Rev. Jeremiah Wright vs. Rev. Steven Anderson: Did we give too much attention to Wright or too little to ... what's his name?

You may be asking, who's Rev. Steven Anderson?

He's the pastor who is praying for President Barack Obama to die and preached "Why I Hate Barack Obama." After hearing the message, one of his congregants
brought an assault rifle to an August 2009 Obama town
hall meeting. The story was one of our top 10 picks for most head-scratching stories of 2009.

Then you have Rev. Jeremiah Wright, president Obama's former pastor, who  preached what many called an anti-American sermon damning America, and on other occasions was called anti-Semitic.

Both pastors were scrutinized for their sermons and the media lapped up the stories for weeks. But did both outrageous stories get equally outrageous attention?

The media couldn't stop talking about Wright. But did Anderson get, or deserve, the same attention?

My curiosity was fueled by a Facebook message I got Thursday from a media colleague pointing out the media circus that surrounded Wright's comments but the seemingly under-reporting of Anderson's.

I like numbers, so I wanted to find out. I searched an online subscription database for the media coverage
during the month following the first newspaper report of both controversial sermons, searching the name of each pastor in conjunction with Obama.

The New York Times, one of  the nation's largest daily newspapers, did not report a single story about Anderson during that time period but wrote 15 reports about Wright. After searching on the newspaper's Web site, it doesn't appear the Times has written about Anderson, at all.

I expanded my search to include all "major newspapers," where I found 1,241 stories about Wright and just seven about Anderson (Three of the seven were from The Arizona Republic.)

Some people might say that, of course, Wright got more attention, he was the pastor of the man who would become president and Anderson was a no-name. But he was also a no-name whose congregant brought a gun to an Obama event after hearing a sermon calling for Obama's death.

Doesn't that warrant more attention than what it got?

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  • I can't really say. If anything there was way too much news about Jeremiah Wright, much of it in an improper context. If the Obama hating Anderson got more news, would you not have to worry about the associated Tea-Baggers and other ick-filled right winged maniacs finding another gathering place? I mean they are already gunned up and hate filled and are perhaps a much bigger threat to America than Iraq ever was.

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