Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tom Joyner Calls Out Tavis Smiley

Seems as if Tom Joyner has drawn the line in the sand regarding Tavis Smiley and Cornel West - The Anti-Obama Duet.

And I think I know why.

Every since President Obama nixed Smiley's State Of Black Agenda conference in the 2008 (remember while campaigning in Texas, Obama offered to send wife Michelle), Smiley has held a very personal grudge that has clouded his politics.

I used to enjoy watching the Tavis Smiley show on PBS but, these last couple of years it has been painful to watch. At times, he tries to goad his guest into his anti-Obama rhetoric and banter - although, most (like Harold Ford) deftly sidetrack Smiley's comments.

No, of course we should not be blind Obama cheerleaders. He should be held accountable for his tenure as president.

What is difficult to understand about the rants of Smiley and West is that considering the political climate - hostile GOP and Tea Party majority in the House of Legislators and slim Dem majority in the Senate (with a significant presence of conservative Blue Dog Democratic Senators) - what, realistically speaking, legislation do they propose the president promote.

Any new big legislation will require a 2012 re-election campaign mandate. Hence, as Russell Simmons stated, Stop The Moanin' And Get To Work.

But enuff of my two cents...here's Tom Joyner:

My New D-Word for Tavis and Cornel

By Tom Joyner

Before I get to Mark Halperin, let me give you a little background.
They say that if you’re angry with someone, you should write a letter, get all the mean stuff out, and then tear it up or delete it. When you’re a little more calm, you write another letter or confront the person face to face.

About a month ago, I wrote a blog about Tavis Smiley and decided to table it because I said some things I didn’t want to publish. You’re probably thinking I went too hard him, but no. In reality, I hadn’t gone hard enough – and I knew it. I said I’d wait until something pissed me off so bad that I would have the words harsh enough to express what I was really feeling about him and his side piece – I mean side kick – Cornel West.

Well, yesterday, when Mark Halperin – a well-respected journalist, employed by a well-respected magazine and a contributor to a well-respected news network – had the audacity to call the president of the United States a dick, that was all I needed.

While I am appalled at Halperin’s statement, I have no expectations of him as a man and know nothing about his character. I am appalled, however, that as editor-at-large of Time magazine, he is responsible for among other things, deciding what stories will be covered in that publication. As the person in charge of political content, it is upsetting to know that he probably has not been objective in his dealings with material I and so many people look forward to (until now) reading each week. Needless to say, I’ve cancelled my subscription to Time magazine and hope you will too.

But I’m even more disgusted with Smiley and West, two brothers who I did have expectations of – and thought I knew. These two have done much worse than what Halperin has done because they set the tone for it, opened the door to it, and must take much of the blame for creating a climate that would make a white, professional journalist feel comfortable verbally and vulgarly attacking the first black president of the United States.

When you think you know a person, when you’ve given a person a forum to present his views, when you’ve had a hand in a person’s success, you want to believe that he is the same person he always was.
Remember THAT Tavis – the one who could take any complicated political story that had an impact on black America and “break it down” for us every Tuesday and Thursday in less than five minutes. The one who coined the phrase “radio advocacy” and alerted us any time anyone – from a private business owner to a politician to a corporate giant – even thought about doing black folks wrong. The Tavis that loved black people so much that he would sometimes, during his commentaries, be moved to tears. Where is that guy? You know, the guy that would have been telling me, “Fly Jock, Halperin has got to go.” For a while, I thought he was still with us, even though people around me (and many of you) tried to convince me otherwise. “Tavis is a hater.” “Tavis is only about himself.” “Tavis is jealous of the president.” I wouldn’t believe any of it. I had so much respect for him before his primary goal became selling books, and, later, selling out.

As we approach the Fourth of July weekend, one that celebrates our freedoms, including freedom of speech, I wish someone would use that as a defense of what Tavis, Cornel and Mark Halperin have said against our president. When dangerous words incite and brew up hatred and violence, there is a line. And these three crossed it.

In case you believe I think Tavis and Cornel called the president an offensive name, I don’t. I think they did something even worse. Any black people with any sense know that racists on the job, at school, at church or on the bus wait for opportunities to feel comfortable enough to spew their evil thoughts. If a black person tells a racist joke in front of a racist or laughs at one, it won’t be long before the racist begins to fire off a couple of his own. Mark Halperin and others are no different. They hate the president because he is black, and Tavis and Cornel, by not having the sense to not give them the opening they waited for, went all in. And this is what we get.

So, yes, MSNBC, fire Mark Halperin. I hope he never works again. I’ve already fired Tavis and Cornel. There’s nothing either can ever do for me or with me again.

I’ve got a new D-word for the two of them: Done.


  1. I have several old cassette tapes of Tavis that I love; and I have read all of Cornell's books...but I will never buy another book, or cd by Tavis or Cornell. Remember when we all protested when BET (and I think it was Bob Johnson took Tavis off the air? I also remember when Tavis' hands were shaking like a leaf when back in the day he was given the opportunity to host a daytime talk show on I believe CNN. My point is that we are all given opportunities in life..some bigger than others and we are all allowed to make mistakes, and grow in the process. None of us are perfect.

  2. It appears that both Tavis and West are bitter bc the President hasn't brought them into the main fold. Any American has the right to disagree with any president (that's one of our most treasured rights). But it's the way they've both gone about it publicly. For some reason I'm not surprised by West's tactics; but I am by Tavis'. I don't know if he still does it (bc I stopped watching Tavis' show bc it became boring, and mundane); but Tavis use to always end his shows with "Keep the faith." Well isn't that an oxymoron!! Appears Tavis has no faith in the President's handling of the country's business. Which is cool if Tavis has no faith in him ...but I'm just saying .

  3. ebonytruthtellerJuly 8, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Ben, i agree with you, West and Smilley either have some "sour grapes" issue with the President, or they are in a HISTORIC INFAMOUS group of BLACKS who sought to ENRICH THEMSELVES at the expense of HISTORY ..It does NOT take a CELEBRATED INTELLECTUAL mind such as Cornell West to REALIZE and SEE ..THE PRESIDENTS addressing THE HISTORIC DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH in this NATION "is" THE BLACK AGENDA on a "significant" and GENERATIONAL POSITIVE LEVEL !