Media not happy about that Trump/Kanye photo op

A nifty supercut from the Free Beacon, the lowest moment of which is Don Lemon demeaning West by referring to his Oval Office performance as a “minstrel show.” (Lemon is definitely not part of the Resistance, please note, despite his habitual criticism of Trump and gratuitous defenses of liberal mobs.) What’s arresting about this is how many of the people in it reach to frame their criticism of Kanye in cheap racial terms despite the glaring non-racial problem in yesterday’s photo op: The man is clearly not well. I don’t mean to be flip or intend that as an insult in saying it; he has an illness, he’s been prescribed medication, and he’s no longer taking the dose he’s supposed to take to treat it, by his own admission.

According to a source close to West, people in his inner circle “are telling him that he needs to get back on his medication, that he’s not doing well, that he’s not making any sense.”

“Now he’s in the Oval Office, and he’s doing the same rant, and that’s going to validate his rants,” shares the source…

“No one close to him can tell him that he’s sounding unhinged,” says the source, “because his answer is that the President of the United States doesn’t think so.”

It wasn’t just Trump. The media was happy to carry his rant live and posted extended clips of it. I posted it myself since it was technically “news” and the idea of Trump and Kanye egging each other on in the Oval Office is comically irresistible, although now I regret it. Under any other circumstance, enabling someone in the grip of illness to make a spectacle of himself would be harshly condemned as cruel. But since Kanye’s fantastically rich and famous and since his ideological bent of late has made him an object of derision to the political class, they’re content to capitalize when he embarrasses himself. Any or all of the above could have been offered by his media critics as grounds for not taking him seriously yesterday or to justify a hard knock on Trump for letting that scene in the White House play out.

But in the end, the lesson they thought it was most important lesson to inculcate wasn’t “the mentally ill are entitled to dignity,” it was “if you’re a black man, especially a black man with cultural influence, you do not take sides against the family.” If you do, you’ll be Uncle-Tom’d until you beg for mercy.

Some righties seem to think that Kanye’s Trump-love might have a sort of talismanic effect on black voters, shattering the Democratic grip on that group by showing that you can be pro-Republican and still rule the musical world. Meh. That gives black voters too little credit for why they support the policies they support and too much credit to Lemon et al., as it turns the race-baiting in the clip into a rational if ruthless electoral strategy: We must demonize Kanye to preserve Democrats’ chances in 2020. I don’t think the thought process was as calculated as that. I think it was more of a gut reaction: Punish the race traitor. You come away from it wanting to guard Kanye’s dignity even more jealously. First Trump and the media let him wind himself up for their own reasons, then these clowns are sneering at him for being a “minstrel” when he’s obviously ill? Good lord.

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