Words can be so relative in politics and the culture these days. One
man’s ‘flip-flop’ is another man’s ’shift in emphasis.’ Over the past
week, some of the most liberal mainstream media have been pained to
explain (or question) Sen. Obama’s lurch to the political center. Now
they have to deal with Rev. Jesse Jackson’s critical remarks about
Obama. Gut check time.

What happened? Here’s Reuter’s version:

U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson complained on
Tuesday that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama can seem to
be “talking down to black people” at times and should broaden his
message.

How mild. That’s not exactly what he said….but that’s another story. Sticking with this for another minute…

But Jackson apologized for a disparaging remark about
Obama at the weekend while he was speaking into an open microphone that
he thought had been turned off and which CNN said was too crude to
broadcast.

This is like when Rev. Michael Pflaeger launched a tirade against
Sen. Hillary Clinton at Trinity Church and later said he thought the
cameras and audio were ‘down’. At least some of the regret is over
getting caught.

Notice the explanation:

“If in this this thing that I’ve said in a hot mic
statement that’s interpreted as distraction, I offer apologies for that
because I don’t want to harm or hurt to come to this campaign,” Jackson
said at a news conference inside his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
headquarters on Chicago’s South Side.

Wait….”interpreted as a distraction”? As if it’s not?

Jackson’s own son had his own harsh language….for his father’s comments.

“I’m deeply outraged and disappointed in Rev. Jackson’s
reckless statements about Sen. Barack Obama. His divisive and demeaning
comments about the presumptive Democratic nominee — and I believe the
next president of the United States — contradict his inspiring and
courageous career,” [Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.] said in a statement.

“Reverend Jackson is my dad and I’ll always love him,”
he continued. “He should know how hard that I’ve worked for the last
year and a half as a national co-chair of Barack Obama’s presidential
campaign. So, I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric. He
should keep hope alive and any personal attacks and insults to himself.”

WaPo’s political blog is taking that angle, ‘Jackson against Jackson’.

Jackson Sr. is trying to explain himself this way:

“My appeal was for the moral content of his message to
not only deal with the personal and moral responsibility of black
males, but to deal with the collective moral responsibility of
government and the public policy which would be a corrective action for
the lack of good choices that often led to their irresponsibility.

What?

Okay, moral responsibility is a good topic. Both individual and collective. Could we talk about that?

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....