Politics & Society

Discussing Oprah, Imus, Sean Taylor...

Happy almost-the-weekend. Happy almost December!

Friday is one of my favorite days of the week — not just because I'm hours away from the weekend (because, let's face it, I have little kids ... there's no sleeping 'til noon happening) — but because some of my favorite segments air Friday: Political Chat, Faith Matters, Barbershop, BackTalk.

Our politics chat was extra special this week because I got to have two old friends on the panel — Eugene Robinson, with whom I worked at the Washington Post, AND Jeff Greenfield, now at CBS News (we worked together when we were both at ABC) ... and, of course, the fab Rev. Marcia Dyson. She's also a political commentator, in addition to her work in ministry.

We had a lot to talk about, including Oprah and Imus (Oprah goes on the political stump with Sen. Barack Obama next week and Don Imus returns to the radio airwaves on Monday). The big question about both is, what difference will it make? Oprah, as the world knows is one of the foremost media figures of our time, but she's never stumped for a candidate before. And Imus, of course, we all remember the circumstances of his being bounced from the airwaves. We've talked with his new boss about what to expect when he goes back on (here's the link if you didn't catch it).

Jeff Greenfield has been on BOTH Oprah and Don Imus' program. He told us what he thinks will happen, which is ... he isn't sure! (I like that in a man.)

Plus, the latest debate on tithing. If you are a religiously committed person you know about this. It's a tradition in many religious denominations; some consider it a commandment ... but is it? Is it another practice out of time, like the building of places of worship according to certain parameters, that has no practical meaning today?

We talked about it...

And, the B-shop guys (of course): Sean Taylor, so sad. The Washington Redskins' player killed last week under bizarre circumstances, an apparent burglary in his home. What does it mean? It's hard to overstate the grief in this city — members of my staff who come in a little later than I do (I'm one of the early, early birds) told me that folks were crying on the metro when the news of his death was announced.

But what does it mean?...

One thing we've been interested in is the debate that's broken out on the sports pages about whether some have been acting as if Taylor somehow deserved his death because of his "lifestyle," whatever that means. I do know that he was only 24, a new father, and it's sickening to contemplate yet another child growing up without a father because of violence. Why is this happening? We hope to talk more about this on Monday.

And until then, have a great weekend. I plan to...

This Just In...
Here's a bit of information that SHOULD have been in the introduction this morning, had I known it. We had the Rev. Marcia Dyson on this morning as part of our political roundtable. One of the subjects was the Republican's CNN/YouTube debate. We spent most of the conversation on that. But part of it was the Oprah effect — what effect will it have that Oprah is campaigning for Sen. Barack Obama?

Well, as Rev. Dyson was leaving, she mentioned to one of our producers that she is supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination. WELL, trust me when I say I did NOT know this in advance. It did not come up in the course of the conversation on the air. But I should have known, and had I known I certainly would have disclosed that fact. That was a failure of due diligence on our part, and we won't make that mistake again.

So when, if, you listen to that conversation, feel free to interpret what Rev. Dyson has to say in that light. It's interesting to note that her husband, the professor, writer and minister Rev. Michael Eric Dyson, is supporting Obama ... But I assumed — wrongly, as it turns out — that Rev. Marcia was staying neutral. (Dinnertime must be fun over there, huh?)

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For one thing, the fact that Imus is back on the air, and so fast, is just lots and lots of vindication to bratty white men, who now have more license than usual to be racist and sexist at their pleasure.

I think that an Oprah endorsement will do Obama some good. Oprah's a good woman, and has the ears of a lot of people; and a lot of those people -- women, particularly women of color -- who may usually feel disenfranchised may go to the polls, who might not have otherwise.

Sent by Jaime Taylor | 10:21 AM | 12-4-2007

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