Taxpayer-subsidized journalist Ray Suarez (pictured at right) thinks concerns over Barack Obama's liberalism are transparent proxies for something more sinister: racism. What's more, the PBS "NewsHour" reporter suggested that McCain running mate Gov. Sarah Palin is the campaign's point woman charged with "pil[ing] on the doubt" about Obama's fitness for office.
So reported Grand Rapids Press reporter Juanita Westaby, who covered the October 8 Suarez speech held at the "non-creedal liberal" Fountain Street Church (emphasis mine):
GRAND RAPIDS -- Following an unpopular president, supporting a costly war, and now facing a financial crisis at home, Sen. John McCain's race for the presidency should be in worse shape.
"What makes John McCain plausible is Barack Obama," news anchor Ray Suarez told a local crowd Wednesday.
The "pseudo controversies" about Obama's background are symbols for a "racial calculus" hard at work in U.S. politics.
Opinions about Obama's inexperience, his childhood in Indonesia, and the persistent but untrue rumors of him being Muslim are stand-ins for something his detractors cannot admit, Suarez said.
Particularly, "religion has become a proxy for race," he said.
Suarez spoke at Fountain Street Church as part of the Diversity lecture series. He is the senior correspondent for PBS's "News Hour with Jim Lehrer" and former host of NPR's "Talk of the Nation" program.
Suarez said Republicans are leaving it to vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin to "pile on the doubt" about Obama's religion.
Westaby didn't note anywhere in his speech that Suarez produced evidence that the McCain campaign has fostered or encouraged the most outlandish and inaccurate rumors swirling around about Obama's background.
Speaking of religion, Suarez's venue was well-suited to be preaching to the left-wing choir. According to the church's Web site, the goal of its "worship and proclamation" are ensuring that "[t]hemes of liberation and oppression such as sexism, racism, and homophobia are addressed."
For related stories on the liberal media bias of Suarez's PBS colleagues, check here for Tim Graham's October 1 NewsBusters post on Gwen Ifill and here for Graham's September 26 item on "NewsHour" anchor Jim Lehrer.
Photo of Ray Suarez by Emily Zoladz for the Grand Rapids Press. Original caption: Racial divide: Ray Suarez, a PBS correspondent, says those who continue to spread the false rumor Barack Obama is a Muslim are hiding other fears.