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Friday, June 01, 2007

Different Jodi, Same Bullshit
Posted by Jill | 7:08 AM
If I didn't know that the Hack Formerly Known as Jodi Wilgoren hadn't adopted the hybrid name "Rudoren" when she married a few years ago, I'd think the New York Times' Jodi Kantor was the same person.

Perhaps the erstwhile Ms. Wilgoren has created a clone, because Ms. Kantor's hacktacular articles on Barack Obama's presidential campaign have the same fingerprints as the hatchet jobs Wilgoren used to do on Howard Dean in 2004.

Back in April, Kantor decided to focus on the church Obama attends in Chicago, and in particular on the Trinity United Church of Christ's firebrand pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. in an article clearly designed to evoke white panic at the thought of a president who attends an "Afrocentric" church. Then in May, in a puff piece about Michelle Obama, Kantor had to correct a quote from an Obama family friend that originally read that they had "fought long and hard" about whether Obama should run for president. The quote was actually "thought long and hard" -- quite a difference.

Today, Kantor once again plays the "Can't you see that man is a ni--" card, reminding people that Barack Obama plays -- omigod -- PICKUP BASKETBALL!!!

From John F. Kennedy’s sailing to Bill Clinton’s golf mulligans to John Kerry’s windsurfing, sports has been used, correctly or incorrectly, as a personality decoder for presidents and presidential aspirants. So, armchair psychologists and fans of athletic metaphors, take note: Barack Obama is a wily player of pickup basketball, the version of the game with unspoken rules, no referee and lots of elbows. He has been playing since adolescence, on cracked-asphalt playgrounds and at exclusive health clubs, developing a quick offensive style, a left-handed jump shot and relationships that have extended into the political arena.


Though some of these men could afford to build courts at their own homes, they pride themselves on the democratic nature of basketball, on showing up at South Side parks and playing with whoever is around. At the University of Chicago court where he and Mr. Obama used to play, “You might have someone from the street and a potential Nobel Prize winner on the same team,” Mr. Duncan said. “It’s a great equalizer.”

It is a theme that runs throughout Mr. Obama’s basketball career: a desire to be perceived as a regular guy despite great advantage and success. As a teenager, he slipped away from his tony school to university courts populated by “gym rats and has-beens” who taught him “that respect came from what you did and not who your daddy was,” Mr. Obama wrote.

As opposed to George W. Bush, right? Funny how everyone's forgotten Bush's tony Connecticut upbringing and sees him as a regular guy cowboy.

But isn't it funny how the way Kantor chooses to "humanize" Obama is to pick up the meme of pickup basketball -- a sport highly identified with the very same black, urban culture that remains at the heart of much of the fear that Republican candidates exploit in their voters?

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