Observations On The Kanye West Episode

Writes Professor Turley:

“In one of the most bizarre (and frankly demeaning) moments for the White House, President Donald Trump invited Kanye West into the Oval Office for what became an unhinged and profane rave sessions in front of the world’s press. As with the high-level visits with a Kardashian to talk policy, these sessions have a freak show quality more fitting a reality show than the Oval Office. For anyone who reveres that office, West raving about how he is a “crazy motherf***er” is an utter disgrace.”

Meanwhile, back in the land of “nah, there there’s no mainstream media bias,” CNN was being pretty disgraceful itself. Leading up to the visit, Don Lemon hosted a segment on CNN Tonight that declared West to be “mentally ill,” ” the token negro of the Trump administration” and an “attention whore” showing the perils of  “what happens when negroes don’t read.”  Then, after West’s performance, Lemon went on Wolf Blitzer’s show and demonstrated what he considers a good rant:

“What I saw was a minstrel show him in front of all these white people — most white people — embarrassing himself and embarrassing Americans, but mostly African Americans because every one of them is sitting either at home or with their phones, watching this, cringing. I couldn’t even watch it. I had to turn the television off because it was so hard to watch. Him sitting there, being used by the President of the United States. The President of the United States exploiting him and expl — I don’t mean this in a disparaging way — exploiting someone who needs help, who needs to back away from the cameras, who needs to get off stage, who needs to deal with his issues and if anyone around him cares about him, the family that he mentioned today or whomever, his managers, maybe some other people who are in the music business who know him, they need to grab him, snatch him up and get Kanye together because Kanye needs help. And this has nothing to do with being liberal or a conservative. This has to do with honesty and we have to stop pretending, sitting here on these CNN panels or whatever network panels, and pretending like this is normal and let’s have this conversation about Kanye West. Who cares? Why are you sending cameras to the Oval Office for Kanye West? Did you send cameras to the Oval Office and carry it live when Common visited the White House? Common visited the White House and did a beautiful poem, spoken word, talked about how black people are kings and queens, how we need to rise up and do better. He didn’t disparage anybody. He didn’t speak in non-sequiturs. He didn’t do anything awful and, you know, the only people who criticized him, the only people who really covered it were Sean Hannity and his band of hypocrites who are now — who are now applauding Kanye West, the same people that many in that group called the n-word because of Taylor Swift and because of George Bush and now all of a sudden, he is the person who represents the African-American community? He doesn’t. We need to take the cameras away from Kanye and from a lot of this craziness that happens in the White House because it is not normal and we need to stop sitting here pretending that it’s normal. This was an embarrassment. Kanye’s mother is rolling over in her grave. I spoke to one of her friends today or texted with one of her friends today from Chicago. Donda’s friends. I used to live there. I know him. She said Donda would be — would be embarrassed by this. She would be terribly disturbed by this and Kanye has not been the same since his mother died. He kept talking today about oh, “I put the hat on and the hat made me feel strong and wearing a cape.” He needs a father figure. He needs someone to help him and to guide him and he needs a hug more than anything. Kanye, back away from the cameras. Go get some help and then come back and make your case. Nobody — if you want to be conservative, if you want to support Donald Trump, that is your business. But as you’re doing it, have some sense with it. Make sense. Educate yourself.”

Believe it or not, calling West a “token negro” and referring to his appearance as a “minstrel show” was not the lowest that CNN could go. After showing video of West animatedly discussing a variety of issues in the Oval Office (Note”: Fox News played only West’s coherent moments, CNN played exclusively his most bizarre), the CNN anchor went to its reliably unprofessional correspondent April Ryan, who was standing on the White House lawn. She immediately referred to singer Ray J during her analysis, saying, “I talked to someone who is very familiar with the Kardashians, or used to be, text messaging with Ray J. You know who Ray J is, he was once close with Kim Kardashian.”

Nice. The only reason anyone knows Ray J is because he made the infamous sex tape with West’s now-wife, Kim Kardashian, that launched the whole Kardashian phenomenon.

Asks Turley, “Is this seriously what CNN considers responsible journalism?”

Observations:

  • To answer that question first for the professor: CNN has no interest at all in professional journalism. I would think that would be obvious to all by now.

A responsible network wouldn’t continue to employ untrustworthy, partisan hacks like Ryan, Lemon,and many others, like Chris Cuomo, who are incapable of objectivity or competence.

  • Can anyone imagine the reaction if a white Fox News anchor said in reference to a black progressive, this is “what happens when negroes don’t read” ?

