On CNN's Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz has devoted a total of approximately 18 minutes to the controversy surrounding remarks made by Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In contrast, Kurtz has led only brief discussions on two religious figures who have endorsed Sen. John McCain and who have made controversial comments -- a single two-minute discussion on Rev. John Hagee and only seven seconds on Rev. Rod Parsley.
During the March 23 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, host Howard Kurtz led a discussion lasting approximately 11 minutes on the topic of the controversy surrounding Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The previous week, Kurtz and his guests devoted seven minutes to discussing the controversy. During the March 23 edition, guest and conservative radio talk-show host Michael Medved claimed that "[i]f a white pastor had made the comments that Jeremiah Wright had made, people would have been equally indignant. ... I think people are so eager in this country to welcome a credible, strong, articulate, enormously talented black presidential candidate that he has gotten much lighter treatment than either [Sen. John] McCain or [Sen. Hillary] Clinton." Kurtz did not challenge Medved's comment. In fact, Rev. John Hagee, whose endorsement McCain has embraced, said of Hurricane Katrina after referencing reports of a gay pride parade scheduled in New Orleans for the day the hurricane hit the city: “I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.” Notwithstanding controversial comments on a variety of topics, Kurtz has devoted a total of two minutes to Hagee and much less -- seven seconds -- to McCain endorser Rev. Rod Parsley, who has described Islam as a “false religion.”
As Media Matters for America has noted, McCain stated in a joint appearance with Hagee: “All I can tell you is I'm very proud to have Pastor Hagee's support.” And in an interview with New York Times reporter Deborah Solomon, Hagee stated that “McCain's campaign sought my endorsement.” Additionally, McCain reportedly called Parsley a “spiritual guide” during a Cincinnati campaign rally at which Parsley appeared on McCain's behalf.
During the March 9 edition of Reliable Sources, Kurtz brought up Hagee at the end of a discussion with author and political analyst Keli Goff and National Review Online editor-at-large and conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg. The three had been discussing the media coverage of Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. Kurtz said, “Let me move on to John McCain, now the Republican nominee, all but official. He accepted an endorsement from the Reverend John Hagee. Now, Hagee has been attacked by the Catholic League as a bigot. In the past, he has called the church 'antichrist' and a 'false cult.' ” Kurtz then aired McCain saying: “When he endorses me, it does not mean that I embrace everything that he stands for and believes in. And I am very proud of Pastor John Hagee's spiritual leadership to thousands of people.” He then began a discussion by asking Goff, "[W]hy hasn't that been more of a story?" During the discussion, Goldberg stated that Hagee should be compared “to Jeremiah Wright, who is Obama's pastor, who Obama has deep and abiding ties with, who is a -- who's been closely associated with [Nation of Islam leader Louis] Farrakhan and has some very disturbing views.” Goldberg added: “And if McCain is going to reject this guy who he clearly doesn't know and get into all this kind of trouble for it, I think the comparison with Wright, who is very close to Obama, that hasn't been explored very much at all.” Kurtz replied: “And who's made some inflammatory statements.” The discussion about Hagee lasted two minutes.
Though Kurtz referenced criticism of Hagee by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Kurtz did not mention Hagee's comments about Katrina, or other inflammatory comments he has made. Of Katrina, he said:
All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that 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. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.
Of Parsley, Kurtz stated on the March 16 Reliable Sources: “John McCain has a pastor who's endorsed him, Rod Parsley, who has criticized Islam as a 'false religion.' Not much media attention there.” Kurtz then asked guest and nationally syndicated conservative columnist and National Review Online contributing editor Deroy Murdock: “So in the case of Obama and Jeremiah Wright, do you think there's a certain media reluctance here either to criticize Obama or to go after a black minister?” The seven-second mention of Parsley has been the full extent of Kurtz's coverage. Moreover, in the context of calling Islam a “false religion,” Parsley asserted: “The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore.” Additionally, Parsley wrote in his book Silent No More (Charisma House, 2005): “Besides the fact that gay socializing revolves around the bar scene -- with its incumbent drinking, drugs, and late-night carousing -- gay sexuality inevitably involves brutal physical abusiveness and the unnatural imposition of alien substances into internal organs, orally and anally, that inevitably suppress the immune system and heighten susceptibility to disease” (Page 74).
