- - Wednesday, October 17, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Only in Donald Trump’s America could the same pundits and journalists who scream and shout at the president on a daily basis at the White House fashion themselves arbiters of decorum without realizing their own hypocrisy. After rapper Kanye West’s off the cuff rant in the Oval Office, they were up in arms. How dare he touch the timbers of the USS Resolute in the president’s desk? How dare he drop the f-bomb in this sacred space? They scream and shout at the president while he walks with his wife under an umbrella in the rain. Yet when he leaves the first lady to talk to them, he is ridiculed for leaving her in the rain to talk to them instead of ignoring their persistent wails.

Journalists on the left who installed a halo over Kanye West’s head when he said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” during a live television fundraiser in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, are skewering the rapper now for his fervent support of President Trump. In 2005, Mr. West was praised for animating the cliche, “speaking truth to power.” Louisiana state health officials say blacks in Orleans Parish alone have a mortality rate up to four times higher than whites ages 18 and up. “I was very emotional,” said Mr. West of his remarks then “and I was programmed to think from a victimized mentality of a welfare mentality.”

His speaking truth to power 13 years later in the office of a Republican president has apparently given the media no choice but to take back his halo, and go bonkers. The celebrated rapper riffed on everything from 4D chess to a prototype “iPlane” to replace Air Force One, and said President Trump “might not have expected to have a crazy man like Kanye West” to support him.

Cable-TV pontificators lit into the rapper. Don Lemon, the angry voice of CNN, speculated that Kanye West’s mother is “rolling over in her grave” in family shame. Instead of exploring the point of the West remarks, that a liberal will try to control a black person through the concept of racism, Mr. Lemon called the rapper’s lunch at the White House a “minstrel show,” and said this is “not normal, and we need to stop sitting here pretending that it’s normal.” Actually, every president invites a wide range of guests from government, politics, industry, sports, show business, religious affairs, and others, to the White House for lunch and sometimes dinner. Every president is a man of catholic taste. He’s entitled.

Mr. West rationalized his support for the president, calling racism “an invisible wall.” For liberals, liking President Trump, is not allowed. “When I said I liked Trump, to like someone that’s liberal,” said Mr. West, “they’ll say, “Oh, but he’s racist.” On cable, Don Lemon’s guest Tara Setmayer called the rapper the “token Negro of the Trump administration.”

Lost in the angst over the West remarks of “betrayal of the Democrats” was what he actually said about police brutality and the murder rate in places like Chicago. “Black people have to take responsibility for what we’re doing,” Mr. West said, “We kill each other more than [the police kill us]. And that’s not saying that a police officer is not an issue.” The president often cites Chicago as a worst case crime city, but in the second year of his presidency, homicides there are down 22 percent and shootings have decreased by 28 percent, according to Chicago police data compared to the previous year. That still accounts for 78 murders and 286 shootings in the first two months of 2018.

Instead of talking about the issues Mr. West brought up, from prison reform to mental health, Cable-TV stuck to what it knows best, rants and lambast. MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle called the freewheeling rapper’s remarks “an assault on our White House.”

The division between the right and left press is real, and the middle ground certainly does not necessarily lie with the president. But Mr. Trump fights back, and both president and press give as good as they get. It was ever thus.

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