The Associated Press is among the news outlets accused by Fox News’s Sean Hannity of covering up the “inflammatory” racial remarks of then-Sen. Barack Obama in a June 2007 speech at Hampton University in Virginia. This is how Hannity introduced the story, which is actually a Daily Caller exclusive:
This event was covered by other media outlets, including the Associated Press and local television stations. But again, the most outrageous comments were completely ignored. This is further proof that the MSM has been in the pocket of Barack Obama since the day that he arrived on the national stage. Now let’s take a look at what the left-wing press has been hiding since 2007.
Here are the lead paragraphs from the AP’s writeup of the Obama speech, as crafted by reporter Bob Lewis:
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse a “quiet riot” among blacks that threatens to erupt just as riots in Los Angeles did 15 years ago.
The first-term Illinois senator said that with black people from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still displaced 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, frustration and resentments are building explosively as they did before the 1992 riots.
“This administration was colorblind in its incompetence,” Obama said at a conference of black clergy, “but the poverty and the hopelessness was there long before the hurricane.
The story discussed Obama’s acknowledgment of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright: “He introduced his own pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United as ‘Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.’ ” And it placed in context the politician’s usual practice of leaving race out of his “standard campaign speeches.”
Tucker Carlson, who was the co-reporter of the Daily Caller piece that is causing the current round of publicity about the speech, didn’t respond to a request to comment on just how the AP piece may have failed to capture the true nature of the Obama address. In his television appearances on this matter, Carlson appears most perturbed about this passage in the Obama speech, as excerpted and described in the Daily Caller piece:
“Now here’s the thing,” Obama continues, “when 9-11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act — said, ‘This is too serious a problem. We can’t expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you gotta put in. Well, here’s ten dollars.’ And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, ‘Look at this devastation. We don’t expect you to come up with y’own money, here. Here’s the money to rebuild. We’re not gonna wait for you to scratch it together — because you’re part of the American family.’ ”
That’s not, Obama says, what is happening in majority-black New Orleans. “What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money?” Obama shouts, angry now. “Makes no sense! Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!”
Carlson sees that last line as evidence that Obama was practicing racially divisive politics. The line itself didn’t make the AP account, though the piece did provide a general abridgment of the disillusionment of African Americans in New Orleans following the hurricane.
Yet here’s another inconsistency between the AP story and the stuff that Carlson-Hannity highlight. In its third paragraph, the AP account quotes Obama as saying that the Bush administration was “colorblind” in its misdeeds — a patently conciliatory line on the racial front. That comment didn’t get quite that level of attention from Carlson and Hannity.
AP spokesman Paul Colford says the AP story was a “strong” piece of journalism and an “example of early political season coverage that the AP takes pride in. As far as I can see, the piece was referenced directly or indirectly by any number of broadcasters that day and date.”