Obama likes to hang out with the Jews: Pretty amazing.
Cornel West appeared on last evenings Ed Show. West has been annoyed with Obama, as Big Ed revealed at the start:
SCHULTZ (5/17/11): OK. You used the term black mascot. You have also called President Obama a "black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs" and a "black puppet of corporate plutocrats." And now he has become "head of the American killing machine and is proud of it."
Is this personal?
Its certainly not personal in terms of somehow saying that he is outside of the human race, West somewhat comically said. But soon, we hit the part which was pretty amazing. Once again, West complained about the way Obama likes to hang out with the Jews:
SCHULTZ: OK. Youve also chosen to analyze the president on what seems to be a very deeply personal level. Your quote is, "I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men." What did you mean by that?
WEST: What I meant was that I think thatkeep in mind, I affirm his humanity and I want to respect and protect him. But what I meant by that was his formation is such that I think he does have a predilection much more toward upper middle class white brothers and Jewish brothers, and has a certain distance from free black men who will tell him the truth, both about himself as well as whats going on in black communities, brown communities, red communities and poor white, working-class communities.
Obama has a predilection toward whites and toward Jews.
Lets be clear: On balance, we have always been a major fan of the way West talks about race. But that remark struck us as very strangethough neither Schultz, not later guest Melissa Harris-Perry, said a word about it.
And yes, we used the term once again. West was booked on Big Eds show because of the remarkable interview he recently gave to Chris Hedges. For Hedges full report, click this. Heres the part about the way Obama likes to hang out with the Jews:
HEDGES (5/16/11): I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men, West says. Its understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, hes always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And thats true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man, they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. Its a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.
He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want, he says.
Obama feels most comfortable with white and Jewish men. But at least its understandable. And not only that! As it turns out, Obama is just as human as West.
We strongly suggest that you read the whole interview, one of the most amazing we have ever read. As we said, weve always admired the way West talks about racealthough weve never been able to form a view about his actual scholarship. That said, West has been a Very, Very Important Person for a very long timeand he is very, very peeved at the way Obama ignores him.
Bill Clinton made Newt Gingrich use the back door of Air Force One. And not only that! Barack Obama doesnt return Wests phone calls!
To our ear, the price we pay for celebrity culture simply shrieks out from that interview. So does the danger in the freedom we liberals have been giving each other to talk major smack about race.
Across the Atlantic, another professor has been talking major embarrassing nonsense this week (just click here). Is Cornel West a serious scholar? Weve never been able to figure that out. But we feel fairly safe in saying this:
Most professors pretty much arent, not in any way which matters. People like Paul Krugman excepted, this only seems to become more true the higher you go up the ladder.
At any rate, Obama likes to hang with the Jews! Neither Schultz nor Harris-Perry seemed surprised by that.
An historical note: During Campaign 2000, West was a major player in the Bradley campaign. There was nothing wrong with that, of coursein our view, quite the opposite. But that was the same campaign in which the mainstream press corps fly-specked Naomi Wolfs three books, looking for any tidbit they could use to slime Candidate Gore.
As weve noted in the past: On any page of The Cornel West Reader, you could find racial and sexual statements which were more transgressive than anything Wolf ever wrote. (That doesnt mean those statements are wrong.) But the press corps didnt fly-speck West. You see, he was working with Bradley.
Its good that the mainstream press corps didnt make a joke of Wests work. But they played the fool about Wolf for a month, in amazingly ugly ways. And of course, Jonathan Chait kept his trap tightly shut.
William Kristol and William Safire both spoke up in defense of Wolf. Not a peep out of Chait, who was so clearlast week!about how vile this was.
To read our account of that month-long disgrace, click this. (Careful, thoughthere are millions of words! Well finish the chapter early next month.) Presumably, this was the kind of conduct Dan Kennedy had in mind when he said that the coverage of Candidate Gore amounted to a virtual wilding.
How strange, that so few liberals spoke up! Until twelve years later, we mean.
One last point: Candidate McCain was paying $20,000 per month to Richard Quinn, who really was way out of the mainstream in certain ways. For the most part, the press corps averted its gaze about that. (Saint McCain was the worlds greatest man!) One surprise: In that case, the New Republic got off its duff and actually did some good work.
RACHEL PRESENTS THE LINE-UPS (permalink): Due to our weekend travels, were a bit late with this one. But we thought it was worth reviewing an ongoing topicthe composition of the guest line-ups on Sunday mornings news shows.
Last Friday night, Rachel went there again. As she started her report on this topic, she reviewed the guest lists from the previous Sunday (May 8). Then she looked ahead to the upcoming May 15 shows:
MADDOW (5/13/11): Last week, the week after the Obama administration announced the death of Osama bin Laden, the guest list on the Sunday political talk shows was 3-1, Bush administration and Republican officials to Democrats. If you thought or perhaps hope that that ratio might have been an aberration, the good news is youre right.
This week is ratio is no longer Republican to Democrat 3-1. This week, the ratio is Republican to Democrat, 8-1.
Sad. By this time, Maddow had had all week to get herself straightened out about those May 8 programs. On that day, all five Sunday shows had presented a Democrat as featured guest; in each case, that Democrats segment was longer, sometimes much longer, than the subsequent segments with Republicans (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/10/11). But so what? Five nights later, Maddow was still handing you that baldly misleading crap about the 3-1 pro-Republican ratio.
That presentation was technically accuratebut it was grossly misleading. Were so old that we can remember when liberals got upset with journalists who played their viewers like that! At any rate:
Looking at that presentation, you have two choices: Our Own Rhodes Scholar is totally hapless, along with her staff. Or Our Own Rhodes Scholar is deliberately playing youtreating you the same darn way Sean Hannity treats his rubes.
