ABC's Jake Tapper: Rapper Who Called for Burning George W. Bush 'Is Not Particularly Controversial'

According to Good Morning America reporter Jake Tapper, a rapper who called for the burning of George W. Bush "is not particularly controversial." The artist, known as Common, has repeatedly defended cop killers such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and appeared at a White House poetry event, Wednesday.

Tapper on Thursday described this as an "uproar on the right" and strangely suggested, "Common is not particularly controversial. He's not a gangster rapper. He's been in a Jonas Brothers song, Gap ads and a Queen Latifah romcom." He didn't explain how appearing in a romantic comedy negates championing a woman that New Jersey State Troopers President David Jones called a "domestic terrorist."

CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today both ignored the story, so Tapper should be given credit for covering the subject at all. He also highlighted some the rapper's more incendiary actions: "...Common praised a fugitive, convicted of brutally murdering a state trooper in 1973."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]

However, Tapper described Common's comments about Bush as "moments of edginess." The journalist then played a clip of the "edginess": "Why are you messing with Saddam? Burn a Bush. 'Cause for peace, he don't push no chime. Killing over oil and grease. No weapons of destruction."

Tapper went into more detail on his Political Punch blog.

A transcript of the May 12 segment, which aired at 7:06am EDT, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: Well, the White House has landed itself in controversy in just about the most unlikely way possible, with an evening of poetry. The Grammy award-winning rapper, Common, turning out to be a lightning rod for the administration's critics. And Jake Tapper is there at the White House with more on this. Good morning, Jake.

ABC GRAPHIC: White House Backs Rapper: Artist Spoke About Burning President Bush

JAKE TAPPER: Good morning, Robin. Well, vetting entertainers can be a tricky business. But this controversy caught the White House completely off guard. And at the end of the day, with all of the charges and counter charges, it was anything but poetic. A star-studded poetry night, with Steve Martin and Amy Mann. But it was the inclusion of hip hop artist Common that sparked an uproar on the right.

COMMON: Lessons in our life are like strife that we're earning.

TAPPER: Common is not particularly controversial. He's not a gangster rapper. He's been in a Jonas Brothers song, Gap ads and a Queen Latifah romcom. But the poet/performance artist is not without his moments of edginess, taking on President Bush in this performance.

COMMON: Why are you messing with Saddam? Burn a Bush. 'Cause for peace, he don't push no chime. Killing over oil and grease. No weapons of destruction.

TAPPER: And in this song from 11 years ago, Common praised a fugitive, convicted of brutally murdering a state trooper in 1973.

COMMON: Scandalous the police were as they kicked and beat her.

TAPPER: The President of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association, noting this is police week in Washington D.C., objected to Common's inclusion at the White House affair.
       
DAVID JONES (President of the New Jersey State Troopers Association): This nit wit, this complete fraud, this is just an individual that has embraced this mentality of anti-establishment.

TAPPER: And conservatives from Sarah Palin to Karl Rove weighed in.

SARAH PALIN: Come on, Barack Obama. Who are you palling around with now?

KARL ROVE: Why would he invite a thug to the White House who said he wanted to kill President Bush?

TAPPER: The White House, distanced itself from some of the, quote, violent and misogynistic lyrics of Common, whose real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn. But they praised his work in general.

JAY CARNEY: One of the things that the President appreciates is the work Mr. Lynn has done with children, especially in Chicago, trying to get them to focus on poetry.

TAPPER: Last night, President Obama hugged Common, who made no mention of the controversy. Although, he did write, on his Facebook page, politics is politics. One thing that shouldn't be in question, is my support for the police officers and troops that protect us every day."George?

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org