On Monday’s "Nightline," co-anchor Terry Moran spent almost the entire 30 minute program gushing over Bush-bashing rapper Kanye West. The ABC host asserted that West’s 2005 comment that "George Bush doesn’t care about black people" turned West "into a cultural force to be reckoned with" and extolled the "complex and thoughtful pop star." Moran even opened the program by asking, "What went through [West's] mind when he blasted the President in the wake of Katrina?" The co-anchor breathlessly wondered, "Would he say it again?"
Moran could hardly be more effusive in his adulation for the rapper. During the course of the program, he rhapsodized that West "is more than merely popular. He's a very interesting figure on the cultural landscape, a complex icon of music and style." Dropping all pretext of objectivity, Moran lauded the performer, who essentially called President Bush a racist, as "a shrewd and self-reflective observer of America's racial politics" and someone who has "got a lot to say." The ABC host briefly played music critic and marveled at West’s "complex and intricate rap lyrics." It’s probably not surprising that, during a discussion over whether the rapper is boastful, West complimented Moran as "definitely one of the better reporters who have interviewed me."
This isn’t the first time Moran has fawned over a liberal icon. In June, he touted Michael Moore’s new health care documentary and wondered if the left-wing filmmaker would run for political office.
A partial transcript of the September 24 program, which aired at 11:35pm, follows:
Terry Moran: "At home with Kanye West. The hottest artist on the charts invites us over for a Nightline exclusive. Like it is. What went through his mind when he blasted the President in the wake of Katrina?"
Kanye West: "George Bush doesn’t care about black people."
Moran: "Would he say it again?"
Terry Moran: "Good evening, I'm terry Moran. Tonight, a star at his zenith. You don't get any bigger, any hotter than Kanye West is right now. He just opened at number one in the country with his new album ‘Graduation.’ He’s also got the number one song, ‘Stronger.’ Now, if you’re not a fan, don’t go anywhere. Stay tuned, because Kanye West is more than merely popular. He's a very interesting figure on the cultural landscape, a complex icon of music and style. Brash, prone to controversial comments and outbursts, a Christian, a shrewd and self-reflective observer of America's racial politics. He's got a lot to say, as I found out when I spent sometime with him and his mom in Los Angeles."
Moran: "He's a hard worker, both in the gym and the recording studio. And because he composes his complex and intricate rap lyrics in a unique way, he can get a lot of work done here or anywhere. You just told me something very interesting. You don't write down your lyrics."
Moran: "It's all in your head?"
West: "Yeah. I think it's a new, a new breed of rappers that don't do that."
Moran: "And why not?"
West: "You know, ‘cause I think the paper is a middle man. You know, ‘cause at the end of the day, it’s like, it's like you're your [sic] concepts and trying to get the purest form to the fans. And it’s like you don't want to read it wrong and forget the pattern that you had. So a lot of-- You know, half of it is what you say and half of it is how you say it. Like, I got a line, ‘Why is everybody so mad at me for, I wish I wasn't me so I could talk about me more."
Moran [Laughs] "That’s a classic Kanye West line."
Moran: "But to millions of people around the world who haven't heard a lick of his music, Kanye West is famous for one moment."
[Clip from telethon] Mike Myers: "The landscape of the city has changed dramatically, tragically and perhaps irreversibly."
Moran: "In 2005, during a televised benefit to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, comedian Mike Myers dutifully read the teleprompter and Kanye went way off script."
West: "I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family. It says they're looting. You see is a white family, it says they're looking for food."
Moran: "As Myers continued, obviously nervous, Kanye could not keep silent."
West: "George Bush doesn’t care about black people."
Moran: "What did that do to your life when you said that?"
West: "I think it changed my life for the better. I think people understood me a little bit more. They understood, like, this guy is like, has a little baby Tourettes, maybe not quite diagnosed, but the truth just comes out, like, accidentally. Like what's on top of his mind."
Moran: "Do you think it was fair? In the heat of the moment it came out. Reflecting now, do you still believe George Bush doesn't care about black people?"
West: "I mean, I have a hard time believing that George Bush cares about anyone. So side bar, black people also, you know?"
Moran: "The outburst turned Kanye West into a cultural force to be reckoned with and now this complex and thoughtful pop star is looking for new worlds to conquer. He's working on a line of clothes, on a sitcom, on playing sold-out stadiums for years to come."
[Clip of West singing]
Moran: "You aren't a modest man."
Moran: "People would call it boastful, and some call it arrogant."
West: "Yeah. Sometimes the truth isn't modest. People ask you to blur the truth in some way, you know, to apologize for my greatness."
Moran: "What if I said that to you, that I'm the greatest?"
West: "I would be proud of you. I feel like you're definitely one of the better reporters who have interviewed me."
Moran: "Thank you."
West: "You know? I don't know about positively the greatest, but if you felt that way I imagine whether it's months from now, years from now, you can make other people feel that way. Think it, say it, do it."
Moran: "A pep talk from Kanye."