What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 17, 2008

Facts and Fred Honsberger

My friend Fred Honsberger had Ronald Kessler on his radio show today. Kessler is the guy who wrote the original article that said that Senator Barack Obama was in the church on July 22, 2007 when the Rev Jeremiah Wright said some goofy stuff.

Here's how NYTimes columnist William Kristol explains it:

For one thing, it’s becoming clear that Obama has been less than candid in addressing his relationship to his pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. For example, Obama claimed Friday that “the statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity.”

It certainly could be the case that Obama personally didn’t hear Wright’s 2003 sermon when he proclaimed: “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, not God bless America, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. ... God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human.”

But Ronald Kessler, a journalist who has written about Wright’s ministry, claims that Obama was in fact in the pews at Trinity last July 22. That’s when Wright blamed the “arrogance” of the “United States of White America” for much of the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks. In any case, given the apparent frequency of such statements in Wright’s preaching and their centrality to his worldview, the pretense that over all these years Obama had no idea that Wright was saying such things is hard to sustain.

Here's Kessler's column at Newsmax.com column.

Here's where the story gets fun. Fred's show starts at 3pm. At 1:03pm (nearly two hours BEFORE Fred's show) Talking Points Memo posted this:

In his latest column, Bill Kristol falsely claimed -- based on reporting by Newsmax, of all things -- that Obama had attended Trinity Church last July 22nd, when Wright blamed blamed the “arrogance” of the “United States of White America” for much global suffering.

The Obama campaign responded with an aggressive fact-check last night, saying that, no, in fact Obama was not at the service.

In fact they reported that Kristol had added a correction to his own column. This is what it said:
In this column, I cite a report that Sen. Obama had attended services at Trinity Church on July 22, 2007. The Obama campaign has provided information showing that Senator Obama did not attend Trinity that day. I regret the error.
This, as I said, was almost exactly two hours BEFORE Fred show was to begin. So even before Fred started talking on the air, William Kristol had acknowledged that the story was wrong.

Nice going, Fred. In all fairness (and I am nothing, if not fair) Fred and Ron did try to spin things with, of all things, Newsmax's own correction:
The Obama campaign has told members of the press that Senator Obama was not in church on the day cited, July 22, because he had a speech he gave in Miami at 1:30 PM. Our writer, Jim Davis, says he attended several services at Senator Obama's church during the month of July, including July 22. The church holds services three times every Sunday at 7:30 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central time. While both the early morning and evening service allowed Sen. Obama to attend the service and still give a speech in Miami, Mr. Davis stands by his story that during one of the services he attended during the month of July, Senator Obama was present and sat through the sermon given by Rev. Wright as described in the story. Mr. Davis said Secret Service were also present in the church during Senator Obama's attendance. Mr. Davis' story was first published on Newsmax on August 9, 2007. Shortly before publication, Mr. Davis contacted the press office of Sen. Obama several times for comment about the Senator's attendance and Rev. Wright's comments during his sermon. The Senator's office declined to comment.
Note that they don't pin Senator Obama down to a particular service (looks like they can't). And they say that he could still have heard the sermon if he attended the early morning or late evening service. No proof, of course, that he actually attended. Only that he could have. It's all tied up with a nice bow of the reassurance that Jim Davis, who wrote the original piece back in August, "stands by" the story that Obama heard an angry sermon that Davis heard sometime in the month of July, 2007. That's a long long way away from slam dunk proof that he was there on July 22, isn't it?

You'd think that things couldn't unravel more. But you'd be wrong.

It turns out that Jim Davis (who posts at freerepublic as Philo1962) can't find the notes he based the story on. Go read his explanation over at freerepublic, if you want a good chuckle.

And yet things unravel some more. This evening TPM Election Central posted this:

As I noted below, Bill Kristol had to append a correction to today's column, after the Obama campaign convinced him that his claim that Obama had attended a controversial Jeremiah Wright column was, well, false.

Kristol had cited, of all things, a piece on Newsmax by Ronald Kessler as the source for the tall tale. Kessler's piece, too, featured an update that acknowledged error -- sort of, anyway.

