ABC's View Girls Skip Down the Yellow Brick Road with Obama

Friday's The View had a surreal, Oz-like quality, as the ladies of the panel demonstrated how the rules change when you're interviewing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

What word but “surreal” when a kneejerk liberal bends over backwards to defend a racial slur?

What word but “surreal” when a “journalist” compares the hate-spewing Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the Pope?

What word but “surreal” when a “journalist” declares she wants to work on the candidate's campaign? 

With Obama still striving to separate himself from the outrageous statements of his longtime pastor, the ladies on The View had a golden opportunity to reveal the candidate's inner values and character.  They might have asked why Obama remained for nearly 20 years in a church that preaches hate, resentment and victimhood.  They might have asked how voters can be sure Obama has not been infected by Wright's anti-Americanism. 

Instead, panelists Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd seemed more concerned about protecting Obama from legitimate inquiry than in getting to the bottom of the questions about his patriotism and judgment.

The weirdness began even before Obama made his dramatic entrance.  When Elisabeth Hasselbeck quoted Rev. Wright's most recently exposed outrage, an ethnic slur against Italians, Joy Behar tried to make a joke out of it.

Hasselbeck:  “[Wright] said the Italians looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans.”

Behar: “He's talking about the Romans.  The Roman nose is celebrated in art and history, so I don't think that's insulting.”

For her part, Goldberg said the Obama-Wright controversy, “takes you back to Kennedy because everyone was concerned about Kennedy's religion and his spiritual leader, who was the Pope.”

Even Barbara Walters couldn't swallow that one:  “I'm not sure it's the same….We're not talking about Barack Obama's religion…We're talking about a mentor, and a mentor who says very bigoted, racially discriminatory statements.”

Once Obama came on stage, only Elisabeth Hasselbeck mounted any resistance to the candidate's charms, pressing the candidate on whether he knew about, and therefore implicitly endorsed, Wright's hatred and racism.

Hasselbeck: “You never heard about these sermons?”

Obama: “Well, the particular ones that you mentioned, I hadn't heard….”

Hasselbeck:  “Some of these are sold on DVD at the church.”


Obama:  “But I don't purchase all the DVDs and I didn't read all the church bulletins. It's not to excuse it. Here is my point. The vision I talked about at the Democratic National Convention, that's who I am.”

As the Wizard of Oz said to Dorothy, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”             

One panelist who didn't seem at all interested in peeking behind Obama's curtain was Sherri Shepherd: “I just have to say, I so appreciate you sharing your heart in the speech you just gave because I had my vote for Hillary and as soon as I heard that speech, I changed it. And I want to leave The View to campaign for you. Well, not leave The View, but you know, on the weekends.”

Brian Fitzpatrick is senior editor at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.