Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tavis Smiley vs President Obama; Or Has Tavis Finally Made it to Never-Never Land.

May 30, 2013 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( It seems that Tavis Smiley believes that he’s so important that the President of the United States is engaged in a covert conspiracy against him.

Michael H. Cottman reported in his commentary, “Tom Joyner’s Opinion on Tavis Smiley’s White House Accusations,” that “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.”
As Cottman alluded to in his commentary, the mere fact that Tavis Smiley failed to identify exactly who in the Obama administration “convinced sponsors” to stop funding his ventures, and exactly which sponsors he’s talking about, is particularly telling. That’s not like Smiley. If he had any evidence whatsoever to support his allegation he’d be holding one of his PBS “gibfests,” complete with “expert analysis” by the prince of gesticular verbosity, Dr. Cornel West, pointing his finger at the president, andPovertyTour condemning the people in the administration who were involved.
Because the fact is, even if the corporations involved didn’t want to reveal themselves, he could have at least attributed his allegation to “a source who wants to remain anonymous.”
But why would Tavis’s corporate benefactors even want to hide the fact that they were being pressured by Obama? Trying to put pressure on Walmart, Nationwide Insurance, or Exxon/Mobile would not only be extremely dumb on the part of the administration, but it would be a gift from God to Tavis’s ALEC connected corporate benefactors. Can you just imagine what Darrell Issa could do with something like that in his House Oversight Kangaroo Committee? He’d turn it into Watergate.
So it seems that yet again Tavis Smiley is being deluded by his overblown ego – the same ego that made him assume that Obama had an obligation to come on his “State of the Black Union” show to be anointed by Tavis to run for president; the same ego that made him think that he’s been slighted when Obama failed to do so; the same ego that caused him to go all over the media complaining that “For the very first time in my career I haven’t been invited to the White House;” and the very same ego that made him think that he had enough clout in the Black community to challenge the first Black president of the United States.
The fact is, President Obama hasn’t given either Tavis Smiley, or Cornel West, a second thought since he’s been in office. He hasn’t had to, because he, like just about everyone else in America – at least, with good sense – could see that he didn’t have to. Tavis and West were making themselves look like perfect fools on their own accord, so the president didn’t have to say, or do a thing. All he had to do was sit back and watch them implode – and that’s exactly what he’s done.
It’s a monument to Tavis’ lack of foresight that he couldn’t see this coming. In October of last year in an open letter to Pacifica Radio I wrote the following:
“Tavis and West have become the new Amos & Andy of the Black community, and their trajectory is identical. They not only fail to represent Black interests, but they’ve become a major liability and embarrassment to many in the community. This will become more readily apparent as they begin to lose the major corporate sponsors currently propping them up – corporations that make it their business to know what’s going on in the community. Once these major corporations begin to see that these two have become liabilities rather than assets, they’re going to drop them like hot rivets. They probably already see it, but Tavis and West are still of marginal value – at least, until after the election.”
And later on the Smiley and West website I wrote,
“The only thing that Tavis and West have to sell is the Black community, and once they lose that, which they’re currently hemorrhaging, they become a liability rather than an asset to their corporate benefactors. At that point, they become irrelevant.

So if I could see this coming over the horizon, why couldn’t Tavis Smiley? It’s quite simple – because his all consuming and gargantuan ego blinded him to reality.

Staff Writer; Eric L. Wattree
More thought provoking articles feel free to visit; The Wattree Chronicle.


21 Responses to “Tavis Smiley vs President Obama; Or Has Tavis Finally Made it to Never-Never Land.”
  1. Keira Henry says:

    Agree or not? but I really don’t care. Obama has done many steps to remove the poverty from the state and it is the act that I like very much about him. Obama has been a great president for his country.

  2. talk is cheap says:

    nicodemus good observation……….no matter where business is conducted 9 times out of 10 it’s not done by them nor do they have the capital.

  3. Eric L. Wattree says:


    You bring up an interesting point. But the fact is, there are many in this country who don’t judge a happy and/or successful based on how many corporate accounts they have. Many of us have the intelligence to understand that, that’s not what life is all about.

