Bill Moyers has an exclusive interview with Jeremiah Wright that will air tonight on PBS. It's Wright's first television interview since the controversy over his remarks, and In These Times has posted some excerpts from the transcript. Finally, an insightful conversation about the substance of the issue rather than another shallow reference to the "controversy"! I found this part particularly interesting:
The persons who have heard the entire sermon understand the communication perfectly.
When something is taken like a sound bite for a political purpose and put constantly over and over again, looped in the face of the public. That’s not a failure to communicate. Those who are doing that are communicating exactly what they want to do, which is to paint me as some sort of fanatic or as the learned journalist from the New York Times called me, a "wackadoodle."
It's to paint me as something: "Something's wrong with me. There's nothing wrong with this country…for its policies. We’re perfect. Our hands are free. Our hands have no blood on them.” That’s not a failure to communicate. The message that is being communicated by the sound bites is exactly what those pushing those sound bites want to communicate.
Indeed, I think the most disturbing element of the controversy over the Wright's remarks was that the journalists and networks rehashing it over and over again never attempted to address the fact that there were some very legitimate gripes included in there, however you may feel about his choice of words. The coverage instead became an opportunity for white America to feign outrage and pretend that there was absolutely no validity to what he said. It became about white America once again denying wrongdoing, while at the same time implying that black America is angry and unreasonable.
This part is good too:
BILL MOYERS: In the 20 years that you’ve been his pastor, have you ever heard him repeat any of your controversial statements as his opinion?
REVEREND WRIGHT: No. No. No. Absolutely not. I don’t talk to him about politics. And so he had a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.
Because yes, it is possible for some people to separate their political beliefs and their religious beliefs.