Drudge-Hyped Obama Video Met With Shrugs

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 3 2012 10:14 AM

The Drudge-Hyped New Obama Video Isn't New. But Does that Matter?

Screengrab of the Daily Caller's homepage on Wednesday morning
Screengrab of the Daily Caller's homepage on Wednesday morning

The conservative troika of Matt Drudge, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity unveiled what they claimed to be a campaign game-changer last night: video of a 2007 speech then-Sen. Barack Obama gave in which he praised Rev. Jeremiah Wright and vented about what he saw as a failure of the federal government to adequately help the predominantly minority victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The Drudge Report teased it as "Obama's other race speech." Carlson's Daily Caller touted it as featuring "a barely recognizable Obama" delivering a "racially charged and at times angry speech." And Hannity opened his Fox News show by declaring it "some of the most divisive class warfare and racially charged rhetoric ever used by Barack Obama."


But the rub, of course, is that it's difficult for a five-year-old video to live up to that bombshell billing when the speech itself was not only open to the press but was also widely covered at the time by pretty much everyone from the Associated Press to Fox News to NPR.

As Dave Weigel touched on last night in his great recap of the original reporting on the speech, for the conservatives (re)hyping Obama's remarks five years later, it's not that major media outlets didn't cover the speech in 2007, it's that they didn't cover it enough.

And in that vein, last night's re-release party that took place on Fox News was at least a partial success. The unveiling of the full video—portions of it had been previously available online, as was a transcript of Obama's remarks—along with the late-afternoon hype that preceded it, generated a whole slew of articles by media outlets that had already covered the speech the first time around.

Most articles fell into one of two categories, either a) talking about how the right was attempting to make hay out of a video from half a decade ago (representative headline: the Associated Press' "Conservatives Seize on Obama Video"); or b) flatly asking whether it was worth anyone's time (Politico's "Obama '07 video: Shock or schlock?").

But the fact that the coverage was mostly dismissive means little in the big picture for those conservatives who believe the media is intentionally ignoring Obama's past in a bid to bolster his re-election. If anything, in their eyes, it is just another data point in their everyone's-against-us narrative that now extends to any pollster who dares to suggest Obama has a lead.

Perhaps more important in the short-term, it also sets the stage for conservatives to cry foul if at tonight's debate moderator Jim Lehrer makes mention of Romney's now-viral 47-percent remarks and not the new/old Hampton video that conservative talking heads are claiming is Obama's analog.



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

The Strange History of Wives Gazing at Their Husbands in Political Ads


See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 2:56 PM How Faithful Is David Fincher’s Gone Girl?
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.