David Horowitz vs Cornel West

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David Horowitz is all sour grapes over Cornel West's relative academic success. Jealousy in academia? I'm shocked. Anyway, he gets the microphone because he has thrown in his lot with the rightwing shouting heads. Too bad Thom tried to have a debate with someone who by definition tries to avoid the discussion of actual facts. David Horowitz even tried to blame Martha Coakley's loss to Scott Brown on 'the radical healthcare reform'. From back in 2006:

Horowitz: "Cornel West is a black airhead"

June 02, 2006 12:29 pm ET

COMMENTS: Horowitz: Cornel West is a 'political animal'

Evan Derkacz at 8:42 AM on May 26, 2006.

Welcome, Media Matters readers... and for those who didn't arrive via MM, be sure to see their post on Horowitz's further comments.

David Horowitz, former 60s lefty-cum-rightwing-loony-tunes, has made a little name for himself with his recent attack screed on liberal academia: The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.

It's comical. He's nothing more than a frightened paranoiac with a budget. Unfortunately, the idea that academia is churning out radical lefties via classroom polemics is one cherished by the right wing whose very existence depends on the very obfuscations and demagoguery academia both counteracts and teaches students to identify.

Discourse is the death of the modern conservative ideology; garlic to its vampire, water to its wicked witch, Oprah to its Tom Cruise.

In the course of spewing his McCarthy-esque tripe ("I estimate that there are 50,000 to 60,000 radical professors who want the terrorists to win and us to lose the war on terror.") to an eager Pat Robertson, Horowitz settles on Cornel West as the locus of his ire: "They are just political animals; that’s all Cornell West [sic] is."

To begin with, it should be pointed out that in the nation's top universities, African-American representation goes from offensive to paltry. Anywhere from less than 1% of tenured faculty are black to a high of 4.3%. In other words, you'd need to go out of your way to pluck a black professor for your rant about the nature of academia.

This doesn't stop Horowitz whose long history of -- let's say -- racial insensitivity has been documented by Media Matters and Al Franken as well as his Center for the Study of the Study of Popular Culture having been chosen by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of 17 organizations which "support efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable."

My personal favorite is from his 2001 ad he sought to publish on the last day of Black History Month in opposition to the idea of reparations for slavery. Among the reasons he lists: "What About the Debt Blacks Owe to America?"

Yeah, what about the back rent, right David?

Horowitz has the temerity to call Cornel West a "radical [ranter]" who couldn't "produce a scholarly paper." He continues: "That is one of the scandals. These people don’t write scholarly books. Their credentials are really fraudulent. They are just political animals; that’s all Cornell West is."

2.5% of Princeton's tenured professors are black and he chooses Cornel West, an American Book Award winner and distinguished intellectual, to make his point? Horowitz knew his audience and used coded language to buttress a baseless argument.

Even worse, Horowitz is pathological enough to fancy himself a "civil rights activist" in his bio, writing that he's: "a defender of the rights of minorities and other groups under attack -- including the rights of blacks, gays, women, Jews, Muslims, Christians and white males."

MrK's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm


Agreed. Horowitz also had to play the Farrakhan card. We all remember when he was calling Jews bad names and how the Nation of Islam failed to honor the vision of Malcolm X. But that was then, and now Louis is all about peace, love and black solidarity. It is a response to racism, not a doctrine of racism that he is preaching now.

I was shocked at how smart and open he was in a recent Tavis Smiley CSpan event. Cornell was there too, and Horowitz can't carry his briefcase. But the best comments came from the women who tended to have less official rank and title, but who came with the authority of experience and being there.

Back in the day, the Classics faculty got their togas in a twist over "Women's and Ethnic Studies" and the suggestion that authors outside the Western Canon were worthy of study for undergraduates. The irony was everywhere, but they did not get it. The profs in ethnic and women's studies knew the Western Canon the Classics Dept. saw as the whole ball of wax. They had no awareness of the literature they were dissing, only that it was not on their list of Great Literature.

Only White people think that "ethnicity" is threatening because they do not see themselves as "ethnic." The White Lie again. European/Americans of varying religious traditions are both ethnic and parochial. They need to own that and give up the White Lie. Same for the defenders of Western Civilization and American history. The history of the failure of the White Lie might be worth studying.

DRC's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I just heard Horowitz on Thom's show and he sounds as nothing but a neo-con, so what's to discuss? Guys like him have nothing of value to offer, but I do feel that they should be understood as the threat that they are. For example, he derides West for not being for the authoritarianism that is the Patriot Act. An Act that simply grew government because the belligerent Republicans and the scared Democrats couldn't govern competently through amending existing law to provide for communications between law enforcement and intelligence agencies needed to confront the terrorist threat.

Oh well.

jeffbiss's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I guess I fundamentally disagree with Thom on talking to this individual. He is a bigot of the first waters and he should be shunned imo. Not shut up but shunned.

He has no legitimate alternate viewpoint to present. There is no real venue for interchange there. Giving him time only legitimizes him and there is already enough of that on the screaming cable channels. I won't watch him or listen him.

EFerrari's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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