Tavis Smiley, a persistent critic of President Barack Obama, now claims that the White House is quietly and systematically wrecking his initiatives by pressuring corporate sponsors to drop their support for Smiley’s projects.
Smiley told the Associated Press that members of the Obama administration, whom he didn’t identify, have successfully convinced sponsors to stop funding Smiley’s ventures, including his anti-poverty initiatives.
“This administration does not like to be criticized. And the irony of it is, there’s nothing I have tried to hold the president accountable on that my white progressive colleagues have not,” Smiley told the AP. “They’re labeled courageous critics, but if I say it, I’m an ‘Obama critic.’ There’s race at play in the very question.”
Smiley, who is celebrating his 10th year on the air with PBS television, has also been traveling across the country on his so-called anti-poverty tour where he often criticizes Obama for not talking enough about poverty in America.
“I don’t have an anti-Barack agenda,” Smiley said, “but this is what I do: My job is to raise questions of accountability.”
But Tom Joyner, host of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” said Tuesday that he doesn’t believe the Obama administration is strong-arming Smiley’s sponsors, adding that Smiley’s ratings are low and advertisers are jumping ship.
“Tavis, here’s the problem: Your sponsors are pulling out because you don’t have numbers,” Joyner told his listeners on Tuesday’s show. “That’s your problem. You don’t have a platform. You’re losing affiliates; you’re losing sponsors; not because someone is plotting against you.”
The White House had no comment about Smiley’s allegations, but Smiley’s claims seem especially shaky since he refuses to name the Obama administration officials who he claims are pressuring his sponsors.
So is the White House really overly concerned about Smiley’s criticism of the president? Do unnamed administration officials really spend their waking hours trying to silence Smiley by calling Smiley’s sponsors and threatening them? Does Smiley’s opinion of Obama trump the White House’s concern about putting more Americans back to work, helping to rebuild Moore, Oklahoma after a deadly tornado, and protecting citizens from terrorists?
Or does Smiley, as usual, have an inflated sense of his own self-value and a skewed view of his influence over the White House?
In a month where Republicans have accused Obama of everything imaginable –with the possible exception of Robert Griffin III’s knee injury — it seems that Smiley snagged a timely moment to pile on.
I would argue that the White House doesn’t care enough about Smiley to assemble a team of administration officials who would surreptitiously spend time thinking up new and creative ways to suppress Smiley’s voice.
And, truth be told, some radio executives aren’t listening to Smiley anymore either.
Last year, several public radio stations including Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Boston, cancelled Smiley’s radio show, “Smiley and West,” a radio program which also featured Princeton University Professor Cornel West.
“The show had developed much more of an ‘advocacy’ identity, which is inconsistent with our approach on WBEZ,” said a spokesman for the Chicago station WBEZ. “The goal is to present public affairs content that is reasonably balanced. We feel that Smiley & West had become a departure from this approach.”
Smiley says his self-imposed mandate in life is to hold Obama’s feet to the fire and keep him accountable to black people. That’s his choice and his path to follow, but I don’t believe there’s a clandestine campaign within the Obama administration that is secretly trying to shut Smiley down.
He’s just not that important.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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