes of soundbite time on the broadcast network morning and evening shows in the first 24 hours, much more than the six minutes they devoted to Wright soundbites in the whole month of March. It was hailed as a "defining cultural moment in America" and "another great eloquent speech by Barack Obama."
Overall, the networks have treated Wright like a distraction rather than a man who has helped shape the thought process of a presidential candidate. Hence, consumers of Old Media (around 26 million people) barely know the impact Reverend Wright's sermons had on the man who may be our next president.
To schedule an interview with MRC President Brent Bozell or another MRC spokesperson, please contact Tim Scheiderer (x. 126) or Colleen O'Boyle (x. 122) at (703) 683-5004.