Reliable Sources' coverage of Wright
On the March 16 broadcast, Kurtz conducted a discussion of Wright with panelists Murdock, liberal radio host Ed Schultz, and CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger. Introducing the segment, Kurtz said: “It's been clear for some time that Barack Obama's pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, is a controversial guy. But I didn't realize just how inflammatory and racially divisive the reverend could be until this week, when Fox News and ABC obtained videos of some of Wright's sermons.” Kurtz aired video of Wrights remarks, and spent approximately seven minutes discussing Wright's comments with Murdock, Schultz, and Borger.
During the March 23 Reliable Sources, Kurtz led another discussion about Wright with CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts, St. Petersburg Times media critic Eric Deggans, and Medved. Kurtz quoted some of Wright's controversial remarks, and the segment lasted approximately 11 minutes. Kurtz has devoted a total of 18 minutes to the Wright controversy.
From the March 23 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
KURTZ: Joining us now to talk about race, the media, and the campaign, in New York, Byron Pitts, national correspondent for CBS News; in Tampa, Eric Deggans, media critic for the St. Petersburg Times; and in Seattle, Michael Medved, host of The Michael Medved Show on the Salem Radio Network.
Byron Pitts, as a black journalist who just came from church this Easter morning, do you look at this furor over Jeremiah Wright's remarks differently than white journalists? Are you less offended, perhaps?
PITTS: Oh, I think so. I mean, I've been black for 47 years; I was baptized in the Baptist church when I was 12 years old. And so what Reverend Wright said why -- much of why it was offensive, those are comments I've heard in church before. And I'm mindful of the context, that I think many of my colleagues who are white, they don't have that context.
Like, I was just looking at the clip you showed. All those commentators, all those reporters, were white. They have a different life experience. They have a different context. And I think this story speaks to the lack of diversity in major news organizations, that you have people speaking from a position of ignorance, because they don't understand the black church, that can't bring the context that we as journalists are supposed to bring to a news event.
KURTZ: A good point about diversity, but in one of your reports this week, you said that critics have called Reverend Wright's sermons anti-American -- that critics have called them. I mean, this is a guy who said --
KURTZ: -- “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genociding his people of color,” who said, “God damn America,” who said, “U.S. of KKK-A.” Why push it off on critics?
PITTS: Well, I think there's some people -- I mean, I think there's some people who have the position that they disagree with much of what Reverend Wright said, but for some people, there is some basis of truth. I mean, I'm mindful of, you know, during Hurricane Katrina, there were people initially in that community who thought maybe the government had blown up the levee there, because, in fact, in New Orleans history, that in fact did happen.
For many people in black America, they remember how there's a time when our government injected black men with syphilis, I believe -- that those kinds of things occur.
PITTS: So one of the things I thought that Barack -- a point that he made in his speech is that -- how you have in the church, in the black church, there's this wealth of love, compassion, and truth, and some ignorance. And it is a world that if you're a pastor, that you have to navigate that world.
KURTZ: All right. Let me turn to Michael Medved. Put aside for a moment liberal and conservative reaction. A lot of mainstream journalists gave this speech very positive reviews. What did you make of that?
MEDVED: Well, you -- basically the -- all the response, whether it was from black people or white people, to this speech was either, “It is the greatest speech I've ever heard, it's phenomenal,” or people didn't deal with the content at all and just talked about it in horse-race terms -- does this help Barack or does it harm Barack?
It seems to me that it is appropriate to actually look at the real substance of the speech, because it changes Barack Obama's campaign in a fundamental way. Up till now, he has been running an enormously successful campaign because he has offered, in the terms of Shelby Steele, who wrote a book about this, a bargain to white America. It's basically, you can show that you are post-racial, that you are beyond racism, if you vote for me, I'll be sworn in as president, and then we can put this whole guilty, horrible past of racism behind us. Now he's taking the opposite point of view, saying, let's talk more about race.
