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Religion, Ministers & Politicians

Well, we survived The Great Debate on religion last night as part of the birthday broadcast. Thanks again to Arroyo Grande Andy and Santa Maria Bill for participating in the discussion. I really tried my best to stay out of the debate and just keep the train on the tracks, but it wasn’t always easy, particularly during the calls. With respect, too many callers wanted to discuss Jesus and not address the issue of the impact of organized religion.

I give Andy credit for coming into the booth with Bill and I thought Andy held his own in some key areas. But where Andy blew it big time for me was when he asserted just before 6 p.m. that his religion was superior to Catholicism. Wow. Sure enough, about 40 minutes later, Annie called in and just blasted Andy. I thought it was the high point of the discussion. I’ve known Annie for ten years and I’ve never heard her so upset. The passion, the conviction, was real. Thanks to all who participated!

Speaking of religion, one has to wonder why the media went so nuts on Obama’s Reverend Wright, but is giving McCain a free pass for seeking out these right wing nutjobs. I don’t have much use for Air America, but their one shining star continues to be Rachel Maddow, who is now enjoying the national stage on MSNBC as a pundit. I only regret that she’s on opposite me–I wish I could hear her more on the radio.

But this is what Maddow said the other night about Obama/McCain and their ministers:

“I think it is one story of the election. I think the Reverend Wright controversy is – interesting. There is a discussion there to have. But I also think that the amount of coverage was excessive.

I know you guys have talked about this. In the Project on Excellence in Journalism Report looking at the quantity of campaign coverage in the week leading up to Indiana and North Carolina, the Reverend Wright story got, I think they found 42 percent of the campaign coverage for that week.

Hillary Clinton, everything about Hillary Clinton got 41 percent of the coverage.

I mean, yes, the Reverend Wright story is interesting. It’s not that interesting. I’m willing, actually, to engage with people about the Reverend Wright story, to a certain extent, but I’m not willing to allow it to eclipse everything else simply because it gets good television ratings because it has tabloid value.

I also think that the amount of media coverage of the Reverend Wright controversy is itself a story, because I do think that there are similarly tabloid, similarly scurrilous, similarly potential ratings magnet stories about the other candidates, particularly about John McCain and his albatross right-wing pastors. But they haven’t been exploited in the same way.

And that decision, that decision by the media, I think, is worth interrogating, because I think it does have political implications.”

And the big implication is how much longer will John McCain continue to get a free pass from the adoring national media? A new poll shows that 40% of Americans think age is a factor with McCain.

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