Busy week, so I may be a little late to the party on this one, but did anyone else happen to see the New York Times Q&A with Cornel West this weekend? In the midst of defending his attacks on ex-BFF Barack Obama as the “the black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs” and the “head of the American killing machine” there is this remarkable exchange:
O.K., but did you also have to say that Obama “feels most comfortable with upper-middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart”?
It’s in no way an attempt to devalue white or Jewish brothers. It’s an objective fact. In his administration, he’s got a significant number of very smart white brothers and very smart Jewish brothers. You think that’s unimportant?
The New York Times is content to let it sit at that, which suggests the paper is not particularly keen on answering that particular question. Were a random, nutty Tea Party rally attendee to have told a reporter during the healthcare debate, “Well, the president is listening to Rahm Emanuel, a Jewish man who considers himself very smart — do you think that’s unimporant?” something tells me the New York Times and many other outlets would have found more cause for alarm — as well they might! Alas, ideological allies get a pass on the implications of their “objective facts” — though not, judged by this piece, on criticism of the president’s phone etiquette. Perhaps this is to be expected in the kind of pathetic media environment where even Al Sharpton can get a moderating gig.
I will say this for the Times, though: Kudos on managing to peel the complicated, multi-layered onion that is the Summers/West relationship:
When Larry Summers was president of Harvard, he told you your rap album was an “embarrassment” to the university, and you quit soon after. He was one of Obama’s first appointments. Did that strike a particular feeling in your heart?
I couldn’t help it. I’m a human being, indeed. Given the disrespect he showed me? Oh, my God. Again, it’s political much more than it’s personal. Summers was in captivity to Wall Street interests. But it’s personal too.