I want to know what the rules are. A black pundit can use disparaging racial terms against blacks he disagrees with, but the same statement is a firing offense for a white pundit? If a black celebrity has the audacity to take a conservative position, that justifies racially denigrating him no matter who does it? Would a CNN correspondent who reported on Juanita Broaddrick’ and Paula Jones’s reactions to a Hillary rant be considered professional?

  • West’s erratic behavior has been a feature of his persona from the beginning of his career. He’s obviously a super-narcissist, but most performers are narcissists. He’s also a brilliant rapper, and the same stream of consciousness, unfiltered communication habits he displayed in the Oval Office serve him well in his profession. Is he mentally ill? I think it’s likely, but again, many great artists are mentally ill to a greater or lesser extent. Lemon and the Left are now focusing on West’s mental state to discredit his support of President Trump. The news media’s message: you have to be crazy to support the President, especially if you are black, since he is a racist.

If you are white and support the President, you’re just a stupid bigot.

  • In his critique, Turley is uncharacteristically illogical. He criticizes Trump for “letting the rant continue.” One of the constant proofs offered for why Trump is a racist involves his endorsement of throwing a black protester out of a 2016 campaign rally. What was the President supposed to do? Turley is offended that the Presient allowed West to wear his MAGA hat. “Just for the record, wearing a hat in the Oval Office is not considered respectful. Ronald Reagan would not even allow men to enter not wearing ties or jackets,” says Turley, longing for the good old days. As a terse Turley commenter notes, Bill Clinton was serviced by Monica in that office. And Turley is horrified that West used “motherfucker”?

Then Turley stoops to the “I know how the President should spend his time better than he does” cheap shot. “The Florida panhandle has been wiped clean, but the President gave ten minutes to this one-man circus show,” he sniffs. Right, professor, ten minutes devoted to watching the carnage in the Panhandle would make all the difference.

  • Democrats and progressives having the vapours over West’s language defy believe. The Democratic Party’s chair, Tom Perez, and other party leaders, as well as progressive loyalists in the media, have employed unprecedented vulgarity against the President.  Remember this reasoned tweet from Keith Olberman?

  • The accusation that Trump is “exploiting” West is intellectually dishonest. CNN’s token conservative S.E. Cupp said, “I thought that was really sad. You had there a man who’s clearly not okay and a president willing to exploit that. And worse, really willing to exploit that under the auspices of race relations and black communities, joblessness, mental health — all the things that ended up in this bucket of issues that were sort of addressed in this free for all. I don’t know that any of them were very well served by this circus.”

West is among the very most popular and influential hip-hop artists, who has endorsed the policies of a President the news media has worked over-time trying to paint as a racist. If he is mentally ill, he is still well enough to perform, have a family, and maintain his career. The same people who are horrified that the President is “exploiting” a mentally ill artist have been arguing that Trump is mentally ill. The same people who are decrying the “denigration of the office” have refused to extend to this President and his high office any respect or deference at all—and now they worry about the office because Kanye West is wearing a hat? The Washington Post fatuously argues that “Black people are not a monolith and Kanye West does not represent all black people.”

Now I have to haul out that cognitive dissonance scale again…

The point is that for many black citizens, West is high on the scale. For many of those same citizens, Trump is low on the scale. When West embraces Trump and vice-versa, that creates cognitive dissonance for these people. It has to be resolved. West may fall down the scale, but Trump rises. It’s not exploitation for the President, who has to combat the news media’s daily attacks and false narratives, to counter the effort by publicizing his allies in the black community. It’s called good politics.

He’d be a fool not to give a super-star like West a platform.

  • Democrats and their allied news media propaganda platforms are terrified that the economic gains blacks are making in the Trump economy will reduce their knee-jerk support, based entirely on group loyalty rather than substance or self-interest, that Democrats were assured of under Obama. That’s why they are attacking Kanya West.

Their problem is that the tactic is so transparent.

20 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Race

20 responses to “Observations On The Kanye West Episode

  1. Emily

    I was noting to a friend yesterday that the left was saying that Kanye supporting Trump was a sign of mental illness, and he gave the best response:

    “Yeah. Drapetomania.”

  2. Lemon (I think) also said that he had spoken with a friend of West’s deceased mother, and that the friend thought his mother would be disappointed.

  3. Glenn Logan

    What sort of weird karma has Kanye West, the guy who interrupted Taylor Swift during the 2009 Video Music Awards to go on a rant saying that Beyonce Knowles deserved the award over Swift, apparently making her cry, now finds West opposite Swift again in politics – only opposite where any rational person would expect. Swift endorses Democrats and West has a man-crush on Trump.

