A common problem: why the media matters   Leave a comment

as published on examiner.com

Conservative and liberal “commentators” (read: opinion hacks who pretend they are journalists) love a good scandal, controversy, or public disagreement. When they can’t find one, they make one up with the old stand by of “X is raising eyebrows”, all the while  conveniently failing to identify any actual individuals whose eyebrows have been set high upon the forehead.  The Left is aghast at Conservatives at Fox and other outlets who are atwitter over what Conservatives view as the latest in a long line of poor reasoning and outright poor taste from the White House. Of course,  one must ask when aren’t Conservatives incensed over the actions of liberals?.

The political and media Left wishes to have the public believe that First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House  invite to hip hop artist Common, and his subsequent visit, is just one of those ginned up controversies.

The Liberal left insists that Common’s visit is a non sequiter.  Online supporters of this view go so far as to suggest that the invite was a baiting game: invite the most innocuous black artist one can find so as to drive those big old bigots on the Right into a tizzy.

The Left defends their assertion that the invite is a non controversy — with non essentials.  They  scream loudly how innocuous the remainder of Common’s lyrics are, how hard he work’s for the community, and all the good he does.

He is the Bill Cosby of Hip Hop goes the refrain. Standard fare when offering  defense for any individual, let alone one of a colorful background or world view.  This argument immediately begs the question: does the Left forget that a Cosby analogy must immediately bring to mind Cosby’s invective at the Martin Luther King Junior Dinner on the Anniversary of Brown v Board of Education?

Is everyone to forget the pillorying of Cosby by the Left because Cosby, like Common’s inspiration Jeremiah Wright or like Minister Louis Farrakhan, dares to outline in stark terms the problems facing the black community, and to tell it like it is in public? Specifically, Cosby talked about the violence, the drugs, the moral licentiousness, the worship at the alter of commercialism, and the prison time that goes with all of these. Sounds like the subjects most rappers and hip hop artists pontificate about.  Most do it, however,  in terms that hardly indicate disapproval.

Unlike most Liberal leaders Cosby courageously and correctly placed blame for the problems within black communities squarely on the shoulders of those communities and on the black individuals who experience those problems.  Cosby broke ‘the code’ of silence, and has been hammered for it by the Left ever since.

One problem with the argument that there is no controversy in the Common invite.  One problem with the assertion that opposition to his visit must in fact be motivated by racism or ideological blindness: Common and his world view as demonstrated by the songs now under the microscope is not innocuous. This visit is most decidedly not without controversy, though not in the form that the dialogue on both the Right and left would indicate.

Keep in mind that the song in question is dedicated to and describes in glowing terms a former member of a militant, violent separatist organization who killed a police officer, was convicted for the crime,  and has since fled from her conviction and incarceration to Cuba.

The arguments both online and on air shifted quite quickly from the specific song in question to the broader non issue of alleged race based opposition to the visit and the alleged non threatening nature of Common’s works.

The debate has now degraded to back and forth slings of racial epithets. Why is it one can’t visit an online story without hearing  “cracker’, “n****r”, “white trash”, “monkey”, and the like? Each story degenerates into charges and counter charges of racism and hypocrisy.  It is a demonstration of the problem at hand. Neither the left nor the right are able any longer to think or to argue in terms of principles.

Both have now forgotten, have ignored, or are unable to identify the issue at the heart of the questionable visit and the artists lyric.

Common clearly intended to praise a cop killer. Why?

The left wishes to make the issue about supposed ignorance on the part of the Right regarding rap and hip hop, or about the alleged racial bias that might inspire opposition. They more broadly argue that the artists lyrics are innocuous when compared to most hip hop or rap, particularly gangsta’ rap. True.

Common doesn’t rap much about smackin’ his bitch up.  You likely won’t find any crack vials in his car, or become momentarily blinded by glints of gold on his neck or glints of steel tucked in his waistband. What you will find is an artist who has chosen to write and rap about a cop killer, for reasons buried in his psychoepistemology.

You will find an artist who has chosen to praise as worthy of respect a minister who at the least places much of the blame for 9/11 on his own nation, rather than squarely on the shoulders of dirt bags and killers with phony halos.

What you will find is an artist who believes it is correct and right to single out a cop killer for such an ordinate amount of praise as to write a song about her.

Artists are motivated by their value judgments. Artists are motivated by that intense inner drive that is their ethical values and ethical motives.  They  are driven also by the process of reasoning through which they choose what to write or sing about.

Common chose a cop killer.

‘nuf said.


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