Cornel West and Harris-Perry have disagreed publicly before in their varying assessments of President Barack Obama. West and talk show host Tavis Smiley have consistently been harsh on Obama and what they see as his lack of concern for the black community and the poor.
Harris-Perry’s view of the Obama administration has been more balanced, often based on analysis of process and the structural impediments to the sweeping change that many feel President Obama promised. West sees Harris-Perry, and her MSNBC colleague Reverend Al Sharpton, as conciliators to the administration. He also wonders why a civil rights activist like Sharpton wouldn’t be more harsh in his critique of Obama, questioning why he is so close to the administration.
In an interview with theGrio, Rev. Sharpton responded sternly to the assertion that he and Dr. Harris-Perry were somehow rewarded for their support of the Obama administration with shows on MSNBC. “Rewarded by who?,” Sharpton says. “I don’t know if having access to the Obama administration means that one is rewarded… All of these conspiracy theorists need to check facts more clearly.”
Sharpton also posed this rhetorical question, “[w]ho rewarded Tavis Smiley with his show?… Tavis can have a show [and] that’s fine. But if Dr. [Harris] Perry [and] I have a show all of a sudden it’s some kind of a conspiracy theory?… black people are not that stupid.”
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