    People who dedicate their lives to trying to make and hoard money are trying to prove their significance, while those who are comfortable in comfortable in who we are dedicate our lives to living.

    Personally, I couldn’t be more happy if I were a billionaire – and I’m sure that I’m much happier than most billionaire. I love writing, and I can write – and be paid for it; I love music, and I can play the saxophone – and get paid for it if I choose; I love jazz, and one of the greatest jazz singers in the world today is madly in love with me. So what do I need with a corporation? My life is dedicated to doing what I love doing, whenever I feel like doing it, and I don’t have to answer to anybody. That’s what life is about, so what more could a billion dollars buy me?

  4. Rameses says:

    nicodemus….what you will find out as you research more and more business matters business is done on public and private levels…..many billion and million dollar deals are done quietly…’s a vast territory out here in terms of achieving commercial success….@ Eric the knowledge is power motif is true, especially in an information age….many blacks process garbage information which is why they live garbage lives

  5. nicodemus says:

    funny how some seem to have all the answers but have no corporation or industry to show how all this’success” has paid off. Among my people there are none rich. We have the have nots and the little bit more than

  6. Eric L. Wattree says:

    I keep hearing so-called Black activists talking about how the “White Supremacist” system is holding the Black man down. But can’t these so-called intellectuals see that if White Supremacy can hold the Black man down, that means that the White man is indeed supreme!!!? It’s directly analogous to a man going home and telling his family that he can’t feed them because “Willie won’t let him.” If Willie can prevent him from feeding his family, that means that Willie is the better man. Thus, every time we say, “the White man won’t let me,” we’re reinforcing the idea in our own minds that the White man is superior to us. It shouldn’t take Socrates to see that simple fact of logic.
    While I understand that “the White man” has a system in place that is designed to give him the upper hand, all the whining in the world is not going to change that system. How long have we been whining so far, and what has it done for us? It hasn’t done us a damn bit of good, has it? No it hasn’t, and it never will.
    The fact is, we will never be able to out-whine, out-scream, or out-fight, the White man. The only way we’re going to overcome the denigrating effects of his system is to OUT-THINK him. So what we need to do is shut up and stop telegraphing every thought we think; Turn off BET, MTV, and ESPN; and start educating ourselves so we’ll have something of substance to bring to the table.
    The only hope for the Black man is to make knowledge, the new soul, because God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. Thus, it’s no longer enough to simply say “I’m Black and I’m proud;” it is long past time for us to start investing in our excellence, so we’ll have something to be proud of.
    The axiom that “Knowledge is power” is no myth. The truth of that assertion has been repeatedly proven throughout human history. Therefore, with very few exceptions, it has been the most knowledgeable who have ultimately prevailed. So those who simply continue to advocate what’s been repeatedly tried and has failed miserably – attempting to whine, complain, and protest their way to equality – are on a fool’s errand. It’s time, therefore, to give the novel and completely obvious a try – the acquisition of excellence, and the strength of knowledge.

  7. jdgwisd says:

    As Chris Rock would say:
    There are black folks, and there are Ni…s. and I hate ni…s!!! I was disappointed with the pseudo intellectualism shown by Vessey: Off topic not really addressing the points Eric had addressed. But you can’t teach someone who refuse to see the reality of Black exploitation by “our own.” Some of our worse enemies in trying to navigate American society has been those people who will “pretend to love while all of the time hating.”(excerpt from Dr. MLK’S sermon A KNOCK AT MIDNIGHT.) We are in some of the places we are in as a people due to the fact that some black folks accept erudite speech as a pillar of strong intellect. The Smileys and Wests of the world understand this. Hence the Poverty Tours. True intellect is the ability to see with clarity; to use only when necessary, and never to condensend.