I happen to believe that most white people, and maybe a very large segment of black people as well, do not welcome the idea of talking endlessly about race and picking the scab. And that is what Barack is now offering. He's changed the terms of the deal, and I think that's the substance that most of the media were missing.
KURTZ: All right, let me bring in Eric Deggans. Did you feel like -- a lot of stories in the papers this morning that we're having now, a somewhat intelligent conversation about racial difficulties? Or is this the usual, did it help him, did it hurt him, the usual sound-bite stuff?
DEGGANS: Well, I think the biggest problem that we have here is that people haven't actually looked at what Reverend Wright said. On my blog, The Feed, for the St. Petersburg Times, I've actually put up longer clips of the two controversial speeches, the 9-11 speech and the speech in which he said, you know, an expletive, “America.”
And when you see the actual sermons, you see that he's trying to make some very explosive points about America, but he's leading up to them in a way where those statements make a little more sense. And in fact, the “chickens coming home to roost” comment that he made about 9-11, he was quoting someone else. And the ABC News report that initially revealed this made it seem as if those were his words.
And you know, as much as I like Byron, you know, the reference to black men being injected with syphilis, what actually happened is that they had syphilis and they weren't treated for it by a government program. And I think one of the problems that we have in this debate is that journalists are not getting to the heart of what's actually going on here, taking a step back and really explaining these issues to the American people.
KURTZ: All right.
DEGGANS: What we're doing is taking the emotional part of it and constantly putting it before people in order to gin up a conversation that may be based on false assumptions.
KURTZ: Let me broaden the discussion a little bit, Byron Pitts. When Senator Obama talks about media coverage of race often being reduced to O.J. spectacles and the Katrina fallout, and you made the point just a couple of moments ago about it is still a white-dominated business, does he have a point? Have we fallen short? You know, this speech aside, have we fallen short in dealing with this important subject in American life?
PITTS: Oh, I think so. I mean, I think it's -- because it's such a difficult subject to talk about. I mean, I think we in the mainstream media, we don't talk much about race; we don't talk much about religion. And so those are two topics that have come up in the last few weeks because of this controversy with Reverend Wright. They're difficult topics to talk about. So I think he was right. I think the -- at least the major networks this week, I think, made a legitimate effort to cover the issue. When Obama gave his speech, I know ABC, NBC, CBS all devoted about four minutes in their lead piece. And as you know, Howard, four minutes is a lot of time in a half-hour broadcast.
KURTZ: Yeah. Sure.
PITTS: And all the networks did a second piece. ABC did a piece about the black church. CBS, we had a roundtable discussion with three experts to talk about the issue. So I would agree, I think, that most often the mainstream news media falls short, but I think this week an effort was made to address the issues raised in this controversy between -- with Reverend Wright and Obama.
KURTZ: And some reporters questioned Barack Obama. Let's take a look at Terry Moran interviewing the senator on Nightline.
[begin video clip]
TERRY MORAN (Nightline co-anchor): If I went to a church where white supremacy was preached, what would you think of me?
OBAMA: Well, see, I disagree with you, though, Terry. That's not what's preached at Trinity.
[end video clip]
KURTZ: Michael Medved, the investigative reporting required to do this story basically involved going to the church gift shop and purchasing some of these sermons on DVD for, you know, $9.95 or whatever. Why in this whole more than a year of Obama's presidential candidacy did journalists not seek to do that until Fox News and ABC broke this story last week?
MEDVED: Well, I think that's a complicated question. And it also goes to basically the strategy here that it seems to me that Obama decided to follow with this speech.
Yes, I think it was a courageous speech in some ways, and yes -- I think -- but it was also an attempt to change the subject. Because the truth is that people responded indignantly to Reverend Wright not because he was black. It's not about race, it's not because of the racial outlook of the church, which very specifically defines itself as an Afro-centric church and emphasizes blackness, blackness, blackness.
