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.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
Sept. 18 2014 3:24 PM Symantec Removes Its “Sexual Orientation” Filter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 3:04 PM Pogo Returns With Another Utterly Catchy Disney Remix
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.