Kristen Fyfe

For the third time, Newsweek religion reporter Lisa Miller has informed the world that Kirbyjon Caldwell, an African-America pastor from Texas, who formerly supported President George W. Bush, has “given himself heart and soul” to Democratic nominee Barack Obama. 

Miller, whose latest Caldwell feature is a three-page spread in the current issue of Newsweek, writes “last summer he aligned himself with a man who he believes better represents the Christian ethics and American values he preaches.”

Miller wrote effectively the same story about Caldwell in June and July of this year, following closely on the heels of Obama’s break with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright at the end of May.  The article in June, “His Mobile Ministry” prominently featured Caldwell as one of many pastors who were part of a telephone prayer ministry for Obama.  The July article “Finding his Faith” was about Obama’s search for religion.  In the third article, Miller describes Caldwell as a former Bush supporter who, “when he talks about Obama, he can barely keep the emotion out of his voice.” 

Miller is clearly fascinated that Caldwell, who delivered the invocations at both of Bush’s inaugurals and who presided over the marriage of the President’s daughter Jenna earlier this year, has thrown his support to Obama.  One can almost sense the glee she feels in the headline and subhead of the story: “Obama’s Other Pastor: Conservative, outspoken, and Houston born, this preacher and Bush friend is backing Barack.”

The headline “Obama’s Other Pastor” appears to be yet another attempt by Newsweek to distance Obama from the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the pastor who had a close relationship with Obama for twenty years.  One can’t help but wonder at the timing of this piece and its headline, coming out immediately after Senator John McCain’s campaign announced it would be aggressively going after Obama on the character front in the final weeks before the election.

Kristen Fyfe

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.

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