They didn't respond to it that way. If a white pastor had made the comments that Jeremiah Wright had made, people would have been equally indignant.
So there was a decision that was made here to cover this as a racial issue, and it seems to me that this goes to the bigger point, which is that from the time he's announced his campaign, Barack Obama has had kid-gloves treatment. I think people are so eager in this country to welcome a credible, strong, articulate, enormously talented black presidential candidate that he has gotten much lighter treatment than either McCain or Clinton.
KURTZ: Pick up that point, Eric Deggans.
DEGGANS: I would have to -- again, I would have to disagree with Michael on that point. One of the things that struck me about this situation, for example, is that there were -- that the initial reports on this cherry-picked very controversial lines out of sermons that were 20 minutes long and 30 minutes long. And again, these initial reports did not present the full context of what the preacher was saying.
Secondly, I think this is very much a racial issue, because Reverend Wright has said what he said in a very explosive and aggressive way. But you go to black churches throughout the country and ask them if they believe that the government is mostly controlled by a culture that is oriented more towards white culture than black culture, and minimizes black people and harms black people as it minimizes them, and I think you'll find a lot of agreement. I think the problem here is that people need to have this discussion in a way that is calmer, and I think that's what Obama was talking about.
KURTZ: A little short on time.
DEGGANS: We need to talk about these issues in a way that's respectful of both sides. But to deny that race is at the heart of this, makes no sense at all.
KURTZ: I'm a little short on time.
MEDVED: I would just argue that any pastor who says from the pulpit -- who uses the “S” word, who makes a Sunday morning sermon sort of a parental advisory period, who says “G.D. America” repeatedly, I don't care what race you are. That is outrageous to people, and if you don't describe someone who curses America repeatedly from the pulpit as anti-American, then what is?
KURTZ: Byron, final comment?
DEGGANS: A, I would say you have to look at the actual sermon to see what's going on.
KURTZ: Eric, I've got to -- I've got to --
DEGGANS: And B, I would also say there are many white pastors who do the same thing in reference to abortion, for example.
MEDVED: No one who says “G.D. America” --
KURTZ: Can I get Byron in here for a brief comment?
PITTS: Sure. You know, it's funny. And listening to what Michael said, and said -- he listed Obama's traits. And while I would agree that this issue -- that race is on the table, one of his -- the attributes he listed for Obama is that he's articulate.
Now, I've been a journalist for about 25 years. I don't ever recall anyone describing a white politician as one of their attributes the fact that they are articulate. This is a guy who was editor of The Harvard Review, who taught constitutional law. And one of his attributes that people parade as one of his great strengths is the fact he's articulate. When President Bush ran for president --
PITTS: -- George W. Bush ran for president, no one said, well, he's a rich white guy, and so, therefore, rich white guys are going to vote for him. But because Obama is black --
KURTZ: I've got to break in here because I'm short on time.
From the March 16 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
KURTZ: It's been clear for some time that Barack Obama's pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, is a controversial guy. But I didn't realize just how inflammatory and racially divisive the reverend could be until this week, when Fox News and ABC obtained videos of some of Wright's sermons. In one case here, we've bleeped his use of the “N” word.
[begin video clip]
BILL O'REILLY (host of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor): Fox News has obtained portions of Reverend Wright's sermons that are anti-American, to say the least. Viewer warning -- some offensive material coming up.
WRIGHT: Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain't never been called a [bleep].
Governments lie. The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.
And they will not only attack you if you try to point out what's going on in white America, U.S. of KKK-A.
[end video clip]
KURTZ: Wright also said that white America got a wakeup call after 9-11.
Obama tried to dismiss the controversy with a tepid statement, but on Friday night he made the rounds of the cable networks to criticize, but not disavow, his longtime friend.
[begin video clip]
KEITH OLBERMANN (host of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann): Do you repudiate the man? Do you repudiate the comments? Do you repudiate both?
OBAMA: No, I would not repudiate the man.
I would describe it as a member of your family who does -- says something that you really disagree with.