But there's been an amusing epilogue to this otherwise dispiriting tale.

It turns out Kessler has been busy today scrubbing references to this episode of fact-bungling from his page at Wikipedia.

And the proof of this? Someone named Ronald Kessler:
I checked in with Kessler himself, and he confirmed that he had done the deed. He said he'd cut out the reference to his own fact-bungling because it also contained a reference to an article criticizing him for his stance on torture -- and that all of this was part of the same "left-wing" assault.
Fred, Fred, Fred. You've got to do better than this. You can't be putting on such badly sourced material on KDKA's air. It's just too easy for someone like me to bat it down.

Just too easy.

Don't worry my friend, tomorrow is another day.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for running that down. We know Fred's a lier. But still, Obama needs to clear things up if he is going to turn ths around.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Man do the Osama Obama supporters have their heads in the sand. The tapes made by Rev. Wright are out there for even people like me to see. To assume for one second that Obama had no knowledge of those sermons is complete denial. I mean complete denial. You have, for 7 years, assigned all sorts of crimes to Bush simply by association. Now we have Obama attending a church by this Wright fellow for 20 years, etc and you expect us to believe he had no knowledge of this. Read the NY Times kooks, the NY Times.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Even people like me can see my pee-pee! Lookie! Lookie!

Heir to the Throne said...

I will comment on 2 Political Junkies favorite truth-teller Keith "Edward R" Olbermann lying.
During his Worst person in the world segment, he claimed BHO could not be at the Church because he was in Miami.

Wrong Olberloon,

Obama Was In Chicago The Morning Of Controversial Sermon

"Fair and Balanced" Dave said...

I will comment on 2 Political Junkies favorite truth-teller Keith "Edward R" Olbermann lying.
During his Worst person in the world segment, he claimed BHO could not be at the Church because he was in Miami.

Good ol' Herr on the Throne misses the bigger picture: Obama was not in attendance at Trinity Church on July 22nd.

There's a much more important point:

Obama has repudiated Rev Wright's remarks even though Obama is not in the least accountable for what a church pastor says.

On the other hand, the MSM's beloved "straight-shooting maverick" St McCain has not distanced himself from extremist Pat Hagee--a man who has compared Catholicism to Satanism and who stated that Hurricane Katrina was God's vengeance on New Orleans (one can only wonder what Hagee's excuse was for the tornadoes that ripped through very conservative parts of Georgia over the weekend.) In fact, McCain has shared the stage with Hagee at political events.

Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell both said America "deserved" the 9/11 attacks. Neither man ever retracted that claim but McCain sucked up to Falwell before he died (and the MSM's other annointed "saint" Rudy Giuliani proudly accepted Robertson's endorsement for President).

Falwell and Robertson are not alone in blaming America for the 9/11 attacks. Republican Senator James Imhofe argued--on the Senate floor no less--that the US deserved the 9/11 attacks because the US pressured Israel to give away parts of the West Bank. Yet I have yet to hear of John McCain or any other Republican being publicly chastised for not repudiating Imhofe's remarks.

Looking further back. In the late 1980's, Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer called for the violent overthrow of the US government because Roe v Wade was the law of the land. Rather than repudiate his statement, Schaeffer was the guest of honor at a luncheon hosted by then President George H. W. Bush and former Presidents Ford and Reagan both attended.

Wright's inflammatory positions are not reflected in Obama's personal behavior or policy positions. OTHOH, the rampant Middle East militarism of Bush, McCain, et al. is perfectly consistent with the most extreme views of Hagee, Robertson, et al. However the so-called "liberal" media has yet to apply the same standard to Republicans that they are currently applying to Obama.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

You don't understand, Dave. Mein Heir's thing is to call people liars. Obviously, he didn't even read the HuffPo article to which he linked.

Mein Heir's behavior is consistently that of an angry, uninformed, buffoon. And he's proud of it.

Take it easy on this unfortunate, afflicted human being.

Heir to the Throne said...

