Unlike the journalists at NBC, who dismissed as old news a just released 2007 video of Barack Obama discussing race, ABC's Jake Tapper highlighted the tape of the then-senator praising the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. NBC's Today completely ignored the footage of Obama touting Wright as a "great leader, not just in Chicago, but all across the country."
On Good Morning America, Tapper relayed that "critics say the President was divisively pandering to a black crowd by suggesting malicious discrimination against New Orleans." He noted that in the video, Obama was "using a different speaking style than usual." In regard to the President's campaign claiming that Obama was simply discussing disaster relief, something he had done previously, Tapper pointed out that the Democrat "did speak about it a little differently in the Senate."
Distinguishing himself from the journalists at the morning shows on NBC and CBS, Tapper related, "The video also features Obama extolling his then-reverend, Jeremiah Wright."
Tapper then played a clip of Obama praising the man who once described 9/11 as "America's chickens coming home to roost." Obama extolled, "The guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He's a friend and a great leader."
CBS and NBC both covered the story, but not the Wright angle.
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According to a report by the Media Research Center, Tapper was the first journalist to generically highlight the issue of Obama's pastor:
ABC's Jake Tapper offered Obama’s church-and-minister defense twice in November and December – but never with a whisper of the name of Reverend Wright. On ABC's World News with Charles Gibson on November 16, Tapper offered a generic story on negative phone calls and e-mails, including suggestions Obama was a Muslim. Obama said: "There are a variety of nasty e-mails going out. This is similar to the e-mails that’s, e-mails that have been floating around that says I am, you know, I’m a Muslim plant who’s planning to take over America, you know? This would surprise my pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ." On November 19, Tapper repeated a version of that on Good Morning America. Tapper also replayed Obama’s "Muslim plant" joke on the December 5 Nightline.
Tapper's reporting stood in contrast to GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos who hyped the "shock waves' from Mitt Romney's "47 percent" tape, but who offered no similar hyperbole for this new Obama tape.
A transcript of the October 3 segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The race for the White House now. It's your voice, your vote now. Just hours from the first crucial debate. More than 50,000 million people expected to watch tonight. President Obama, Mitt Romney getting in their final preparations. And our political team is standing by with more on what to expect. Let's begin with Jake Tapper. Jake, this latest stab at setting tonight's agenda. The resurfacing of a speech President Obama gave in 2007.
JAKE TAPPER: That's right, George. The speech was covered five years ago. Though, not parts of the remarks when then-Senator Obama ad-libbed. The conservative website the Daily Caller posted the entire speech online last night. Conservatives are calling it explosive. The Obama campaign is calling it a desperate attempt by Romney's allies to change the subject. Speaking to the largely African-American Hampton University Ministers Conference in June 2007, then-Senator Obama went off his prepared remarks.
BARACK OBAMA: This really steams me up!
TAPPER: Using a different speaking style than usual, Obama charged New Orleans, post-Hurricane Katrina, was required to match a portion of federal disaster funds, as required by the Stafford Act, a requirement waived for other disaster victims.
OBAMA: 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.
TAPPER: Same with Hurricane Andrew in Florida, he said. But--
OBAMA: What's happening down in New Orleans? Where''s your dollar? Where's your Stafford act money? Makes no sense. Tells me the bullet hasn't been taken out. Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans, they don't care about as much.
TAPPER: Beyond the accuracy of the charge, critics say the President was divisively pandering to a black crowd, by suggesting malicious discrimination against New Orleans.
OBAMA: People in Washington, they wake up, they're surprised. There's poverty in our midst. Folks are frustrated. Black people, angry.
TAPPER: The video also features Obama extolling his then-reverend, Jeremiah Wright.
OBAMA: The guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He's a friend and a great leader.
TAPPER: The Obama campaign points out that in 2007, then-Senator Obama spoke out quite a bit in the senate on the issue of disaster relief for the Gulf Coast. And that's true, George. Although, he did speak about it a little differently in the Senate. George?