    You can’t make this up. It’s … If anyone doubts the existence of God’s sense of humor, this alone should banish it forever.

    Look, I don’t blame Swift – she literally has no choice if she hopes to maximize her profit and avoid damaging her brand. Avoiding politics was creating controversy for her that she can ill afford – she’s never going to be mistaken for a bad girl, or a contrarian. For all I know, she even believes it, which is totally fine by me.

    Kanye, on the other hand, could come out with a fawning rant on Adolph Hitler and not hurt his brand much. This Trump thing probably does more to add to his “mystique” than hurt it, as strange as it seems to me.

    All this is just one more piece of conclusive evidence, if we needed anymore, that most celebrities are utterly unqualified to comment on politics, and that leveraging their fame to attempt to elevate their political positions above others is unethical. Swift was actually doing the ethical thing before, but she’s either succumbed to the pressure of her peers, let her personal opinions override her ethics alarms, made a business decision, or a combination thereof.

    West doesn’t need a reason, being who he is.

    • Rusty Rebar

      You can’t make this up. It’s … If anyone doubts the existence of God’s sense of humor, this alone should banish it forever.

      I hear Scott Adams refer to it as “The simulation is really serving it up to us today”. Kind of made me chortle.

  4. Mrs. Q

    Kanye has been one of my favorite entertainers since the beginning of his career. “Where’s my damn croissants” and “Fur pillows are hard to sleep on” are so absurd you can’t help but smile. The man is a jester, a genius, and a grade A narcissist. He has his finger on the pulse of those wild thinkers who remain silent/silenced. A bit like Trump no?

    Of course Lemon and what Burgess Owens calls “royalty class” blacks want Mr. West to shut up. Black history demonstrates blacks who go against the liberal grain are to be purged from sight, renamed traitor, and be mentally (ironically) whipped into shape. Any black conservative knows this too well. However we should remember black unity was necessary for many years out of survival. Old habits die hard.

    I don’t know what to make of his WH visit. It’s part of this new era of constant cameras for constant gotchas.

    The thing about his hat does make sense to me though. When a minority decides to leave liberal groupthink, it can feel so freeing initially it almost does feel like you have a superpower, the power to deflect constrictive conformity. I think West is in his “conservative” infancy. We’re all watching him walk for the first time.

    Regarding his mental health, I think he answered on that in a song…

    Doctors say I’m the illest
    ‘Cause I’m suffering from realness

    • Mrs. Q,

      It think you are correct. Trump and West are cut from the same self-promotion mold. If Trump knows anything, it is how to manipulate the media. The 2016 primary season is a perfect example of how he sucked all of the oxygen out of the room and the media went right along with it.

      West is the same. He is a class-A narcissist and it has served him and his brand well. I don’t know much about his music – I am not a huge fan of rap or hip-hop, preferring prog rock and harder rock, which generally pair a Gibson Les Paul with a Marshall stack to make heavenly noise. I am not sure how important he is in the black community. I suspect the community likes him and likes the media messes he likes to make.

      The vitriol heaped on him is unfair. I am not sure he is mentally unstable because he supports Trump. I have heard he is bi-polar. Well, lots of people are bi-polar and function fairly well. West is a very successful businessman. I can’t and won’t minimize his success. If he likes Trump, then that is his prerogative. He has every right to support Trump, either quietly or yelling from the highest mountain in the land. He does threaten the “royalty class” and that must be stopped before it gets out of hand. He must be crushed because he stepped out of line. Tucker Carlson had a fascinating take on it last night.

      As for CNN, MSNBC, Lemons, and the other talking heads, they showed their disdain for anything pro-Trump. Lemons was fully dismissive and condescending. It was beautiful watching him lose his mind over West supporting (and actually praising) Trump.

      jvb

      • Mrs. Q

        John I enjoy rap but give me anything by Ted Nugent (especially Stranglehold), ZZ Top, Foreigner, or The Kentucky Headhunters & I’m dancing all night. Have a good weekend.

        • Ted Nugent’s solo on the live version of “Stranglehold” is simply sublime.

          You might find the time I met Billy Gibbons amusing:

          About 10 years ago I shared offices with some financial planners. One afternoon, I needed something from the front desk so I made my way up there, passing the Snickers dispensary. As I was in the lobby, I noticed a fellow looking not unlike Billy Gibbons reading a magazine, waiting for his appointment. On closer inspection, I realized that he was, in fact, Billy. He looked up at me and nodded.

