Wasn’t new to Post readers, you mean, because the paper had covered it so extensively in the past? No. They never covered it. What he means is it wasn’t new to him because he’d seen a few articles in other papers over the past year and figured “good enough.” Even though his own religion reporter pressed him to do a piece on it — twice.
The Post — and some others in the news media — came late to reporting on the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Barack Obama’s former Chicago pastor. The story, long there for the picking, touched raw nerves — racial, political and religious — among readers.
The Post did next to nothing on Wright and his Trinity United Church of Christ before March 15, and editors turned down a reporter’s requests to do a story before the controversy broke…
Had anyone suggested doing that story at The Post? Religion reporter Michelle Boorstein pitched it twice and was turned down by editors on the Metro and National desks.
Joe Davidson, assistant city editor and Boorstein’s editor, wrote: “At the time Michelle suggested the story, before the latest revelations about Wright’s comments, there was little that was new. I didn’t see what it would add that was significantly different.” Tim Curran, deputy national editor for politics, wrote: “I am pleased that we were able to present Eli’s very thorough and thoughtful piece on Wright and his relationship with Obama, an article we had set in motion well before the situation came to a head, in such a timely fashion.”
Follow the WaPo link to see how uncompromising that “very thorough and thoughtful piece” that finally dropped on March 18 turned out to be. This makes two Democratic scandals in the past week that were there, waiting to be reported on, and not until they caught fire online was most of the media pushed into covering them. I can’t even blame political bias. Where were Fox, the Journal, and the rest of conservative media on the Hillary/Tuzla thing? Hannity took a shot at launching the Wright story last year but it went nowhere. A lesson for future scandalmongers: If you think you’ve got something hot, set it adrift in the river YouTube. The response will tell you if you do or not.
Exit question: If the concern was that “there was little that was new,” why not have a reporter dig a little deeper into those sermons to find stuff that wasn’t so new? Wright’s most notorious line, about those roosting chickens, was delivered six years ago. There was nothing new to discover between then and now that would have supported a fresh story? How come it was new enough for Brian Ross, then?