ANDERSON COOPER (host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360): I mean, uncles are blood relatives who you're kind of stuck with at family gatherings, even when they say outrageous things.
OBAMA: As I said, Anderson, if I had heard any of these statements, I probably would have walked out, and I probably would have told Reverend Wright that they were wrong.
[end video clip]
KURTZ: Joining us now to talk about the coverage of race in the campaign, in New York, Deroy Murdock, syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard News Service and a contributing editor for National Review Online; here in Washington, Ed Schultz, host of the nationally syndicated radio program The Ed Schultz Show; and CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger.
Gloria, I thought Anderson Cooper did a good job of interviewing Obama on Friday night, but on Thursday -- and you were on the set at the time -- he said, well, we have to cover this, but it just feels completely off track. And he also was apologizing for it. Isn't this a legitimate story?
BORGER: I think it is a legitimate story. I think it really became a legitimate story when these sermons -- somebody went out -- talk about great investigative journalism, as you were saying earlier -- somebody went out and bought the DVD.
I think it becomes a legitimate story given the environment of identity politics now in which we're operating. And the fact that Gerry Ferraro made some comments that people thought were incendiary about Barack Obama, now you have the Reverend Wright. And I think Obama was probably a little late in getting out there and disavowing these statements.
KURTZ: But let's look at the media behavior, Ed Schultz. Fox News made a big deal about this on Thursday. CNN and MSNBC did it on some programs. On Friday, there was nothing in The Washington Post, nothing in the L.A. Times, nothing in USA Today. New York Times did an item. Some of them have now caught up. Isn't that the liberal media at work?
SCHULTZ: Well, the story is going to go on because conservative talk radio in America is not going to let this story die. So there's still plenty of time for, quote, “the mainstream media” to do the full vetting process of this.
KURTZ: What about liberal talk radio? Aren't you talking about it on your show?
SCHULTZ: Well, it looks like it could be the soft underbelly of the Barack Obama campaign. If he was in attendance at any of these sermons, it's going to be a problem for him. But so far, it doesn't look like the story has resonated too much across the country, because just last night in the conventions in Iowa and California, he picked up another 16 delegates.
KURTZ: All right.
Deroy Murdock, McCain -- John McCain has a pastor who's endorsed him, Rod Parsley, who has criticized Islam as a false religion. Not much media attention there. So in the case of Obama and Jeremiah Wright, do you think that there's a certain media reluctance here either to criticize Obama or to go after a black minister?
MURDOCK: I think there might have been some reluctance for the following reason -- we've seen rumors on the Internet, and all sort of chatter and gossip and so on, wondering whether or not Barack Obama is a Muslim, and was he perhaps trained in a madrassa when he grew up in Indonesia. And a lot -- that's been discredited. Those are not true.
And there may have been some hesitance to get into this story thinking, well, if we're not going to talk about his false Muslim background, maybe we should stay away completely from the whole question of what goes on in his church, what sort of religious faith is he involved in. As these videotapes have come out, as these comments have come out and been so completely incendiary -- the term “radical cleric” comes to mind -- it really came to the point where this no longer could be ignored, and I think this story will continue.
Obama, I think, has done a pretty good job of trying to get on top of this, writing something for The Huffington Post, going out on these TV interviews. But as long as that tape's around, they can play it over and over again, and not just the words, but seeing this man waving his hands around and looking kind of wound up, I think, keeps the story going.
KURTZ: Right. Had there not been videotape, even if we had the transcripts, I don't think the story would be as big as it's turning out to be. But now, Ed Schultz, this is not just the guy who happens to be the pastor of Obama's church in Chicago. I mean, this is a guy who presided at the wedding of Barack and Michelle Obama, baptized their daughters, longtime family friend, so that does naturally make journalists wonder, well, how much of this did Obama know and why has he been close to this guy?
