Anatomy of a truth-stretch: Far-right pundits do Cornel West a nasty disservice

Rush Limbaugh says of Princeton University and Union Theological Seminary professor and progressive commentator Cornel West:

RUSH: Not happy. Not happy. What this means is that Cornel West is not happy that the age of Obama is where black folk find themselves pushed to the back of the bus again while their gay brothers and lesbian sisters are more and more pushed to the center and the front of the bus. So, according to Cornel West, even with the first black president, he cares more about and is spending more time on gays and lesbians than he is on his own folk, on his own people. And, Cornel, that's cause they got more money. They have more money to donate. I don't mean to insult you, but I mean that's why. Cornel's right. He's totally right about this. Cornel, the black folk vote is assumed. It's taken for granted. Why not? They get 93% of it every election. They don't have to work for it. But the gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, they donate a lot of money, and they have to be paid back, so they get to move to the center of the bus, the front of the bus. Obama's at the front of the bus. [FULL Transcript]

National Review also claims West isn't happy, in a headline that screams:

Cornel West: Blacks ‘Being Pushed to the Back of the Bus’ in Favor of Gays and Lesbians [NRO]

In fact, it's all over the conservative media space.  Drudge headlined it, anti-gay pundits like Matt Barber retweeted it, and any number of folks who want to score points against LGBTs or the White House are using words like "not happy" to imply that Mr. West is upset with both President Obama and the LGBT community.

All of them are basing their commentary on this one clip, which has gone viral in the conservative blogosphere:

This is the truncated clip/transcript that every one of these commentators, from Rush to every random blogger, have used to create division.  This :44 second version of events has become the gospel, making West sound angry at gays for supposedly edging out Blacks and angry at the President for supposedly helping this happen.  

Only thing?  West did NOTHING OF THE SORT.  In fact, Mr. West clearly noted that this is not a choice between the two struggles.  He called the DOMA and Prop 8 rulings a "magnificent triumph" and said that it was a "beautiful thing" to hear LGBT humanity affirmed.  Mr. West says he is "elated" by this blow to homophobia, and instantly after the point where the conservatives cut it off—literally, the second after the cut—West makes it clear that, for him, "it's not in any way and either/or."

And how do I know this?  Well, because unlike these who are out for a hit piece, I actually went and listened to Mr. West's fully extrapolated views:


[SOURCE: The Smiley & West Show; 60/30/13]

This clip, when allowed to play in its full form, is a clear repudiation of the narrative that folks like Limbaugh and outlets like National Review are trying to carve.  Yes, Mr. West, like many of us, is upset that the Supreme Court went the way it did on Voting Rights and Affirmative Action.  And yes, he does note the irony of these blows coming down under this historic presidency.  However, he isn't blaming the President for it, and he certainly isn't blaming LGBT people.  

It's obvious that whoever initiated this meme (it seems to have begun with Brian Maloney, who describes himself as a "rabble rouser" for the right) deliberately cut the clip as he or she did.  It was a choice.  No one who cared about authenticity would have cut the clip there, excising such important information on either side.  This is a hit job, plain and simple.  And yet incredibly prominent outlets ran it without any sort of fact-checking or apparent concern.

I'm so used to seeing this kind of thing, that the obvious attempts to skew truth would be funny if they weren't so damaging to our nation. 

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As a Major League Baseball umpire for the past 29 seasons, Dale Scott has worked three World Series, three All-Star Games, two no-hitters and numerous playoff games. He is also the first out active male official in the MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL, and the first Major League Baseball umpire to publicly say he is gay while active.