I will end this post the same way I will start it, by saying I am not being argumentative; I am trying to start a calm, objective conversation with anyone who is interested. I like words. I like to believe words have meaning. For that reason, I both like and dislike the word "context.," I like the word context because it's meaning is essentially this: "Hey everybody; let's calm down and see what this really means." I don't like the word context because it can be used as a tool to change the meaning of spoken words later regretted. For example, in August 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney said, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." With time, it became increasingly evident that Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. However, rather than state we/they were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction, many in the Right (and some in the Left) said, "You must look at what Cheney said - in context. He was talking about how the capability was there..." Here are some other examples (perhaps good, perhaps bad) of the word context being used in popular media. (These are simply cut-and-pasted from Google searches.) 1. Bono's on-air use of the F-word. The FCC, using the F-word more often to explain its decision than Bono did on the air, said the word may be crude and offensive, but, in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities. 2. Geraldine Ferraro's comment regarding race/gender in politics. Stop and think about the entire context of what Geraldine Ferraro said. 3. Trent Lott's comment that the world would be better had Strom Thurmond won. Lott's comments drew condemnation from some Democrats, but others felt his statement was taken out of context. 4. D.C. mayor's staffer's use of the word "niggardly." [adj - meaning "miserly] The Howard incident led to a national debate in the U.S., in the context of racial sensitivity and political correctness, on whether use of the word niggardly should be avoided. With that background, I don't recall seeing "context" used more in popular media than in recent days. I am of course talking about Obama's pastor Reverend Wright. I have listened to the whole sermon, and read other sermons of his as well. (In a separate thread in this same forum, someone copied one of Rev. Wright's entire speeches. I highly recommend reading it.) There is a seemingly unending line of articles asking us to look at Rev. Wrights sermon in context: 1. Let's put the Obama/Wright flap in context Atlanta Journal Constitution, USA - 23 hours ago Soundbites from You Tube about Reverend Wrights comments has been the center of media attention lately. Whats lost in the comments is the context under ... 2. Longer Versions of Problematic Rev. Wrights Sermons Reveal ... Black America Web, Tx - 12 hours ago But when you hear only sound bites strung together, you dont get the full context. Rev. Wright still is loved and respected, and maybe even more so now. ... 3. Barack Obama Pt. II: Can We Transcend Race? BVI News Online, British Virgin Islands - 7 hours ago Anyone who is truly honest will examine the statements made by Reverend Wright in the context of his entire sermon and find them to have legitimacy. ... 4. Why the double standard on clergy? Chicago Daily Herald, IL - 14 hours ago Jeremiah Wright has been soundly criticized by those taking out of context quotes from sermons throughout his career. Barack Obama has been forced to ... My question is NOT: Were Rev. Wright's comments taken out of context? My question is: Does popular media apply the "you-must-put-it-in-context" rule consistently to public figures who say something severely controversial? If not, why? I'm not asking rhetorically; I am interested in other people's thoughts. I am not trying to instigate a useless argument. I have tried to frame this question calmly, objectively with the hope that we can have a good conversation. Thanks for reading.