Cornel West: 'We Are Witnessing the Santa Clausification of Nelson Mandela'

Since the announcement of Nelson Mandela's death Thursday, the media have been in a virtual wall to wall tribute to his life and legacy. Yet not everyone thinks they're painting an accurate picture of the man.

Quite the contrary, Cornel West told CNN's Jake Tapper Friday, "We are witnessing the Santa Clausification of Nelson Mandela" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

JAKE TAPPER, HOST: Cornel, Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast writes, quote, "Nelson Mandela is being mourned across the ideological spectrum as a saint. But not long ago, in Washington's highest circles, he was considered an enemy of the United States."

Are we covering up some of the realities of how individuals regarded both the ANC and more specifically, Nelson Mandela in all these eulogies?

CORNEL WEST: I think no doubt we are. I mean, Nelson Mandela's a spiritual giant, moral titan, and political revolutionary. We are witnessing the Santa Clausification of Nelson Mandela. We turned the revolutionary into an old man, a huggable old man with toys in a bag, smile on his face, no threat to anybody, domesticated, tamed, and no longer really full of the fire.

But we know at 95, brother Nelson Mandela was still full of fire. He had that militant tenderness and subversive sweetness and radical gentleness tied to refusing to be fearful or intimidated in the face of a vicious white supremacist apartheid regime.

West made an interesting point: our media are indeed presenting a picture of Mandela that is much softer than reality.

On the other hand, that's far better than what's been going on at MSNBC where people there are predictably using Mandela's death to depict Republicans as racist.

Although it's not Passover, why should this day be different from all other days?

(HT Mediaite)

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.