Black Princeton Professor Calls Obama a 'Black Mascot' and 'Black Puppet' of Wall Street; WaPo Skims the Surface

Will the same networks that found it irresistible to cover the Donald Trump birther antics make any time for black radicals claiming Obama isn’t really black? On page A-6 of The Washington Post on Thursday, Post reporter Krissah Williams found Princeton professor Cornel West stirred up debate among black bloggers and academics for calling the president a "black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats." The Post skipped over the next line: "And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it."

In a Monday interview with radical former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, West said: "I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men...It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation."

Williams noticed West also surfaced Tuesday night on MSNBC, where Ed Schultz came to Obama’s defense:

SCHULTZ: OK. You used the term black mascot. You have also called President Obama a "black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs" and a "black puppet of corporate plutocrats." And now he has become "head of the American killing machine and is proud of it." Is this personal?

WEST: Well, it`s personal only to the degree to which we`re talking about the system in place that is rigged at the moment against poor and working people. And Obama is the president. He`s the head, as it were. But it`s certainly not personal in terms of somehow saying that he is outside of the human race, demonizing him. [No, he’s only suggesting he is outside the black race!] I am relentlessly criticizing him in the name of the plight and predicament of poor children, mistreated workers, those unfairly incarcerated.

After insisting Obama couldn’t do much better in the current political climate, Schultz later came back around to race:

SCHULTZ: OK. You`ve also chosen to analyze the president on what seems to be a very deeply personal level. Your quote is "I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men." What did you mean by that?

WEST: What I meant was that I think that -- keep in mind, I affirm his humanity and I want to respect and protect him. [!] But what I meant by that was his formation is such that I think he does have a predilection much more toward upper middle class white brothers and Jewish brothers, and has a certain distance from free black men who will tell him the truth, both about himself as well as what`s going on in black communities, brown communities, red communities and poor white, working class communities.

Naturally, Schultz quickly went to another leftist Princeton professor, Melissa Harris-Perry, for pro-Obama rebuttal. He told her: "It`s more -- it is the most severe critique that I`ve ever heard of President Obama. And I understand the debate and what not. But it`s almost over the top." When Mr. Republicans Want You Dead is calling you "over the top," then you've achieved something.  

The Post and Schultz both skipped over West’s remarks of Obama being too close to white Jews (even though Schultz heard it, and did not question it):

When he meets an independent black brother it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable."

"He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want," he says. "He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home. That is very sad for me."

Perhaps this is skipped over because West, in the same interview, expresses disappointment that Obama was ignoring leftist econmists like "brother Paul Krugman" and "brother Joseph Stiglitz," both Jews.

In the Post story, it's explained that Obama “cussed” West out last summer after a National Urban League speech, saying that West ought to be ashamed for saying Obama is not a progressive. "White House aides did not dispute that Obama had scolded West." This would have been an interesting story last year. For rebuttal of West, the Post went not only to Harris-Perry, but to Rev. Al Sharpton, "a close Obama ally who has sparred with West over the president."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis