Fox & Friends' Kilmeade distorted Wright's reference to Obama's middle name

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Fox & Friends aired a clip of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, saying at an NAACP event: "Please run and tell my stuck-on-stupid friends that Arabic is a language; it's not a religion. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama." Correspondent Steve Brown reported that Wright "was actually mocking the people who use Obama's full name to be divisive or derisive." Nevertheless, in later segments, Fox & Friends aired only Wright reciting "Barack Hussein Obama." Co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced one segment by saying, "He's back, and he's still supporting Barack Hussein Obama."

During the April 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, correspondent Steve Brown reported on retired Trinity United Church of Christ Rev. Jeremiah Wright's April 27 address to the NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner in which Wright said, "Please run and tell my stuck-on-stupid friends that Arabic is a language; it's not a religion. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama." After broadcasting a portion of Wright's speech, co-host Gretchen Carlson asserted: "I guess a lot of people are still wondering, though, why he would even utter that phrase over and over again because, as we all know, that's what's going to be played all day today and all day tomorrow. And it's not good for Barack Obama, quite frankly." Brown responded that Wright "was actually mocking the people who use Obama's full name to be divisive or derisive." Nonetheless, despite Brown's explanation and despite Brown's having aired the part of the quote that he did, during the next hour of the broadcast, Fox & Friends twice aired only Wright's recitation of "Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama," without the rest of what Brown had aired. At one point, co-host Brian Kilmeade asserted, "He's back, and he's still supporting Barack Hussein Obama."

Brown himself would have made the point more clearly that Wright was "mocking the people who use Obama's full name to be divisive or derisive" if he had aired Wright's full comments related to Obama's name. Wright said:

WRIGHT: Please run and tell my stuck-on-stupid friends that Arabic is a language; it's not a religion. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama. There are Arabic-speaking Christians, Arabic-speaking Jews, and Arabic speaking atheists. Arabic is a language; it's not a religion. Stop trying to scare folks by giving them an Arabic name as if it's some sort of a disease.

As Media Matters for America documented, during the February 27 edition of Fox & Friends, while discussing conservative radio host Bill Cunningham's repeated references to Obama's middle name at a rally for Sen. John McCain, Carlson asserted: "[T]he silent thing that nobody is really talking about here is the reason that he was saying the middle name so many times ... is because the connotation is that Barack Obama is a Muslim potentially. His father was a Muslim." Further, during the January 19, 2007, edition of Fox & Friends First, Doocy asked of Obama, "Why didn't anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised -- spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father -- as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?" as the blog Think Progress noted. As Media Matters documented, during the January 22, 2007, edition of Fox & Friends First, Doocy issued a clarification: "We want to clarify something: On Friday of last week, we did the story from the Insight magazine where we talked about how they were quoting that Barack Obama, when he was a child growing up in Indonesia, had attended a madrassa. Well, Mr. Obama's people called and they said that that is absolutely false. They said the idea that Barack Obama went to a radical Muslim school is completely ridiculous. In his book it does say that he went to a mostly Muslim school but not to a madrassa." As Media Matters has repeatedly documented, rumors that Obama is a Muslim are false; Obama is a Christian.

From the April 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: Looking forward to that, as well as continued conversation about Jeremiah Wright now. Changing his tone? Well, Barack Obama's controversial former minister urging racial understanding in a speech to the NAACP.

DOOCY: Steve Brown is live in Detroit, where Wright gave that speech last night. Good morning to you, Steve Brown.

BROWN: Good morning, Steve, Gretchen, Brian. Yeah, Wright delivered the speech if folks were thinking, "You know, well, it could be more of the same of what we saw a couple of weeks ago, snippets from prior sermons that he gave, which were controversial," those folks were probably pretty disappointed. Here is a portion of Wright's speech from last night, which kind of answered some of those critics.

WRIGHT [video clip]: Please run and tell my stuck-on-stupid friends that Arabic is a language; it's not a religion. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama.

BROWN: That was really as close to, you know, addressing the controversy as Wright got during his 40-minute speech last night here at the NAACP's Freedom Fund fundraising dinner.

CARLSON: Steve, it wasn't like, you know -- I guess we would know that he would have a sympathetic audience there. I guess a lot of people are still wondering, though, why he would even utter that phrase over and over again because, as we all know, that's what's going to be played all day today and all day tomorrow. And it's not good for Barack Obama, quite frankly.

BROWN: Well, and before -- as he said on the interview on PBS on Friday, talking about context -- context is important in that particular regard, because he was talking about folks who, you know, who look at things that are different and say that they are divisive. And he was making a point throughout the 40-minute speech about the difference between things just being different and things being divisive, and that was one of the things that he set upon. Almost certainly some folk also jump on that, but in the context, he was actually mocking the people who use Obama's full name to be --

CARLSON: Right

BROWN: -- divisive or derisive.

[...]

WRIGHT [video clip]: Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama.

KILMEADE: He's back, and he's still supporting Barack Hussein Obama, but is Obama still supporting his controversial former pastor? That'll be an interesting question to postulate.

[...]

WRIGHT [video clip]: Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama. Barack Hussein Obama.

DOOCY: There you have Reverend Wright at the NAACP convention in -- out in Detroit, and right now he is in the National Press Club building in downtown D.C. He's going to be speaking within the five or so minutes. So it will be interesting to see what Reverend Wright has to say today.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Brian Kilmeade
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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