Open Letter to the New York Times — by Rev. Jeremiah Wright | March 26, 2008

Jodi Kantor
The New York Times
9 West 43rd Street
New York, New York 10036-3959

Dear Jodi:

Thank you for engaging in one of the biggest
misrepresentations of the truth I have ever seen in
sixty-five years. You sat and shared with me for two
hours. You told me you were doing a “Spiritual
Biography” of Senator Barack Obama. For two hours, I
shared with you how I thought he was the most
principled individual in public service that I have
ever met.

For two hours, I talked with you about how idealistic
he was. For two hours I shared with you what a genuine
human being he was. I told you how incredible he was as
a man who was an African American in public service,
and as a man who refused to announce his candidacy for
President until Carol Moseley Braun indicated one way
or the other whether or not she was going to run.

I told you what a dreamer he was. I told you how
idealistic he was. We talked about how refreshing it
would be for someone who knew about Islam to be in the
Oval Office. Your own question to me was, Didn’t I
think it would be incredible to have somebody in the
Oval Office who not only knew about Muslims, but had
living and breathing Muslims in his own family? I told
you how important it would be to have a man who not
only knew the difference between Shiites and Sunnis
prior to 9/11/01 in the Oval Office, but also how
important it would be to have a man who knew what
Sufism was; a man who understood that there were
different branches of Judaism; a man who knew the
difference between Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews,
Conservative Jews and Reformed Jews; and a man who was
a devout Christian, but who did not prejudge others
because they believed something other than what he

I talked about how rare it was to meet a man whose
Christianity was not just “in word only.” I talked
about Barack being a person who lived his faith and did
not argue his faith. I talked about Barack as a person
who did not draw doctrinal lines in the sand nor
consign other people to hell if they did not believe
what he believed.

Out of a two-hour conversation with you about Barack’s
spiritual journey and my protesting to you that I had
not shaped him nor formed him, that I had not mentored
him or made him the man he was, even though I would
love to take that credit, you did not print any of
that. When I told you, using one of your own Jewish
stories from the Hebrew Bible as to how God asked
Moses, “What is that in your hand?,” that Barack was
like that when I met him. Barack had it “in his hand.”
Barack had in his grasp a uniqueness in terms of his
spiritual development that one is hard put to find in
the 21st century, and you did not print that.

As I was just starting to say a moment ago, Jodi, out
of two hours of conversation I spent approximately five
to seven minutes on Barack’s taking advice from one of
his trusted campaign people and deeming it unwise to
make me the media spotlight on the day of his
announcing his candidacy for the Presidency and what do
you print? You and your editor proceeded to present to
the general public a snippet, a printed “sound byte”
and a titillating and tantalizing article about his
dis-inviting me to the Invocation on the day of his
announcing his candidacy.

I have never been exposed to that kind of duplicitous
behavior before, and I want to write you publicly to
let you know that I do not approve of it and will not
be party to any further smearing of the name, the
reputation, the integrity or the character of perhaps
this nation’s first (and maybe even only) honest
candidate offering himself for public service as the
person to occupy the Oval Office.

Your editor is a sensationalist. For you to even
mention that makes me doubt your credibility, and I am
looking forward to see how you are going to butcher
what else I had to say concerning Senator Obama’s
“Spiritual Biography.” Our Conference Minister, the
Reverend Jane Fisler Hoffman, a white woman who belongs
to a Black church that Hannity of “Hannity and Colmes”
is trying to trash, set the record straight for you in
terms of who I am and in terms of who we are as the
church to which Barack has belonged for over twenty

The president of our denomination, the Reverend John
Thomas, has offered to try to help you clarify in your
confused head what Trinity Church is even though you
spent the entire weekend with us setting me up to
interview me for what turned out to be a smear of the
Senator; and yet The New York Times continues to roll
on making the truth what it wants to be the truth. I do
not remember reading in your article that Barack had
apologized for listening to that bad information and
bad advice. Did I miss it? Or did your editor cut it
out? Either way, you do not have to worry about hearing
anything else from me for you to edit or “spin” because
you are more interested in journalism than in truth.

Forgive me for having a momentary lapse. I forgot that
The New York Times was leading the bandwagon in
trumpeting why it is we should have gone into an
illegal war. The New York Times became George Bush and
the Republican Party’s national “blog.” The New York
Times played a role in the outing of Valerie Plame. I
do not know why I thought The New York Times had
actually repented and was going to exhibit a different
kind of behavior.

Maybe it was my faith in the Jewish Holy Day of
Roshashana. Maybe it was my being caught up in the
euphoria of the Season of Lent; but whatever it is or
was, I was sadly mistaken. There is no repentance on
the part of The New York Times. There is no integrity
when it comes to The Times. You should do well with
that paper, Jodi. You looked me straight in my face and
told me a lie!

Sincerely and respectfully yours,

Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.,
Senior Pastor
Trinity United Church of Christ

This letter was originally published on the BET website



  1. The authenticity of this letter is HIGHLY suspect.

    Is also interesting this letter appears no where on the NY Times web site.

    Check your sources

    Comment by bucki95 — March 26, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

  2. The original article came from BET
    It’s on their website so I assume authenticity.
    I received it reposted by moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG in an email.

    Comment by leftofdayton — March 26, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

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