Are Pat Hagee, Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, John McCain's pastor and Spiritual Mentor?
BTW, BHO has defended Jeremiah Wright
by calling the videos of Jeremiah Wright's inflammatory speeches Cherry-picked and a caricature.
That said I heard Olbermann call Bill Kristol a liar for being wrong, so I am applying the same standard to him.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Good thing Imus did not say what Rev. Wright said. Man the outcry that would have been on this blog. So Obama gives a speech and admits he heard what Wright said. Two days ago he said he never heard a word of it. And yet he still belongs to this church. Do any other candidates belong to churches where white supremists preach? Even Oprah has abaondoned Obama. She is now too busy to campaign for him. You Obama supporters have been outed. But the best part is watching you make excuses for him. LOL LOL LOL Be a liberal and elect a bigot.

Anonymous said...

John K. also says: Yep Obama was in Miami later in the day, but that morning he was in church with the Rev. Wright. Nodding his head up and down. Now I am sure Olbermouth will say Obama was nodding his head up and down because he had fallen asleep in church and who among us have not done that. LOL LOL LOL Do I know you loony lefties or what. Obama is a racist liar and you lefties support him.

"Fair and Balanced" Dave said...

A cry of desperation is heard emanating from the throne room of Outer Wingnuttia:

Are Pat Hagee, Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, John McCain's pastor and Spiritual Mentor?

No mein herr, this is St McCain's "spiritual adviser"

Meanwhile, John McCain has a Christian ally of his own. At a rally in late February, McCain appeared with Rod Parsley, the pastor of an Ohio mega-church, and called him a “spiritual guide.”

Parsley has his own history of controversial statements. As David Corn reported this week for Mother Jones, Parsley has called for Christians to wage war against the “false religion” of Islam, in order to destroy it. He does not distinguish between Islamic extremists and ordinary Muslims. “What some call ‘extremists’ are instead mainstream believers who are drawing from the well at the very heart of Islam,” he has written.

And it’s not just Muslims he’s got it in for. Last year, Parsley’s organization called for people who commit adultery to be prosecuted, and in January he compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazis.

Anonymous said...

A prayer to the god of politics: Please, please let the Fringe Right try to defeat Obama on grounds such as these. Please, please let them continue to bleat about Wright while Hagee calls Catholics whores. Please, please let them lie about where Obama was while McCain goes to Iraq and can't even visit the market that he bragged about just a year ago. Please, please let them continue to base their campaigns on lies, anger, and fear. Don't remind them how well it worked in '06. Please?

Anonymous said...

Snark all you want, people, Barack Hussein Obama just delivered a speech of almost (if not outright) historical import. The louder you on the right sqauck and attack him, the stronger you make him. As for your venom, well, you're doing the left's work for them (us) by reminding everyone that after 8 years of pointless war, economic stagnation, and a worldwide loss of influence and power that all you have left is anger, finger-pointing, and hysterical, unhinged rhetoric. Well done!

- Shawn

Anonymous said...

John K. says: No, actually what Obama's speech did was spin control. On Friday, Obama said he never heard any of those comments. And, as Juan Williams pointed out, he had painted himself into a corner. And of course that did not fly at all. So today he admitted he did hear those phrases spoken by Rev. Wright. Spin control they call it. Olbermouth said he couldn't have been in church nodding his head because he was in Miami. Yah, later in the evening. This was not a great speech it was typical liberal blackmail. Obama said if you keep playing this sermon then his toadies, that means you Shawn, will start calling people racists. Oh yah, count on it, we will keep playing his sermons. After all, Obama is so profoundly disturbed by these sermons that he had Rev. Wright as his campaign advisor. You left wing kooks are in a corner. You hitched to a liberal who has nothing but anger toward America. Remember left wing kooks, Oprah bailed on both Wright and now Obama. We will keep playing those sermons. LOL LOL And contrasting how Obama said he never heard them. Osama Obama Bin laden the man.

discerningdem said...



In a March 17 discussion thread on the conservative website FreeRepublic, someone who claimed to be the author of the August 9, 2007, Newsmax article defended the piece, claiming: "I did see Barack Obama that day. I said so in the article, and I'm saying so now." The poster, Philo1962, wrote further: "Now, after everyone's memory has faded, my notes have been taken to some landfill and there has been plenty of time to doctor the videos and the websites, the Obama campaign tries to deny he was there?"


