Right-wing media continue barrage of religious attacks against Obama

››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

On Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity again attacked President Obama over his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and guests Richard Miniter and Noelle Nikpour attacked Obama over devotional messages he receives, while earlier this week, right-wing blogs attacked Obama over his church attendance. These attacks follow repeated religion-based smears of Obama both during the 2008 presidential campaign and after he took office.

Media conservatives revive attacks on Obama's religion, church attendance

Hannity, panel invoked Rev. Wright, said Obama is "being politically correct" with his relationship with God. On his Fox News show, Hannity led a panel discussion of "devotional" emails Obama said he receives on his BlackBerry and stated, "Well, it looks like we might have a replacement for Jeremiah Wright." Hannity further said, "[I]f he ever says, 'G-D America' or 'America's chickens have come home to roost,' we won't know about it." Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers responded, "Why can't you let go of it? It's just like, it's just so long ago." During the discussion, author and journalist Richard Miniter stated, "Sean, the big question is, 'What are the other faiths?' Is he talking about Islam?" Minter went on to say, "It's kind of weird. Every president has had a personal relationship with God, and for him to say, 'Well, some days it's Buddha, some days it's Jesus.' It's kind of strange." Miniter later asked, "Why is he being politically correct on such an important relationship?" Republican strategist Noelle Nikpour stated, "This administration, especially Obama, when all the stuff came out with Reverend Wright, he was going to a radical church, and I think a lot of Americans want to see that he has picked a church home for his wife, for his children." [Fox News' Hannity, 2/3/10]

Fox Nation: "One Year Later, Obama Still Hasn't Found a Church." A February 1 Fox Nation headline stated, "1 Year Later, Obama Still Hasn't Found a Church." The headline linked to an ABCNews.com article that reported that "[t]he first family, once regular churchgoers, have publicly attended services in Washington just three times in the past year."

Big Journalism asked, "What's so hard about finding a church?" and invoked Wright. A January 31 post at Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism website linked to the ABC article and stated: "More than a year after he arrived in Washington, President Obama, amazingly, has not yet been able to find a church. You really can't make this stuff up." The post further stated, "What's so hard about finding a church?" adding, "maybe the reason he hasn't found a church is that he's having a hard time finding a speaker as imbued with the true spirit of Christianity as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright."

NewsBusters' Graham also invoked Wright to attack Obama over church attendance. In a NewsBusters post criticizing the ABC article, Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the Media Research Center, wrote: "No one in the ABC piece is allowed to question if Obama now has a phobia about church attendance due to his 20-year membership in the church of radical-left Rev. Jeremiah Wright." Graham further stated: "It's certainly true that other presidents haven't attended a church on 52 Sundays a year. But Obama's long relationship with the poisonous Rev. Wright makes him a unique case."

Media have repeatedly attacked Obama over Wright, church attendance

Hannity, conservative media frequently attack Obama for relationship with Wright. Hannity -- who claimed he "broke the story" about Wright during the 2008 campaign -- has mentioned Wright on dozens of different episodes of his Fox News show since Obama's inauguration. In addition to Hannity, numerous other conservative media figures have used Obama's relationship with Wright or his attendance at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Wright previously was the pastor, in order to attack Obama. These media figures include Brit Hume, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Tucker Carlson, and Burt Prelutsky.

Conservative media frequently attack Obama over church attendance. Conservative media figures including Fox News' Gretchen Carlson, Politico, and syndicated radio host Rose Tennent have used Obama's church attendance to attack him. On the August 20, 2009, edition of Fox & Friends, Carlson stated that "it's a little disingenuous to call on religious leaders when, in fact, you have not chosen a church yet and you're the president of the United States." The following day, Carlson asserted, "[T]here are so many interesting things to discuss about this, because some people were saying yesterday, well, President Obama has not found a church yet -- I think he was going to attend at Camp David potentially -- but for somebody to be now invoking religion when it hasn't been what appears to be a huge part of your life is also an issue." Politico, Tennent, and Fox News compared Obama's attendance at church to the frequency of his gym visits, with Hume stating that Obama had "been seen dropping off his daughters at school, taking his wife out to dinner, and frequenting a gym in Chicago. But one location Mr. Obama has not been photographed at is church." An on-screen graphic that appeared during the segment read "Fit or Faithful":

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