          I thought: How do I play this? Do I fanboy him and gush about how pleasing it was to meet someone of his stature or do I play it cool? I chose the latter. Here is the conversation:

          Gibbons: (Looking up and nodding), “Good afternoon.”

          Me” Good afternoon, Reverend”

          Gibbons: (Looking at me with approval) “How are you doing?”

          Me: “Fine. How’s Pearl*?”

          Gibbons: (Looking at me knowingly): “She’s fine.”

          Me: “Sir, please give he my regards.”

          Gibbons: “Will do.”

          Me: (Leaving without further commentary). “Take care, Reverend.”

          jvb

          *Ed. Note: “Pearl” is a reference to “Pearly Gates”, a legendary and mystical 1959 cherry sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard Gibbons acquired from a Texas rancher John Wilson recommended to him. The name derives from a 1939 Packard Gibbons and some friends loaned to an up-and-coming starlet who needed a lift to the Promised Land of Hollywood. She made it to Hollywood without incident so Gibbons and his friends decreed that the Packard must have divine connections, naming that car “Pearly Gates”. She sold the Packard and sent him his portion of the purchase price, which he used to buy the Les Paul from the rancher. Because the holiness of the Packard allowed the starlet to pursue her dreams of fame and fortune, Gibbons realized that anything acquired with the funds from the car must also be divine. Therefore, he christened the guitar, “Pearly Gates”.

  5. PennAgain

    That is not the worst smear I’ve ever heard; but it’s certainly the most racist, considering the mouth it came from.

    It also fits in all too easily with the same Dem composers who orchestrated the Ford-on-Kavanagh fiasco. The technique is simple — and as old as Politics itself: In Japanese, it is an ancient social warning meant to preserve a peaceful, cooperative public, but at the same time it means to preserve an elite power over a rebellious one : 出る釘は打たれる: hammer down the nail that sticks up.

  6. Lemon’s rant was unreadable, no one has that much spare time in their lives, to read/hear it or even say it…

  7. A culture that could tolerate, elevate, *like* and promote someone like Kayne . . . is a culture heading down the tubes. It is really as simple as that. The disease of ‘rap’ spreads out from the US and (literally) infects other cultures. It is violent, irreverent, destructive, and demeaning. And that is the result it produces.

    Sorry if this sounds oh-so-slightly reactionary. Harry Haller (of Steppenwolf) I am apparently not …

    The *causes* of decadence can be traced back to their roots. If one wants to.

  8. adimagejim

    No fan of Kanye. No fan of rap. No fan of anyhting Kardashian. No fan of public use of obscene language.

    As a fan of independent thinking, I hope Kanye’s association with Trump gives some cause to pause and wonder what the rest of the media and pop culture has and is doing to them and not for them.

  9. I think a real opportunity was missed.

    Both are said to be (narcissist) performers and both appreciate a good gag (there is a video of D Trump dressed in overall pants and singing a hillbilly tune somewhere on YouTube although as far as I know he does not yodel…), so why not really do the equivalent of race-bending as has been done with gender-bending?

    For example, how cool it would have been if Master Trump would have put a dog chain to Kayne and paraded him around the Oval Office, barking. But wait! Then, the next world-class skit would be with KellyAnne dressed up like Shirley Temple with Kayne going up and down a staircase tap-dancing while Old Man Trump keeping rhythm on an accordion? Now that would have been something.

    I don’t know. I am wondering if something out of “Springtime For Hitler and Germany” could have been performed by the Secret Service in their dark sunglasses (I’m brainstorming here…)

    True, Don Lemon would migrate to Canada (or Liberia…) as a result but that can’t be helped. People are getting a wee-bit too serious! Lighten up America!

    It would be a bit outré, I admit, but such a bro-romance as theirs should include a friendly passing of the (nuclear) football while Kim Jong-un watches long-distance by video conference and claps! It would have got the whole world howling with (much needed ) laughter.

    • Kanye does make some powerful points here. I’m not just dedicating one day to thinking them over. It may take a whole week. Better still the rest of 2018…

      [Poor Don Lemon. I really feel for him…]

  10. I have watched Kanye’s antics (for they ARE antics, and well scripted ones) for most of a decade.

    I have found one little bit of commonality when Kanye goes off the rails. He started a fuel with Taylor Swift. He said he was broke. He was evaluated for mental illness.

    He constantly endorses positions calculated to bring him press. This is an effort to keep his brand in the public eye, but I think it goes further.

    He is most outrageous when he is about to release an album. Any press is good press, and I think West, like Trump, plays the media like a first seat violinist.

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