ABC’s Jake Tapper reports: “On the eve of the first presidential debate, the conservative website The Daily Caller Tuesday circulated previously unreported clips of a five-year-old speech in which then-Senator Barack Obama praised his controversial former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and suggested the federal government discriminated against the victims of Hurricane Katrina.” In the video Obama claims, “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 going to wait for you to scratch it together — because you’re part of the American family.’ … What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money? Makes no sense. Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much.” Obama speaks in a cadence and tone akin to an African American preacher, which he does not use in public speaking.
On Twitter and online, the hall monitors of the mainstream media instructed their fellows that this was not news. Nothing new, they incorrectly proclaimed. Their lessers in the liberal media echoed that this was “old news,” although much of the video had not aired before.
What to make of this?
For starters, the hypocrisy meter has now blown a gasket. The media crowd that would consider Mitt Romney’s hair-cutting episode to be front page news and has played pin-the-gaffe-on-Romney for an entire election cycle now sniffs that this video is not only not important, but not even news. The mainstream media clown show continues unabated.
Now, that said, the video is news but is highly unlikely to change any votes. (The same could have been said of many convention speeches, but they were still covered as events in the campaign.) Anyone who thinks Obama is a race-card-playing left-winger is already voting for Romney.
The most revealing aspect of the video, aside from the media circle-the-wagons routine, is how easily Obama transforms from his post-racial ( no red states, no blue states) image to a messenger of aggrievement. All pols are phonies, I suppose, but the gap between Obama’s personas is as wide as anyone’s in public life. He puts Mitt Romney to shame in the chameleon competition.
The Romney team is smart enough to know the video serves no useful purpose for its campaign. It is out to convince middle class and blue-collar voters that Obama is a failure, not a radical. (They simply aren’t going to buy the latter.) So it’s not surprising that today the campaign releases a Web ad featuring not Obama, but VP Joe Biden:
Now that is a theme worth pursuing.
As for the media, the problem is not so much that they collectively have decided the Drudge-posted video is not top-of-the-fold news; it is rather that they don’t consider Fast and Furious, Libya and the looming recession to be. News judgment has been replaced by the Obama campaign mind-meld (What would Obama say?). That is a problem for the voters, but really it’s a problem, and the undoing, of the mainstream media.