It Sounded Right to Them

One of the several reasons why the mainstream media have consistently underestimated the significance of the Trinity/Wright/Pfleger story is that, to a considerable degree, conventional reporters and editors tend to agree with Rev. Wright’s critique of America. When Wright said, “God damn America,” reporters thought he’d gone a little too far but didn’t necessarily disagree with the underlying sentiment.

A good illustration of this was the New York Times’s article on black liberation theology in which the paper endorsed as true Wright’s claim that the United States has used biological warfare against other nations. (This was cited to explain that the idea of the federal government inventing the AIDS virus in order to exterminate African-Americans was not so far-fetched.)

What on earth could the Times reporter have had in mind? Maybe the old canard about smallpox and the Indians; I can’t think of any other candidates. In any event, this morning’s Times corrects the error:

An article on May 4 about black liberation theology and the debate surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr, Senator Barack Obama’s former minister, erroneously confirmed a statement by Mr. Wright that the United States has used biological weapons against other countries. There is no evidence that the United States ever did so.

Note, though, that the paper is keeping its options open. Who knows, maybe the evidence will turn up someday.

This usually-unacknowledged sympathy with Rev. Wright’s anti-Americanism is, I think, part of the reason why the mainstream press misreported the Wright controversy from the beginning.

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