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Media Overkill * New York Times

The New York Times

Op-Ed Columnist

Overkill and Short Shrift


Published: May 3, 2008

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is no doubt (and regrettably) a big issue in the presidential campaign. But what we’ve seen over the past week is major media overkill — Jeremiah Wright all day and all night. It’s like watching the clips of a car wreck again and again.



We’ve plotted the trend lines of his relationship with Barack Obama over the past two decades. What did Obama know and when did he know it? We’ve forced Barack and Michelle Obama, two decent, hard-working, law-abiding, family-oriented Americans, to sit for humiliating television interviews, reminiscent of Bill and Hillary Clinton on “60 Minutes” at the height of the Gennifer Flowers scandal.

We’ve allowed the entire political process in what is perhaps the most important election in the U.S. since World War II to become thoroughly warped by the histrionics of a loony preacher from the South Side of Chicago.

There’s something wrong with us.

Race is like pornography in the United States — the dirty stories and dirty pictures that everyone professes to hate but no one can resist. But I suspect that even porn addicts get their fill sometimes.

The challenge for the working press right now is to see if we can force ourselves past the overwhelming temptations of Wright and race and focus in a sustained way on some other important matters, like the cratering economy, metastasizing energy costs, the dismal state of public education, the nation’s crumbling infrastructure or the damage being done to the American soul by the endless war in Iraq.   New York Times story continues>>


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