Which is it? You get to decide.
At any rate, as the darling child continued, she announced the guest lists for the upcoming May 15 shows, as reported [in advance] by the Associated Press. In this case, her presentation was largely accurate. The guest lists on last Sundays show heavily favored Republicans.
That said, she put her thumb on the scale in the case of one guest. This darling loves to play you:
MADDOW (continuing directly): This is the guest lineup for this weekends Sunday morning shows, as reported this morning by the Associated Press:
Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, a Republican. Sheila Bair, chair of the FDIC, appointed of that job five years ago by President George W. Bush. Shes a former Republican Senate staffer and a Republicanand Republican congressional candidate.
Former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, now running for the Republican nomination for president. Current speaker of the House, John Boehner, obviously a Republican. Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, now reportedly contemplating a run for the Senate.
Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell. Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona. Republican Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, who just announced he too is running for president. And last but the least, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.
So, whats one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine announced marquee guests. And of those nine, one of them is a Democrat, Dick Durbin. Dick Durbin, this weekend in American politicsDick Durbin, you are holding up half the sky!
The darling threw in Sheila Bair, making the ratio just a bit worse. Should Bair have been counted in the way Maddow did? Here is Christiane Amanpour on This Week, introducing the pundit panel which included Bair:
AMANPOUR (5/15/11): Joining me now, Doug Holtz-Eakin, who ran the Congressional Budget Office and served as John McCain's chief economic adviser in 2008. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman of the New York Times. Sheila Bair, who is wrapping up her term as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. And Roger Altman, a former deputy treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. Thank you all for being here.
As these things go, that was a balanced panelbut should Bair have been counted in the way she was, as a marquee guest? And if Bair was counted, why not count Holtz-Eakin and Altman? One distinction: Bair is the current FDIC head (appointed by Bush); Holtz-Eakin and Altman are former high officials. But can we talk? One reason a person like Altman gets booked is because the White House wont make current officials available.
Should Bair have been counted? Thats a subjective judgment, but we wouldnt have done so. On the other hand, someone who hands you that 3-1 crap about last weeks programs may not be playing things straight.
By the way, using guest lists on Friday night can be a tricky business. Maddow missed one Republican guest, Mike Huckabee; at the last minute, Fox News Sunday had him join Ron Paul for its opening segment. So even if we dont count Bair in the way Maddow did, the ratio stays 8-1. Unless you count a Democratic official, Barack Obama, who was briefly featured (on tape) on Face the Nation, being interviewed by Harry Smith, the shows guest host.
(In her 3-1 ratio from May 8, Maddow is counting Condoleezza Rice, briefly interviewed on tape by Christiane Amanpour. By the way, shes a former official!)
Lets establish one key point: Maddow baldly misled her viewers about the May 8 programs. That point established, lets ask the key question:
Was something wrong with the guest lineups from the May 15 shows? Wed have to say the answer is no, for several reasons:
For starters, these shows arent booked in unison; Meet the Press doesnt consider who Fox News Sunday is booking when it plans its show. Meet the Press interviewed Newt Gingrich this week, then offered a segment with a balanced panel. Presumably, its bookers didnt say, But we shouldnt do that. We have to balance Fox, which is booking Paul and Huckabee.
For our money, there was nothing grossly wrong with the line-up on any of these shows. But duh! The balance of any particular program cant be established on any one Sunday! You have to examine a programs guest lists over a significant period of time. As weve noted, several news orgsMedia Matters, for onehave authored such studies in the past. Wed love to see someone do the work on these programs over (lets say) the past year. Of course, wed like to see the ratios for each of the five Sunday programs, considered on its own terms.
Over a significant time span, what have the ratios been? We would love to see the work, but only if its done carefully. (You pretty much have to do word counts.) By way of contrast: When Maddow picks and chooses one week at a time, she is behaving like a hackespecially when she baldly misleads you, as has done with that May 8 ratio.
But then, what else is new? Two final points:
The reasons for some of last Sundays bookings are perfectly clear. Why did Meet the Press book Gingrich? Duh. He had just announced he was running for president! (So had Ron Paul. Huckabee had just announced that he wasnt.) Its silly to think that every such booking has to be balanced on that very program. But Maddows a fairly silly person. Except for her considerable performance skills, shes almost wholly unprepared for her current job.
Finally, liberals may have to get used to this, at least to a certain extent. Were entering a long, drawn-out, inane campaign season in which a lot of Republicans will be running for president, against one lonely Democrat. Obama wont go on the Sunday shows; presumably, a bunch of Republican candidates will. Its stupid to ignore this dynamicto jump up and down, crying in pain, every time a candidate gets interviewed.
And by the way: Do you think Sundays interview helped Candidate Gingrich?
That said, your DAILY HOWLER keeps getting results! Steve Benen was on slightly better behavior regarding this ballyhooed topic this week. (To read his post, click here.) He held off until Sunday morning before discussing the reported guest lists. Even better: Although he cited Maddows Friday reportkeister must be kissed, after allhe didnt count Bair in the way Maddow had. Amazingly, he didnt repeat that 3-1 ratio from the May 8 showsa bogus claim he largely invented. And not only that! He finally stopped repeating his baldly inaccurate claims about the February 13 shows (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/19/11).
Your DAILY HOWLER keeps getting results! On balance, Steve was still being foolish. But a lot of the steamier nonsense was goneand the nonsense had been very steamy.
No, reallydont thank us!
Unless Maddows so thoroughly dumb that she really doesnt know what shes doing, we think her report was the latest disgrace. But then, were so old that we can recall when progressives complained about conduct like thisconduct in which $2 million per year corporate hirelings treat cable viewers like fools.
On the other hand, its probably good for Rachels ratings. So we liberals all win, all around!