Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin, Jeremiah Wright and the conservative media

There's a great article in the Monthly Review entitled Jeremiah Wright in the propaganda system. I really recommend reading it, if only for the fun coverage facts with Wright vs. other extreme and controversial preachers and how the media treats them (take a look at the table following).

This raises an interesting question because Palin is extremely religious and asserts that her political views are "God's will". Take this speech, for example; Palin is at her old Church and asserts, among other things that "God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that Gas Line built" and that "our national leaders are sending [our soldiers] on a task that is from God". Where's the coverage here? Where's the controversy from those statements? I guess as long as it's not a liberal African American saying it, it's not that bad.

Update: Watch This.


David Peterson said...


Thanks for the favorable mention. ("Sarah Palin, Jeremiah Wright, and the conservative media," September 3: .)

The differential treatment between Jeremiah Wright, on the one hand, and the three establishment-oriented preachers, on the other, may or may not extrapolate to the esteemed Governor of the State of Alaska -- but the thought raises some interesting questions. No doubt about it.

But I believe that the bottom-line turns not on whether somebody believes or expresses something that we can fairly describe as false or even whacked-out.

Rather, the bottom-line -- and one that we use to organize our analysis -- turns on whether or not these beliefs and expressions (a) enhance American Power, (b) are irrelevant to American Power, or (c) are critical of and subversive or threatening towards American Power. (The term 'American Power' regarded in its totality. Or, to repeat Jeremiah Wright's phrase from his first post-9/11 sermon, the 500-year-old, white-European system of "colonialism, racism, and slavery" in which all of us are implicated.)

In some important respects, Jeremiah Wright's work as a preacher falls more into Category C, whereas that of the three Republican Party preachers falls into some combination of Category A and B.

Presumably, far more of Sarah Palin's work falls into the same categories as do the three Republican preachers, than it does into Jeremiah Wright's.

It is the disgrace of the national political system in the United States -- and nothing short of tragic for the people of this country -- that this is also true of John McCain, Barack Obama, and Joseph Biden as well.


David Peterson
Chicago, USA

Jonathan Cunningham said...


I'd be very curious to find out whether religious dissension from American policies that lay outside of the system of "colonialism, racism, and slavery" gets the same treatment in the media as the dissension of policies described by "American Power". A hypothetical example would be a fanatical group that promotes not using medicine on children; outside of the realm of American Power, but would it receive the same critical eye from the media that Jeremiah Wright's comments did?

David Peterson said...


About your question -- how might the national media treat a "fanatical group that promotes not using medicine on children; outside of the realm of American Power, but would it receive the same critical eye from the media that Jeremiah Wright's comments did" -- it depends on whether this group ran afoul of U.S. law and eventually the police, ATF, FBI, and the like. For example, the Federal Government's violent and bloody raids on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas (1993); and the State of Texas' removal of over 400 children from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints compound in El Dorado Texas earlier this year. These religious figures were treated harshly overall (though I'm not making precise claims about how harshly, please note well). But they wound up in political conflicts with law-enforcement for alleged criminal violations. This strikes me as something quite apart from the reasons for the harsh treatment that figures with relationships to Barack Obama have had to endure in 2008 -- often tenuous, such as William Ayers, and tenuous-in-the- extreme, such as Louis Farrakhan.

An additional factor to take into account (as we did) were the ties that exist between the respective religious figures (the Preacher Set) and the other figures within the national political establishment (the Political Set): These ties cannot be found in the two major State-Religious Sect conflicts I've just mentioned.

But let us not forget that we already have one very good example that answers your question: The differential treatment meted out to Jeremiah Wright, on the one hand, and to John Hagee, Rod Parsley, and Pat Robertson (et al.), on the other. Both John McCain and Barack Obama have many people in their pasts and working on behalf of their political campaigns who are advocates for American Power, for the State of Israel, and who couldn't care less about challenging the 500-year-old, white-European system of "colonialism, racism, and slavery."

And we know that one man in particular was dragged through the U.S. propaganda system in 2008.

We believe that we've put up a cogent explanation for the evidence.

David Peterson
Chicago, USA