Time Covers For Obama: 'The Incredible Ignorance of White Americans'

Time editor Rick Stengel made his regular Thursday Morning Joe appearance today, revealing the magazine's cover to be published tomorrow. But while we learned that the Dalai Lama's photo will appear there, the bigger story is the "cover" Time is trying to provide for Barack Obama's Rev. Wright problem.

Here's the gist of Time's defense of Obama, a distillation of Stengel's statements and Time articles by Amy Sullivan and Joe Klein:

  • An important aspect of the problem is that white Americans are incredibly ignorant about black churches in America.
  • In fact, Rev. Wright's church isn't that radical as black churches go.
  • It was understandable for Obama to have joined Wright's church. At the time he was a 27-year old bi-racial man trying to figure out his identity as the son of an atheist father and skeptic mother and needed a church "he could learn from."
  • It's understandable that Obama didn't leave the church: it's like reading a book--you don't necessarily agree with the author.
  • Obama's speech was a "triumph," and Americans will be thinking "small" if they make the Wright thing a big issue in the campaign.

View the video here.

I got a particular kick out of this exchange between Stengel and guest panelist Tucker Calrson. Classic white guilt covering for black extremism. It came after a discussion of the quote from the article about Trinity not being a particularly radical black church.

TUCKER CARLSON: So this isn't a radical church, in context? There are more radical churches in Chicago?

RICK STENGELL: Well, I mean, one of the things in Amy's story that she writes about is the incredible ignorance of white Americans about what goes on in black churches. And so, she talks also a little bit about black liberation theology which was, which was in the, the, you know, which people believed in back in those days, which influenced their Christianity. I mean, I just, you know, a church in some ways to me, it's like a buffet. You choose what you want here and there. I think that's probably what he was doing.

"Back in those days"? You mean like way back this past December when Wright used the n-word to draw an invidious comparison between Obama and Hillary? And do you remain in a church when the main course on that buffet is a radical, hateful theology?

Religion Race Issues Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Christianity Racism MSNBC Time Morning Joe Video Rick Stengel Jeremiah Wright