Wolffe identifies "free ride" for McCain over Hagee

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On MSNBC, during a discussion of the focus on Sen. Barack Obama's relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright compared with that on Sen. John McCain's relationship with Pastor John Hagee, Newsweek's Richard Wolffe stated, "In some ways, John McCain is getting a free ride." Hagee has made controversial statements about Hurricane Katrina, women, homosexuality, the Catholic Church, and Islam.

On the April 30 edition of MSNBC's Race to the White House, during a discussion of the focus on Sen. Barack Obama's relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright compared with that on Sen. John McCain's relationship with Pastor John Hagee, Newsweek White House correspondent Richard Wolffe stated, "In some ways, John McCain is getting a free ride." Hagee, who has made controversial statements about Hurricane Katrina, women, homosexuality, the Catholic Church, and Islam, endorsed McCain at a February 27 rally with the candidate. On the April 20 edition of ABC's This Week, McCain stated that it was "probably" a mistake to solicit and accept Hagee's endorsement, but said, "I admire and respect Dr. Hagee's leadership of the -- of his church." And when asked if he no longer wanted Hagee's endorsement, McCain said, "I'm glad to have his endorsement."

During the Race to the White House segment, host David Gregory read an email from a viewer who wrote: "Now that Barack Obama has categorically separated himself from Reverend Wright, when can we expect John McCain to reject and denounce Pastor Hagee? If some people can't see that there is a blatant double standard going on here, I'm afraid that America will never be able to bridge the racial divide that still haunts our country." After reading the email, Gregory said to Wolffe, "[T]hat's Pastor Hagee, who has endorsed John McCain and has been very critical of the Catholic Church and has been called out on that." Wolffe replied, "And look, we've all heard evangelical ministers, white ministers, condemn America and damn America for abortions. And so, yeah, I don't think there's an equal balance of criticism and focus here. In some ways, John McCain is getting a free ride."

Media Matters for America has documented (here, here, here, here, and here) numerous examples of the disparity between the media's extensive coverage of controversial comments made by Wright and other supporters of Obama and their coverage of controversial comments made by Hagee and other supporters of McCain. Most recently, Media Matters documented that since Hagee endorsed McCain, The New York Times and The Washington Post combined have published more than 12 times as many articles mentioning Wright and Obama as they have mentioning Hagee and McCain.

From the April 30 edition of MSNBC's Race to the White House:

GREGORY: Let's move on to another email, Terri in Maryland, who writes the following: "Now that Barack Obama has categorically separated himself from Reverend Wright, when can we expect John McCain to reject and denounce Pastor Hagee? If some people can't see that there is a blatant double standard going on here, I'm afraid that America will never be able to bridge the racial divide that still haunts our country."

Richard Wolffe, that's Pastor Hagee, who has endorsed John McCain and has been very critical of the Catholic Church and has been called out on that.

WOLFFE: Absolutely. And look, we've all heard evangelical ministers, white ministers, condemn America and damn America for abortions. And so, yeah, I don't think there's an equal balance of criticism and focus here. In some ways, John McCain is getting a free ride. But of course, that doesn't take away from the offensive nature and the outrageousness of what Reverend Wright has said. But at some point, that scrutiny will come.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
David Gregory, Richard Wolffe
Show/Publication
Race to the White House
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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