By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Break glass in case of emergency

File this away. The Globe’s Alex Beam has a terrific column on Barack Obama’s minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who’s “controversial” for reasons that are not entirely clear. If Obama keeps doing well, Wright will no doubt be depicted as a cross between Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan. Not that I like Wright’s views regarding Israel. But, as Beam notes, they are no different from those of some mainline Protestant denominations.

Speaking of Farrakhan: John Doherty offers some information I wish I’d known and that I wish Beam had told us.

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  1. John Doherty

    This column by Alex Beam sets up & knocks down all the easy objections to Rev. Wright, while ignoring the “800 pound gorilla” of his public praise for anti-semite Louis Farrakhan. Wright has referred to Farrakhan as a “great man” and Beam seems to be ignoring this reality in order to pooh pooh the concerns about him. Whatever good works Farrakhan’s people might have accomplished, praising him as a great man is like saying the Nazis were great because they opposed smoking & had some good environmental ideas. Hate is hate. Obama will have to address this eventually, and Beam does him no favors by glossing over it in a way the GOP slime machine will definitely not.

  2. Mme_Libn

    I agree with John Doherty’s comment, and would add this: Alex, is it *possible* to write a column on this topic without a gratuitous Hillary-bashing comment? Was it really necessary to say ” . . . Hillary Clinton, who paints herself as a church-attending, Chicago-area Christian Protestant when it suits her . . .”? I’m not Hillary fan myself, but I think her lifelong membership in the Methodist church, and her attempts to follow its precepts in her public and private lives, are pretty well documented. Beam has an added ding to his credibility with his offhand, unnecessary comment questioning Hillary’s sincerity in this area, in addition to ignoring the Farrakhan issue.

  3. Anonymous

    Some links from someone (anyone) citing where Wright has said Farrakhan is a great man, with further links to where Farrakhan has made anti-Semitic (as opposed to critical) comments would be helpful in this post and this debate. I am not saying they aren’t there. But, this is going to be a nasty conversation and facts should be at our fingertips if accusations are going to be made. And Dems do need to know about the issue so they aren’t caught by surprise in the national election.

  4. Steve

    I am struck by the fact that all of a sudden we’re tying Obama to Farrakhan through a third person (Wright).Farrakhan has said some pretty odious things over the years, but he’s not running for anything, and as far as I know, Obama has never expressed any admiration for him whatsoever. But now Farrakhan is the issue!Nice swift-boating!

  5. Brian F.

    What got me about the article was the following line: “…Wright has been profiled by several newspapers, and the forward shock troops of the right-wing hate machine, i.e. Fox News…” To call a national news network a hate machine is far out there, even for a Globe partisian like Beam.

  6. Anonymous

    I’m going to agree with doherty.As to the guy wanting a cite, please try here. Trumpet Magazine is affiliated closely with Wright’s church. The award Farrakhan got is named after Rev. Wright. Farrakhan is praised for his insight into race relations in America.Beam’s column is glaring in its omission of this information, which was in the Washington Post nearly two weeks ago, and has been heavily discussed on the interweb ever since.I don’t think that this is going to go away, but rtaher that it will wound Obama badly, either now or in September.

  7. John Doherty

    anon said: “Some links from someone (anyone) citing where Wright has said Farrakhan is a great man, with further links to where Farrakhan has made anti-Semitic (as opposed to critical) comments would be helpful in this post and this debate.”For the former, look no further than Richard Cohen’s (somewhat weaselly) column last week in the Washington Post. There’s even an appalling youtube video from the awards ceremony where Farrakhan received his award from Wright & his magazine !As for Farrakhan’s extremely long and well documented history of malicious anti-semitism, no one needs to make that case. He cops to it. Google it.

  8. Dave

    Sorry to go OT, but can you tell us the scoop with WTTT 1150 switching to some sort of Spanish music format all of a sudden? Is the WTTT lineup going to be carried anywhere else?thanks

  9. Peter Porcupine

    DK – here’s a link to a blog I wrote about Farrakhan after hsi recent Boston appearance. My personal favorite remark is that massive highway projects are being undertaken to make it easier to move tanks in to subdue neighborhoods:

  10. Anonymous

    Every candidate probably crossed paths with someone who’s uttered something publicly that the candidate would find abhorrent. Is Rev. Wright running for President? Is Charles Keating? For whom are we really voting? And what does any of this have to do with subprime loans, health care, or Iraq?

  11. Anonymous

    John Doherty said… “Google it.”I know how to google, and I have read about Wright in the past. My point was, you made the charge, but didn’t cite any sources. I believe that you should have done so, as should anyone who is making a charge of this type. I also think Dan Kennedy should have cited a source when he said “I wish I’d known.” Did he google it or does he take what Doherty says at face value? Disappointing.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 10:08: Doherty is my source. I know him personally, and I trust him. It’s really no different from my linking to a reliable blogger.

  13. Sean Roche

    My prejudice going in: Beam’s a hack. He’s more interested in appearing contrarian then being sound in his analysis.But, this one didn’t seem too bad, until the last two paragraphs. What exactly did the Clinton administration do to black America that warrants the snicker, snicker analogy to Monica Lewinsky?

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