Daily Archives: March 24, 2008

Sneaky

In a column Saturday, the AJC admitted that the Jeremiah Wright story “did sneak up on us.” Supporters of Barack Obama are worried that Wright’s pulpit pronouncements could derail Obama’s campaign. The AJC’s decision to downplay this significant development at its inception fuels conspiracy theorists who see “the media” as a liberal monolith.

The controversy provided an opportunity for local news to view it through the prism of Atlanta’s rich culture of black churches. Only WAGA used that opportunity. But Darryl Carver’s think-piece on the issue came off as a bit one-sided, using much material from the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist, who defended Wright. Carver’s a good reporter. The story at least needed to show Carver asking Rev. Raphael Warnock some tough questions about why it might be appropriate for Rev. Wright to say “God damn America” from the pulpit. And the story ended with a “huh?” as Carver added a useless soundbite from Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth, apparently pulled from a feed. My guess is somebody told Carver to stick it on there.

(By the way– it may seem gratuitous and grandstanding for a reporter to be shown on-camera asking questions. But it serves a purpose. It balances a story that may feel one-sided.  And it shows the audience that the right questions were asked– even if they don’t like the answers. Richard Belcher at WSB is a master at this.)

What’s amazing is that Carver’s piece aired at all. With two late-night shootings, WAGA’s newsroom normally wouldn’t have hesitated to drop-kick the Wright piece so that Carver could stand in front of a crime scene with a “breaking news” banner under his chin.