By Raynard Jackson – I have known Tom Joyner (nationally syndicated radio host) for many years. We are not hanging out buddies, but we have always enjoyed talking and joking with each other. He is an “old school” soul who has done a lot of good in his life. But, in recent years, his very public fight with Tavis Smiley (journalist) and now Cornell West (college professor), threatens his standing in many communities (not just the Black). So, I decided to use this week’s column as an open letter to Tom.
Tom, it is well documented that you and Tavis Smiley (and now Cornell West) have had a very public falling out with each other. I have not been privy to all the details of the dispute, only what is being reported in the media and through some of our mutual friends—but I have no first hand knowledge of anything; so my comments will be offered with that as my backdrop.
Word on the street is that the falling out started during the presidential campaign in 2008. Tavis was clearly not a big supporter of Obama’s and was more of a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s. You were unabashedly quite vocal in your support of Obama.
So, after Tavis resigned (or you fired him from your radio show—I don’t know which one is more accurate), I thought the beef between the two of you would be over. Boy, was I wrong.
Last week you continued your public feud with Smiley and West and raised the rhetoric to an unhealthy level. To lay the blame at their feet for what Mark Halperin called President Obama is a bit of a stretch. This is what Joyner said, “But I’m even more disgusted with Smiley and West, two brothers who I did have expectations of – and thought I knew. These two have done much worse than what Halperin has done because they set the tone for it, opened the door to it, and must take much of the blame for creating a climate that would make a white, professional journalist feel comfortable verbally and vulgarly attacking the first black president of the United States.” (for the entire quote, go to http://www.blackamericaweb.com/?q=blog_inner/29954/1573138/Cheriewhite/1).
Halperin is editor of Time Magazine and a regular guest on MSNBC TV network. Last week, on live TV, he called President Obama a “dick.” He was immediately suspended indefinitely from the TV network (he did issue an apology).
Well, Tom, I could make the same argument against you about your blind support for Obama. It is well documented that I, as a Black Republican, voted for Obama in 2008. I was hopeful that he could and would deliver on the promises he made as a candidate; but just as important, use the historic nature of his presidency to bring a different perspective to some of the issues that have plagued the Black community. This is what I hear in West’s criticism of Obama. Smiley seems more angry and hateful and therefore I kind of tune him out. But West’s criticism is in sync with what I have been writing in my columns for the past two years.
So, Tom, can you really make a thoughtful argument for Obama’s reelection without injecting the name of Bush, Republicans, or racism?
Can you justify why Obama would meet with Marc Morial, Ben Jealous, or Al Sharpton, in February of last year to discuss the high unemployment rate in the Black community? These are three people who have never created one job. Did you not find this insulting? Do you think the president would have met with non practicing Jews to discuss Judaism?
Can you explain to me why you and the president support amnesty for the estimated 30 million illegals in the U.S.? Especially when around 7 million of these illegals will enter the workforce and compete with other low and under skilled people (mostly Blacks). If you are concerned with the high unemployment rate in the Black community, how then does this make sense?
Can you explain to me why you and the president are spending so much political capital pursuing a gay rights agenda even though most Blacks are against it?
But, when it comes to issues of particular concern to the Black community, the president’s response is, “I am president of all of America, not just a narrow special interest group.”
Where has the president expended any political capital on behalf of issues of particular interest to the Black community? So, the gays get all sorts of gay rights, Hispanics get a Supreme Court Justice, amnesty, and the D.R.E.A.M. Act; and Blacks folks get “I’m president of all of America.”
So, Tom, while you have done a lot of good in your life, especially with raising $ 55 million for Black college students, this does not give you a pass on your moral obligation to educate your listeners, not indoctrinate!
You are without doubt an apologist for Obama, but the worst thing you can do is continue to lead your audience into blind support for the president.
In your profession, if you don’t deliver certain demographics, you get fired. Next year Obama will face a similar standard. I challenge you to lay out your argument for Obama’s reelection based on substance, not race.
For you to continue to spew misinformation or incomplete information to your audience is more damaging than anything someone with a white hood over his head has ever done.
If you truly believe in liberalism (as you claim) when will you allow a free flowing exchange of information from both parties to take place on your show and in your town hall meetings?
You have made a name for yourself in the area of education, but when will your bring that reputation to your radio show?
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & USAfrica Magazine (www.USAfricaonline.com).