>Are Rev. Wright’s comments personal?

>Just like the rest of you, I’m tired of hearing pundits over-analyze the Rev. Wright’s impact on Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign.

But I couldn’t ignore this article in the New York Times. An excerpt:

In interviews at churches in cities and towns including Charlotte, Greensboro, Lumberton an Goldsboro, ministers expressed the view that Mr. Obama and Mr. Wright had been attacked by a superficial and biased news media. Many said they were teaching Mr. Wright’s sermons in Bible study classes. They are delivering lectures on the roots of Mr. Wright’s style of ministry and preaching against what they see as attempts to make Mr. Wright a divisive figure.

“People get fired up when they see people trying to scapegoat a presidential candidate because of a pastor,” said the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro and the president of the state branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “And No. 2, the fact that you’re beating up on someone that’s very profound and very prophetic.”

But many parishioners are not nearly as sympathetic to Mr. Wright, saying they are disappointed with him for taking a personal dispute public with little concern for the harm it would do to the Obama campaign. (This sentiment is particularly strong among younger voters.) Others call Mr. Wright arrogant and untrustworthy, and still others say he is fighting old fights.

“He needs to take the political and keep it separate from the spiritual,” said Rita Harrison, 48, an Obama supporter who was cutting hair at Allison’s Salon in Whiteville. “Why would you risk this man’s campaign because of some personal comments? Because that’s what it is, it’s personal.”

While many in the article maintained that attacks on Rev. Wright represented a “double standard” some were offended by the Reverend’s claims that attacks on him were attacks on the black church. Also discussed in the article were whether the Rev. Wright should have spoken in front of the National Press Club.

Some also faulted the news media for its coverage:

Frances M. Cummings, 67, a former state legislator who was the first black teacher at Lumberton High School, said younger people did not understand the social forces that were working against them. “They don’t know anything about not being served at a restaurant or not going to college where you wanted to go,” Ms. Cummings said.

While she called Mr. Wright’s timing poor, Ms. Cummings said the news media “put him in the opposing corner, and he had to come out swinging.”

At Clawson’s barbershop, a small blue building on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive with Obama signs taped to the windows, the older clientèle recalled having to sit outside doctor’s offices and take Constitution tests to vote. But, to nods of agreement, Sandell F. Clawson Jr., 71, the owner, said Mr. Wright’s comments risked bringing old, contentious issues to a campaign that was trying to move past them.

“Where he’s coming from is good,” Mr. Clawson said. “He’s just late coming.”

This article was interesting in that it showed a myriad of views among African-Americans, something that’s frequently missing in news media coverage. However, I would have liked to see the reporter go beyond the barber shops or churches to find blacks to interview. Like I said in a previous post, traditional sources of news make this a habit whenever they are doing “black issues” stories.

What do you think of the article? What do you think of people’s sentiments in the article? Were the Rev. Wright’s comments “personal?” Do they reflect what you’ve heard when talking to others? Or, did the New York Times get it wrong?