I kept looking for any sign that Ta-Nehisi Coates, described as "a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues," was kidding in his Monday afternoon column about Melissa Harris-Perry when he called her "The Smartest Nerd in the Room." He wasn't.
When last seen here at NewsBusters, Coates was pretending that the wealth gap between blacks and whites has consistently widened during the past 20 years, when the reality is that almost all of the widening has occurred during the past five years for which data is available. That delusion is nothing compared to his assessment of Harris-Perry, excerpted after the jump (bold is mine):
The Smartest Nerd in the Room
Why Melissa Harris-Perry is America's foremost public intellectual, and what she means
On Saturday, Melissa Harris-Perry apologized on air for segment that made light of the Romney clan's adoption of a young black boy. On Sunday, Mitt Romney accepted Harris-Perry's "heartfelt" apology, noting, "I've made plenty of mistakes myself." I've watched the offending segment several times now. I can see how a white parent who'd adopted a black child (or vice versa) would find the segment flip and offensive. It would not have surprised me if those concerned about adoption, equality, and racism voiced some protest about the segment. Instead what we got was week of invective driven mostly by a conservative movement with less lofty concerns.
... There may well be intellectuals with more insight. And there are surely public figures with a greater audience. But there is no one who communicates the work of thinking to more people with more rigor and effect than Harris-Perry. Her show brings a broad audience into a classroom without using dead academic language and tortured abstractions. And she does this while awarding humanity on a national stage to a group unaccustomed to such luxury—black women.
In between the two excerpted paragraphs, Coates predictably played the race card on Republicans without substantiation.
As to Harris-Perry's status as an "intellectual," a brief journey through a portion of her NewsBusters archive should disabuse anyone who might be tempted to apply that label to her.
She has pretended that "Obamacare" is "the moral equivalent of the N-word." Leftists who routinely use the word — including MHP herself two weeks before her pronouncement — will be interested to learn that.
In mid-November, she "asserted that Republican opposition to ObamaCare was 'creating a faulty levee system in our health care' as she tried to argue that the ObamaCare disaster should not be referred to as President Obama's political equivalent of Hurricane Katrina." Democrats obviously own the Obamacare disaster lock, stock and barrel.
In July, she claimed that the bankruptcy of bureaucracy-bloated Detroit "is what it looks like when government is small enough to drown in your bathtub, and it is not a pretty picture."
I almost forgot: The "Smartest Nerd in the Room" also wore tampon earrings on air.
That's more than enough evidence that Melissa Harris-Perry is really America's foremost partisan hack and arrives virtually unarmed at any battle of intellects.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.