SCHULTZ: How could he be in that church for 20 years and not at least have a sense of some of the sermons that he's given? If he was in attendance at some of those sermons, it's going to be a problem. That's the next angle, and that's where I think the media is going to go. In the meantime, Obama, I think, played the media very well, didn't let it get to a Swift Boat situation. He went out on all the networks on Friday, and he has an innate ability to kind of reduce the tension in the room. That's the attractiveness of this guy. But I do think it's not totally over.
KURTZ: Well, let me ask you this question, Gloria, because we'll talk about this in a moment with Gerry Ferraro as well. How much should journalists hold a presidential candidate accountable for ugly comments that are made by surrogates and supporters? There's been a whole string of these incidents, and most of them have been pretty big stories.
BORGER: Well, I think the answer to that is, honestly, it depends. I mean, I agree that now journalists are going to go out and find out when Barack Obama attended that church, what he was listening to at the time.
If incendiary comments like the one you just showed were said in sermons while he was there, if he did not object to them, what does that tell you about what Barack Obama believes? And it could say, gee, is Barack Obama as so-called unpatriotic as the Reverend Wright, and that could become a big issue in a presidential campaign.
KURTZ: So that makes the question, Deroy Murdock, you know, the old journalistic standby -- what did he know and when did he know it?
MURDOCK: That's a really serious question. If he attended this church for 20 years, did he just go at Christmas and Easter, or was he going there every Sunday? And depending on how often he went, did he actually hear these sort of things? Did he talk with his pastor about this to try to dissuade him from using this sort of language?
I think the reason that the racial -- going back to the Ferraro incident, the reason that these racial statements keep becoming newsworthy, isn't because journalists are hyping it up. It's because you have so many surrogates, particularly on team Clinton, who've been injecting these racial and religious questions going back to Bill Clinton, of course, in South Carolina, her chairman in New Hampshire who made some statements that some people consider racially insensitive.
And so team Clinton seems to be playing the race card over and over and over as one card after another after another falls down onto the green felt. And I think that's why these things are made newsworthy.
KURTZ: Well, let me get to that.
From the March 9 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
KURTZ: Well, there was all that fawning about the Oprah endorsement and the Ted Kennedy endorsement. Let me move on to John McCain, now the Republican nominee, all but official. He accepted an endorsement from the Reverend John Hagee. Now, Hagee has been attacked by the Catholic League as a bigot. In the past, he has called the church “antichrist” and a “false cult.” And let's listen to what John McCain had to say about that endorsement.
McCAIN [video clip]: When he endorses me, it does not mean that I embrace everything that he stands for and believes in. And I am very proud of Pastor John Hagee's spiritual leadership to thousands of people.
KURTZ: Keli Goff, why hasn't that been more of a story?
GOFF: I think the bigger story here is why didn't John McCain reject and denounce Pastor Hagee's remarks? You know, I just think it's really ironic here, because you have the comparison with Farrakhan, and Barack Obama sort of wasn't allowed to have it both ways and say, “Look, he's done some great things, and I think his supporters are nice people; I don't agree with everything that he says.” And yet you're completely correct that I think the media sort of fell asleep at the wheel on this one in terms of letting, you know, John McCain have a little wiggle room. I don't know if it's because Hagee is less well-known than people like [Pat] Robertson or [James] Dobson, but I definitely think the media sort of fell asleep on this one.
GOLDBERG: I think there's some fairness to that. I think that McCain probably had some bad staff work in how this thing was rolled out -- this endorsement was rolled out. But I do think the better comparison isn't to Farrakhan, which a lot of people will want to make. It's to Jeremiah Wright, who is Obama's pastor, who Obama has deep and abiding ties with, who is a -- who has been closely associated with Farrakhan and has some very disturbing views.
And if McCain is going to reject this guy who he clearly doesn't know and get into all this kind of trouble for it, I think the comparison with Wright, who is very close to Obama, that hasn't been explored very much at all.
KURTZ: And who's made some inflammatory statements. Now on Friday, McCain told the Associated Press -- this is a week after the endorsement -- “I repudiate any comments that are made, including Pastor Hagee's, if -- if they are anti-Catholic.” So I guess he belatedly addressing some of that criticism. All right.