WaPo Editorial Writer Rips Cornel West for Daring to Criticize Obama: 'No Better Than a Birther'

As we get closer to Election Day, it's becoming clear that media members aren't going to tolerate any criticism about President Obama whether it comes from the Right or the Left.

On Wednesday, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart skewered left-wing black activist Cornel West for having the nerve to speak ill of the current White House resident:

Anyone who knows me, and knows me well, knows that I have little patience for the “Blacker than thou” crowd. These are the self-appointed guardians of what it means to be black — a decidedly limited and ignorant perspective that has more to do with the accuser’s insecurities than the alleged transgressions of the accused. And the leader of the pack these days seems to be Dr. Cornel West. In an interview with the Web site Truthdig, the brilliant Princeton professor took off after President Obama in a manner that was myopic, offensive and embarrassingly petty.

Here's what West was quoted as saying about the President in a piece published Monday:

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West says. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s 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 that’s 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. It’s 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. “He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home. That is very sad for me.

“This was maybe America’s last chance to fight back against the greed of the Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats, to generate some serious discussion about public interest and common good that sustains any democratic experiment,” West laments. “We are squeezing out all of the democratic juices we have. The escalation of the class war against the poor and the working class is intense. More and more working people are beaten down. They are world-weary. They are into self-medication. They are turning on each other. They are scapegoating the most vulnerable rather than confronting the most powerful. It is a profoundly human response to panic and catastrophe. I thought Barack Obama could have provided some way out. But he lacks backbone...I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Obama. If it turns out in the end that we have a crypto-fascist movement and the only thing standing between us and fascism is Barack Obama, then we have to put our foot on the brake. But we’ve got to think seriously of third-party candidates, third formations, third parties."

Capehart was displeased:

Asked by MSNBC’s Ed Schultz last night to explain this, West doubled down by saying, “Obama has a predilection much more toward upper-middle-class white brothers and Jewish brothers.”

What West said is no less offensive, harmful and wrong than what Dinesh D’Souza said — with an assist from Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee — about a presumable anti-colonial and un-American mind-set possessed by Obama. Whereas these folks tried to deny the president his citizenship, West is trying to deny him his inherent blackness. By indulging in the “Obama-as-other” narrative, West is no better than a birther.

It is fascinating that on the same day we learned that far-left cartoonist and author Ted Rall is having a hard time getting his anti-Obama pieces published a Washington Post editorial writer came down on a Civil Rights activist for criticizing the first black president.

Coming under the backdrop of Republican presidential candidates being called racist for expressing negative opinions about the Commander-in-Chief makes the media strategy even more apparent: people on the right criticizing Obama will be accused of racism and people on the left will be shunned and/or silenced.

Still think we have a "free press" in America?

(H/T Mediaite)

Racism Race Issues 2012 Presidential Washington Post Jonathan Capehart Cornel West
Noel Sheppard's picture