The Fox "News" Channel's decision to make a big deal over the recent White House performance by rapper Common is the latest example of the lengths they and the rest of the right-wing media will go to in order to smear President Obama. The killing of Osama Bin Laden was a huge victory for the Obama administration. Since the "Obama is weak on terror" meme isn't likely to fly with most people, Fox has chosen to milk the Common controversy (started by The Daily Caller) in an effort to paint the president as an angry black radical intent on harming America.
Their rationale for why Common shouldn't have been invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to recite poetry at the White House falls to pieces when you look at some of the individuals who've previously been honored and/or received invitations from presidents.
Fox cited Common's spoken word poem from a few years ago ("A Letter to the Law") which includes the following line:
Burn a Bush cuz for peace he no push no but-ton. Killing over oil and grease, no weapons of destruc-tion.
According to Fox and others on the right, this line is a call to kill then-President Bush. Come on, seriously?! Take a listen to the entire piece and judge for yourself whether or not it was cause for Common not to be invited to the White House:
If violent lyrics are such a problem with the right-wing, why wasn't there an outcry when Johnny Cash (who was known for lyrics that feature violent imagery) was honored by then-President George W. Bush in 2002? Also, in March 1991, gangsta rapper Eazy-E (a member of N.W.A.) accepted an invitation to a lunch benefiting the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle, hosted by then-President George H. W. Bush. Although Fox wasn't around to pollute the airwaves during Bush 41's administration, do you really think they would have given him the "Obama treatment" for inviting Eazy-E to the lunch benefitting the RSIC?
Fox has also accused Common of writing a song which praises a cop killer. However, this is a blatant distortion. There are many who feel the accused cop killer (Assata Shakur) is innocent. Although Bill O'Reilly claims Common has no idea what happened, the rapper was inspired to write "A Song for Assata" after visiting her in Cuba (where she has lived as a political exile since 1984). In addition to detailing the improbability that Shakur could have killed the police officer, the lyrics to "A Song for Assata" also recounts the treatment she received by law enforcement officials and hospital employees, her experience in prison and her eventual escape. Here is a link to the lyrics of "A Song for Assata".
Where was Fox News and the rest of the right-wing propaganda machine when Bob Dylan performed at The White House in February 2010 at the request of President Obama? If you are wondering about the Bob Dylan reference, please note that one of his most famous songs (1975's "Hurricane") is a protest tune in defense of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (who was convicted in 1967 of a triple homicide which occurred the previous year). Other than the fact that Carter was freed without bail in November 1985, his case is similar to that of Shakur's: they are both people who many feel were wrongly convicted of murder. Apparently, it's easier to smear a black mainstream rapper that the average Fox viewer knows little to nothing about than it is a white rock-n-roll icon.
This latest attempt by the right-wing (with Fox "News" being the ring leader) to portray President Obama as a menace to society due to Common's White House invite is not only weak, but has the ugly stain of racism as well. It shows they are getting increasingly desperate as 2012 approaches.
Just to be clear, I have no issue with the previous presidential honors/invitations of Eazy-E, Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan.
Below, Jon Stewart gives his hilarious take on the ridiculousness that is Fox "News":