Regarding Reverend Wright's speech at the National Press Club: I did not see it when he gave it, but I watched it on line all the way through soon after, and then I watched as he took questions. As I was watching and after the Q and A, I thought what a terrific educational presentation he was giving. I also remember thinking something like, "Well, I guess this should put to rest all that right wing stuff we've been hearing recently." And it crossed my mind that "this guy is from Philadelphia--Germantown, in fact! Damn!" The man's theme was "reconciliation and transformation" as expressed from the pulpit historically, and in particular in the "Black Church", with which, he pointed out, many white commentators, journalists, historians, etc. have been and continue to be unfamiliar. He invited them to stay around for the next two days at the symposium that was starting then. It was during the Q and A that he was asked provacative questions about Louis Farrakhan, etc. He handled all of these with insight, some humor and generally with restraint.
Silly, naive me. Please understand: I am no stranger to the commercial media and its distortions, racial insensitivity (or worse) and spin, etc. In addition,I worked as a history teacher for 35 years in a large urban school system where I think I might have learned more history than I taught. What I am trying to say is that I considered myself a little bit savvy about some of the issues the reverend was addressing and about what the press response might be.
But I must say I have been stunned by the deafness of most of the media commentators and the editorials. What exactly "offended" them? Was it that the Reverend Wright gave an articulate talk which cited uncomfortable facts of American history? Was it that he used big words with ease and delivered his talk with only occasional references to his notes. Was it that he mentioned that his denomination, the United Church of Christ, was in fact majority white? Was it that he handled some baiting questions without hesitation or waffling? Or was it his implied questioning of the patriotism of the Vice President of the US? This when he was asked if he considered himself patriotic. Actually, he had already dealt with the question and mentioned that many of his parishioners had served in Vietnam and both Gulf Wars as well as Afghanistan. But when he was asked again, his response went something like this (he does not waste words): "I served six years in the military. How many years did Cheney serve?"