(Clarification:)Obama Attended Hate America Sermon
Posted by Philo1962 to deport; jveritas; GraniteStateConservative; weegee; potlatch; devolve; sirchtruth; Lancey Howard; ..
On News/Activism 03/18/2008 3:56:05 AM PDT • 121 of 127
If I had tried to get a camera inside that church, I would have been thrown out. I was lucky to smuggle in a little notepad in my pocket. As you might imagine, I have had a lot of phone calls lately. People want me on their radio talk shows and I got a call from one of Bill Kristol’s staff members at the Weekly Standard.
Here are the facts.
The early morning service started at 7:15 AM. It happened as I described it in the Newsmax article. The listing on the church website has the early morning and evening speakers switched around. It was Jeremiah Wright in the morning, not Anthony Burnette. And it was Burnette in the evening, not Wright.
They hustled Obama out the door at 8:15 AM. With a police escort and cross traffic blocked at every stop light, it’s no problem getting to Midway Airport in 20 minutes. The private jet was undoubtedly waiting with engines running. Presidential candidates don’t stand in line at the airport like the rest of us.
The Obama campaign has confirmed that Obama’s plane was wheels up and flying out of Chicago at 8:50 AM. At 550 MPH it’s just over two hours to Miami. Let’s call it three for the sake of argument.
This link confirms that Obama arrived 20 minutes late, at 1:50 PM Miami time (12:50 PM Chicago time).
Do the math, everybody. You have every right to ask these questions. Now I’ve answered them. If that isn’t enough, take a hike.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: NOBODY IS LOOKING AT MY PEE-PEE! WAAAAAH! WAAAAAH! Please look at me! I'm special! My pee-pee is special! Lookie! Lookie!

Heir to the Throne said...

C&L has the Olbermann Worst person in the world

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for March 17

But the winner, Bill Keller, the managing editor of the “New York Times.” This morning‘s column from the increasingly amateurish William Kristol reported that despite his claims that he was elsewhere, Senator Obama was in the pews at Chicago‘s Trinity Church last July 22nd when Reverend Wright blamed the, quote, arrogance of the U.S. for a lot of global suffering.

It turns out Obama was in Miami, Florida on July 22nd. The Obama camp refuted the Obama was in the audience claim yesterday, but the Times printed Kristol‘s article today anyway

I await the defense that KO did not say that BHO was not in Chicago but he was in Miami which is true.

Then why say "It turns out Obama was in Miami, Florida on July 22nd." if not to mislead the viewers?

Anonymous said...

Well, let's see. Senator Obama stood up today and said, among other things, that yes he knows Rev. Wright, but no he does not agree with many of the things that man says. In fact, he condemned them and then said that despite that he still counts the man as a friend. The subtext being that we all know people for whom we care but with whom we disagree greatly and cannot but help shake our heads when they say some things. I think John McCain said that he stood by John Hagee in spite of the things that Reverend said. So, he and Barack have loyalty and the ability to make nuanced judgements about their friends and peers in common. Good for them both.

As for the rest of the speech, well, it's something of a Rorschach test, isn't it? I heard a very complex, very empathetic, very adult speech about race and race relations in this country. I also wondered how we're supposed to bell this cat, but maybe that's the next step. Time will tell. In short, I saw someone running as a politician who didn't just spoon-feed the public - and his partisans especially - the same rhetoric they (we) are used to getting. This reminded me of why I liked the guy to begin with. By giving us more than a few convenient, comforting soundbites he showed real leadership to me. Is this being a toadie (toady? todash?). But at least I'm following someone who has something to offer besides anger and finger-pointing. That's what I saw and heard in that speech.

