Moral Low Ground


Daily Show’s Jon Stewart Eviscerates Fox News’ Hannity over Rapper Common’s White House Invite Controversy

By now you may have heard that First Lady Michelle Obama invited Chicago poet and rapper Common to the White House, along with some of our nation’s other pre-eminent wordsmiths, for a poetry evening that took place last night. You may have also heard about the furious right-wing reaction. Common, whose real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., has many leading conservatives madder than old wet hens because some of his earlier work contains lyrics that seem to advocate the shooting of police officers and the burning of former President George W. Bush. These reactionaries, armed with lyric sheets and zero understanding of hip hop or the often harsh realities of inner city life in America (how can they when they live in predominantly white, gated communities or Park Avenue penthouses?), pathetically butchered Common’s lyrics and completely missed the message in his music as they pitifully attempted to make sense of his poetry by analyzing ink on paper at face value.

un-Common artistry. (Photo: Tumoas Vitikainen)

They probably never even listened to his critically-acclaimed (he’s won eight major awards, including two Grammys) music. They probably don’t know (or don’t care) that Common was raised by mother with a PhD and a father who was a youth counselor, or that he attended Florida A&M University, where he majored in business administration– a degree he’s certainly put to good use in the music and entertainment industry. Nine albums and eleven films later, they should be celebrating his attainment of the American Dream. But no, all they see are some old lyrics, and ones taken out of context at that. The guy has been in Gap ads, a romantic comedy, an animal rights commercial (turns out he’s a vegan) and appeared on Sesame Street as Elmo’s sidekick, for fuck’s sake!

Particularly and characteristically hard on Common was Fox News blowhard Sean Hannity, who dedicated a sizable chunk of his program to dissing Common and excoriating President Obama for his wife’s invitation. Hannity once again proved the consummate hypocrite, repeatedly slamming Common for his violent, purportedly cop-killing-crazy, rhymes.

“If this was somebody who used the same type of rhetoric about violence against President Obama I would be against it,” Hannity declared. Oh, really? What about washed-up 70s rocker Ted Nugent, who called President Obama a “piece of shit” who he’d like to “suck on his machine gun?” When asked if he was “prepared to disavow this lowlife,” Hannity defensively retorted “No, I like Ted Nugent. He’s a friend of mine.” Indeed, the hate-spewing Nugent is a regular guest on Fox News, including on Hannity’s program.

It’s not even like Common is the first controversial rapper to be invited to appear with a President. Believe it or not, gangsta rap godfather Eazy-E, who while with NWA (Niggaz With Attitude) achieved notoriety with songs like “Fuck the Police” (“And when I’m finished/ it’s gonna be a bloodbath/Of cops, dyin in LA”), appeared at an event headlined by then-President George H. W. Bush. “Democrats, eat your hearts out!” boasted GOP communications chief Wendy Burnely.

Well, leave it to Jon Stewart over at Comedy Central’s The Daily Show to properly skewer these reactionary hypocrites for dissing Common and the Obamas. And that’s exactly what he does in this, one of the most stingingly hilarious segments he’s done in a while. And that’s saying a lot, being that Stewart is about the funniest guy on basic cable these days. Enjoy!
Part I:

Part II:

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