The techno-lynching of Sen. Barack Obama

Campaign Notes

Obama-family-050308-at-Indianapolis-HS-3, The techno-lynching of Sen. Barack Obama, Archives 1976-2008 National News & Views
The Obama family, shown here at a high school in Indiana May 3, seems to be weathering the storm … and even enjoying it.

by CC Campbell-Rock

“Your honor, we find the defendant guilty of guilt by association with his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and sentence him to hang in the sidelines, without blue collar votes, until either Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. John McCain becomes the president of the United States of America.”

While corporate media have not really held this hypothetical trial, their actions speak volumes about their agenda to keep a person of color out of the “White House” and about how institutionalized racism in the most powerful industry can destroy any chance that America has to transcend race.

Even Stevie Wonder can see that the media is carrying out a nasty techno-lynching of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama based on the comments of his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Rev. Wright’s Black liberation theories and sermons apparently have angered many in media decision-making positions and so-called “blue collar whites in rural America.” 

It’s true that the electronic media and 24-hour news cycle have made it possible to report on the same story for several days, and, as the story grows legs, so does the number of reports.

But when it comes to Rev. Wright, who has obviously said some things that have raised the ire of whites, predominately white media gatekeepers and pundits have apparently decided, as the slave owners of old did, to whip Sen. Obama, to hold him accountable for Rev. Wright’s words, and to punish him by endlessly looping Wright’s comments about “God damn America” and making subtle demands that Obama repudiate and “divorce” Rev. Wright.

Even after Obama “divorced” Rev. Wright, undercover racists, aka respectable journalists, asked, “Is it enough? Is it too late?” Pat Buchanan, the avowed Republican strategist and Ronald Reagan press secretary, said, “Obama is simply not credible. How in the world could he sit in that church for 20 years and not know about Wright? He can’t close the deal.” 

Buchanan also said that Barack Obama can’t seem to go into rural America and just sit down with those people and have fun. Maybe Buchanan thought Hillary Clinton’s knocking back a beer and a shot of Crown Royal proved that she is not an elitist. 

Spinning it with different words, the pundits are all saying the same thing and insinuating that Obama is lying about his disenchantment and disappointment with Wright. 

Moreover, major media are the talking heads for Hillary – like the pundits on MSNBClinton and Clinton News Network (CNN), who have been reporting on Rev. Wright’s sermons for the past five weeks. Wolf Blitzer was a major reporter in the White House press corps and he clearly has drunk the Clinton haterade. Most are creating reports straight out of Clinton press releases.

They are taking her campaign’s criticisms of Obama and reporting them as if they are valid. Among them are the electability issue, Obama’s alleged lack of experience and judgment and the Wright controversy. Every time the Clinton campaign throws a kitchen sink at Obama, the major media amplify it as if it were a legitimate issue to look into.

Another classic example was the ABC debate/ attack. Who could have missed the smug smile on Clinton’s face as her husband’s former press secretary George Stephanopolous and Charles Gibson used 45 minutes to nail Obama to the cross over Wright’s comments. It was a total set-up. Then Clinton had the absolute nerve to challenge Obama to another debate, “without moderators,” if he doesn’t want to answer hard questions from moderators, she intimated. 

The MSNBC exception is Keith Olbermann and CNN’s Jack Cafferty, both of whom obviously are fond of doing their investigative homework and of telling the truth. 

Clearly no one in their right mind would choose four more years of Bush, a la Sen. John McCain, not even rabid racists in the media. So, fearing a Black in the White House, they are doing everything they can to assassinate Barack Obama’s character. 

Never mind that he is a man of integrity, honesty, truth and a statesman. Never mind that he graduated magnum cum laude from Harvard Law School or that he was a grassroots organizer or that he was a constitutional law professor for 10 years. Never mind that he is a dedicated father and husband. And never mind that he is biracial, half-white. That 3/5 human thing, that one drop of Black blood rule, still reigns supreme in the minds of white supremacists and those who are infected with white superiority. 

Even worse, though, are the Johnnies-come-lately, the instant Black pundits, those who have only been hired, because an African-American is running and to disguise the institutional racism that permeates major media. There they are, with few exceptions, echoing their major media colleagues: “Rev. Wright really hurt Obama,” “He should show that he is tougher,” “He may not be able to overcome the Wright controversy.” 

As the Wright controversy dies down, the other mantra has reared its head again: “Why can’t he close the deal?” 

But more telling than their own insinuations, major media’s undercurrent of institutional racism is evident in the fact that they are not riding down on Hillary Clinton’s religion, the Methodists, who have no problem discriminating against gays, nor are they endlessly looping John McCain’s endorsement by Pastor John Hagee, the popular televangelist who called the Roman Catholic Church “the great whore” and said God punished New Orleans with Katrina because “There was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades.”

CC-Campbell-Rock-NOLA-housing-rally-in-Oakland-121407-1, The techno-lynching of Sen. Barack Obama, Archives 1976-2008 National News & Views
NOLA housing rally in Oakland. Photo – CC Campbell-Rock

Then, after five weeks of National Wright Network reports (Fox News Network), along with dozens of pundits attacking Obama’s judgment, they turn around and ask, “Why has he fallen behind?” “Why can’t he win over blue collar voters and rural voters (white, less educated voters)?” 

The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of Americans, Black, white, brown, red and yellow, clearly have no problem with voting for an African-American for president. Sadly, corporate media does.

CC Campbell-Rock, a native New Orleanian, veteran journalist and Katrina survivor, is writing Campaign Notes to inform and stimulate discussion as Bay View readers get ready for the November election. Email her at