In April, 2008, the press was hailing the brilliance of Barack Obama, and dissing the much more experienced Hillary Clinton for not dropping out of the race, even though the race was close and several primaries were still due to be held.

So, when in early April, stories started percolating on right wing blogs and YOUTUBE that Obama had attended the church of one Reverend Wright for many years, but that Reverend Wright had preached hatred of the United States from his pulpit, the story was a potential time bomb.

I’m not sure who posted the first video, but one that was posted as early as January 2008 got over 3 million views. Which makes one wonder: Were there no journalists from the Chicago area who knew what was being preached at that church? Or were they keeping quiet about it, and the other shenanigans in Chicago politics that might not go over well with more honest Democrats?

Here’s the time line: The Pennsylvania primary was due to be held on April 22. The debate between the Democratic candidates was on April 16.

Already, Obama was in minor trouble with blue collar Democrats, after being quoted in a Huffpost report on saying that the “small town voters” were bitter, and clung to their religion and guns as a result.

Hillary, of course, instantly picked up the quote, claiming that Obama was an out of touch “elitist”.

Actually, Obama’s remarks were over the top. Most of “small town” Pennsylvania is Republican, except for the coal towns and steel mill region, which like the rest of the rust belt has been devastated by economic trends. These towns tend to be “ethnic” (second or third generation immigrants), Catholic/Orthodox in religion, and strong Union members. 

So why “diss” Union folks, when Unions were his strongest supporters? Because playing the “Race card” was more important to pander to his base than worrying about the votes of obedient Union workers whose very real objections about  gun control, pushing a pro abortion agenda, or continuing an affirmative action mindset that discriminated against their own children could be easily dismissed as “racism”.

And to make things worse, polls which had been in favor of Obama now started to show Clinton’s support was soaring.

Poll data from Gallup.

Note that the data goes against their press release claim that the “bitter” comments didn’t change anyone’ opinions.

It is in this context that one has to connect the dots with the so called “Journalist” scandal.

Apparently there was a private discussion board where a bunch of journalists discussed between themselves the topics they should be writing about.

Yet discussing issues is not the same as discussing how one can frame the issues, or how one can help block a story that goes against the political candidate one supports.

From the (right wing) Daily Caller:

The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them…

Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists….

According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.

(Read more:

So, going into Pennsylvania, Clinton was surging ahead of Obama; Indeed, she won the primary there.

Yet if the Reverend Wright accusations had been better publicized or questioned, would her victory be even higher, perhaps high enough to jolt the leaders of the Democratic party to stand up to the left wing take over that had intimidated her supporters in the caucuses and implied racism to anyone who tried to question Obama’s qualifications for office?

But it brings up a larger question of  ethics. As the blog of the American Enterprise institute points out, this collusion of the press to promote one candidate over another by manipulating the news is dishonest, and part of the reason for the decline in influence of what used to be a powerful “mainstream media”.

That is why the “journalist” story is not really a “right wing” jihad by the racist Rightwing Republican teapartiers. It must be put into perspective of Democratic party politics, for it reveals another stealth takeover of the Democratic party by the “McGovern” elites versus the “Humphrey” majority. Back in 1968, although Humphrey won the nomination, the McGovern clique was allowed to rewrite the rules so the the easily manipulated plebes would place into office the one who could give them the most bread and circuses.

The reports of deliberate press manipulation to favor Obama, along with an upcoming film accusing the Obama campaign of manipulating the caucuses against Clinton, paint a disturbing picture of a small clique of elites manipulating the media, the polls, and the caucuses so they can take over and push their own agenda.

There are a lot of links about the “Journolist” scandal over at the Instapundit blog (libertarian-right wing blog) this morning.

Living in the Philippines, I have no idea how this is playing on the US networks, but in an age when Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube can allow an “Army of Davids” to speak the truth to power, I suspect that this story will have long term consequences in how the news is reported.

Whether it will cause the Democratic party to allow power to the moderate wing of the party, such as is promoted by the Democratic Leadership Council, is another story altogether.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Makaipa blog, and is a Democrat.

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