MSNBC Is the 'Rent a Negro' Network as Cornel West Sees It

What a surprise -- one of President Obama's biggest critics from way over on the left is also no big fan of his administration's main apologists in media, MSNBC.

Author, activist and Princeton professor Cornel West let loose with some pointed criticism of the cable network on his weekend radio show with Tavis Smiley. (Audio after the jump).


Don't wait up nights expecting West to appear on MSNBC anytime soon (h/t, audio, Brian Maloney, --

SMILEY: What's your sense of how the media, and not just Fox News but beyond that, your read as you've been watching this, how the media handled this case?  (referring to the Zimmerman trial)

WEST: I think that it's been decrepit though, brother. I mean, you get a focus on some of the upper middle class folk. I mean, what I call the rent a Negro phenomenon on MSNBC ...

SMILEY: Ha, ha, ha, ha.

WEST: ... and how this affects them personally and what they can say to they kids and they feeling distant and alienated from the state. Well, many of us have been feeling alienated and over against the state for forty something years.

West wasn't done there, making this trenchant observation about MSNBC's Al Sharpton --

SMILEY: Black people now find themselves essentially at the mercy of an African-American attorney general to do something else. He came out at the NAACP convention this week and talked about the stand your ground law. What do you make of the irony of who we have to depend on now to make a decision that I for one don't believe is forthcoming.

WEST: Yeah, I wish and pray that it were forthcoming, but I don't think it's forthcoming either though, brother. I think they just, it's just smoke and mirrors at this point and it's going to be on to the next issue as soon as they think this thing settles down. Now the good thing is it won't settle down and it's going to create, I think, some kind of division within our black political class because it's just too humiliating, it's too embarrassing. You see it with brother Sharpton. Sharpton probably deep down wants to be critical of the President, but he can't because he's still on the Obama plantation. Uh, so he can't say a mumbling word no matter how radical he wants to act and act as it were and deep down in his soul I think he really does feel a fire, but he can't allow that fire to in any way spill over toward the White House. Why? Because he's still too tied, he's too uncritical, he's too deferential, he's too subservient as it were and as long as that's in place we're going to find ourselves unable to tell the fundamental truth.

All part of our ongoing national conversation about race that liberals want to continue only until conservatives agree with them.

Racism Radio Cornel West Al Sharpton Tavis Smiley Barack Obama George Zimmerman