Now, as for you, Johh, I don't recall calling you or anyone else a racist. I did say that many on the right, you included, have reacted with great, unhinged anger. On that count, let me clarify: Maybe this springs from bigotry, maybe it doesn't; I don't know. What I do know is a cynical attempt to by many on the right to stoke this fire becuase it's all they've got. The vehemence of you and yours has at least as much to do with fear as it does outrage. The racial grudges and ill will that sprang from the civil rights movement has been exploited for political gain time and again. A classic case being Bush the Elder with Willie Horton. Jesse Jackson's done it, too (e.g. his "Hymietown" crack). Both right and left have had factions that have made their political coin on this cycle of recrimination for years. And now comes a guy who's trying to move past that, however imperfectly. The difference is is that many on the right sense the country shifting back towards the center and feel their frustration rising. So what do the Limbaughs of this country do? They fall back on the old accuasations of bigotry against whites becuase that's all they really have left this election cycle. The idea of someone taking that from them, this, their last hope of any lasting political success at the national level, terrifies them. It should. And I suspect that it scares you, too, John. That's why you can't help with the "Obama Osama" cracks. Like I said, keep up with the name calling and obssessing over "wheels up" in the coming months. This angry fixation will only frighten centrist voters away from the Repbulican party in general and John McCain in particular. And if nothing else, Barack Obama knows this, too. It wasn't just a great speech about the state of our contry's sould, it was also samrt politics. Sometimes nice guys do finish first.

Hail to the Chief, baby!

- Shawn

Anonymous said...

I am continually surprised by people's inability to listen. Senator Obama acknowledged hearing controvertial statements, but he heard nothing as controvertial as the THREE statements that have been flung all over our airwaves and our internet.

Please listen. Listening doesn't mean you have to support Senator Obama. I do have to wonder why so many continue to refuse to hear -- could it be that inspiration is a great deal more important to everyone that Senator Obama's opponents want to acknowledge?
--Kim (disclosure-- white woman over 40, lives three blocks from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA

Anonymous said...

yes, it was a thoughtful and passionate speech. Obama should lead. But he doesn't. He would stop this anger by teaching forgveness. Whites, the ones I know, and some have interracial marriages, are stunned by the hate coming at them. How much more can we do? The best speech I have ever heard was from Bill Cosby. Blacks must stop believing that we are the source of their problems. Every race in Amerca have had some sort of opression, but they get past their anger and look to opportunities. Obama needs to stand in a black pulpit and lead his congregation away from historic memory, blame and hate. Take the opportunities that decent white's are allowing and stop blaming slavery from hundreds of years ago for the suffering that you now wallow in.

Anonymous said...

well, I just read my post and I am sure that someone will pick up on what I said about "whites are now allowing". Yes we do allow, as opposed to having legislated against. Give us a break. Terminology fails me, because I have no prejudice against skin color, but I really, really dislike being blamed for the condition some people choose to live in.

Anonymous said...

Hell I don't see anything racist about you saying white people allow etc etc. It's kind of like saying white people allowed black people to sit at the back of the bus or white people allowed black people to drink out of their own water fountain or white people allowing black people to watch crosses burn in there yards. You must be a civil rights activist.I think I'll name you the Florence Nightengale of racists.

infinonymous said...

Don't sell yourself short, Judge Smails. You're a tremendous racist.

And not a smooth one. If you can't recognize it, you just plain don't know what you don't know.

Anonymous said...

I do hope and pray we will let Obama have this win. It's a Histerical moment we will be paying for the next 100 years if we whites hold the poor black man down again. I hope you realize he will have to have a special water fountain now. But he can sit up front on our bus.

Anonymous said...

The story goes that the reason Rosa wanted to sit up front on the bus was her fear of the nasty Gang-bangers in the back.

Maria said...

I'd delete the above comment but I think it should stand as is as a monument to stupidity and hate.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Maria for not deleating my comments. It was not meant as a hate speach, it was meant to be a mirror for the hatred I feel coming at me. I'm sick of it! Sit where you want, drink, eat and enjoy this life. You have earned it through hard work. The same as I have. But don't excuse those who havn't earned it.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

He's talking about them lazy, shif'less niggers, Maria.

Damn that Lincoln! Back in the good ol' days boys like that there Obama knew their place -- and it sure ain't runnin' for President. Emptyin' bedpans is more like it.