Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr. appeared on WLS Radio in Chicago yesterday morning to discuss the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. During the interview Jackson launched in criticism of this years' Democratic party primary process and the media's coverage of Hillary Clinton. (short audio clip here, full interview here.)
Representative Jackson was specifically critical of the mainstream media for allowing Bill Clinton a platform from which to attack Obama while Hillary Clinton "is sitting around somewhere in a Deli", talking to voters and having "sensitive moments". Jackson concluded the criticism with a blunt "the media just needs to tell him [Bill Clinton] to butt out!"
As an Obama supporter it is expected that Jackson would make such statements but it appears to me that he has a couple valid points. The media has downplayed the support of Jesse Jackson Jr. for Barack Obama as well as that of his father Jackson Sr. except in the case where the elder Jackson criticized Obama for "acting like he's white" during the media's overblown coverage of the Jena 6.
The interview on the WLS morning show with Don Wade and Roma was illuminating because it breached the imaginary wall that often shields us regular folk from hearing a critical analysis of the Democrat party by an incumbent Democratic congressman. It is a rare opportunity indeed to hear about a
Democrat when he speaks so candidly about problems with this year's Democratic primary process; especially when that conversation is tied directly to Bill Clinton. Public airings of such conversations are usually reserved for maverick Republicans breaking ranks with their more conservative counterparts. Perhaps that is why Congressman Jackson frequently appears on conservative talk radio to get his message out.
I captured the following partial transcript of the interview, picking up where Roma asked Congressman Jackson to comment on statements by Bill Clinton that characterized Barack Obama's campaign as a fairy tale campaign.
Congressman Jackson: Well you know it's becoming two on one, and this... Ok, I'm going to get myself into trouble because I am going to criticize the media. There's nothing in the world like running for congress, or running for the senate or running for the presidency. It's enough to wake up every morning worrying about what your opponents are going to think. But the fact that you are sharing the stage in terms of the media, and the conversation in terms of the media with someone who's not even in the contest, the former President of the United States who has the capacity to draw his own media and create his own story.
So Barack Obama has to respond to everything Clinton says because the media is ranked with "you know what the former President of the United States said about you today". That's going to create a story the next day. Remember there's only 5 days between these elections. So you are responding to Bill Clinton while Hillary is sitting around at a uh, Mrs. Clinton is sitting around you know at a Deli or ...
Don Wade: Yeah, with tears.
Congressman Jaskson: Right, right. So she gets to talk with voters and have these sensitive moments while Barack is in a free for all fight with the former President of the United States. The media just needs to tell him to butt out!"
Jackson also complained that the truncated Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries "were designed by the party forces in the states who wanted to avoid democratic infighting in the Democratic primary process because at the time all these state were moving their dates the goal was to benefit quote unquote the candidate of inevitability" referring to Hillary Clinton.
Take these words and flip them around, attributing them to a "maverick" republican incumbent in congress complaining about the republican party establishment and you could make a fortune in Vegas betting the odds that this story would turn up on the front page of the nations biggest bastions of liberal jawboning with television newsrooms right on their heels if not ahead of them.
Another interesting fact that should not be lost in this conversation is that WLS radio frequently schedules interviews with liberal politicians and mainstream media talking heads such as George Stephanopoulos. This is done without prodding by government coercion under threat of the fairness doctrine or forfeiture of its broadcast license by those who would prefer that you fear conservative talk radio. This is yet another example that blows holes in the myth that conservative talk radio is a one sided hideout for neocon front groups.
The interview was essentially a trifecta for those who champion breaking down the MSM barriers to intelligent talk.
Terry Trippany is the editor and publisher of Webloggin.