  8. rameses says:

    the fact that they think they are putting in work is telling in itself….even the “black conscious/civil rights” movements was a planned exercise by people who think 1000 years down the line while negroes thin day-to-day…these people think that black studies was their idea…….they have been duped for a very long time….this so-called movement was never a movement: it was a staged event by greater powers. In the words of Malcolm these coons have been “hoodwinked and bamboozled.” Black studies/black liberation theology is a con job. These people do not know how to interface with the world they live in. Race is and always has been an illusion. At the end of the day there are the haves and have nots. And based on what you have, your life experience wil be a certain way. I saw a caucasian woman on CNBC who became a millionaire by painting designs on martini glasses and was eventually able to sell them in macy’s…..a simple idea that allowed this woman to become wealthy……how? because she used her imagination….negroes have lost their ability to imagine and this is why they sell crack, strip in strip clubs, and try to use outdated intellectual mumbo jombo that has proven to not be viable…..I had to call the ploice on a gay black male here in Atlanta for trying to solicit sex from me a few weks back…my first instincts was to whip his ass but something told me this was what he wanted…a confrontation…he was hateful because I was dressed professionally and was about business and he looked like he was homeless selling sex for a bite to eat…now do I feel a kinship with this dude or his “struggle?” Hell no because we are not family. This dude would have gladly taken th opportunity to fight, tear up my clothes and try to bring me down if I let him. But I handled things in a civilized way and the police dealt with him. Once the police saw how he acted, they didn’t need to even really question me. We are surrounded by uncivilized monkeys who we think are apaprt of some struggle with us when the reality really is us struggling to get away from these coons!!! why do we move to “white” neighborhoods? Not because we want to be white like many sorry black people claim. It’s because we know we can’t get peace around these coons. If you were a doctor and tried to live in the hood, how long do you think would you last? Negroes would be stealing your car, breaking into your home all the time. And then would say “nigga think he better than me.” Why do niggas say that? Because they know you are better than them when you’re civilized. my friend who’s living in Brazil now said “the most hurtful thing out here, after all my accomplishments, is being grouped in the same category with these worthless niggas.” I said the more successful you are, the less you have to worry about that because you won’t be in the same environments these clowns are in. Before these niggas can criticize Barack, or republicans, or foreginers, or anyone else, they need to clean up their own house first. We all know they won’t don’t do that

  9. Eric L. Wattree says:


    The problem with these “Bligots” is, they’re jealous. They figure that they’ve been putting in all the work of lying to the people and trying to build their reputations for years, and then Obama pops up out of nowhere, steps over them, and becomes President of the United States. It’s driving them crazy, in the very same way that it’s driving the Republicans crazy.

    They all felt like big shots before Obama came along. But now, with him becoming president, it diminishes their accomplishments. So Obama’s very presence is a pie in the face of their delusions of grandeur.

  10. rameses says:

    i agree….but it’s ironic though….many of these “intellectual” negroes didn’t even consider Obama “black.” Some said “well his dad wasn’t really black, he was African, so he really doesn’t know the struggle of black people since he grew up around whites.” LOL….so the very political establishment, who came out in droves in support of Hillary, are piping hot that they have to bow down to a “light-skinned” nigga!!! I love it. Obama to many of these slave-minded niggas is the overseer who was fathered by the plantation owner who is whipping their asses…..I love this dynamic….only difference is his daddy is dark as night. But you get the logic. Boyce is a woman masquerading as a man and so are the rest of these civil rights dinosaurs. 50 cent went from selling crack to to being a boxing promoter with no college degree!!!!!!! who will I listen to more? Someone who has done more with less because 50 cent is more in tuned with the ancestors than these bourgeoisie niggas who keep running to master for handouts. And in terms of holding a coalition together, there is no black coalition to hold together. You got blacks who support more the gay struggle (whatever that is) than the “race” struggle (whatever that is). “Black” has become so convoluted as a term, it has no meaning anymore. There is no side which lets you know that you have to do for self and put yourself around a small team and get things done that way. Black organizations are an oxymoron because blacks and being organized just doesn’t seem to go together on a large scale. I give you a lot of credit: you go hard but they will never listen. Can you imagine what malcolm felt like to feel like he was up against white folks and his own? Malcolm’s death proved that we have been dealing with a devilish people who claim they wanted to be free, got free, and did nothing with the freedom but squander it and now have allowed foreigners come and accomplish more in one generation than they do in three…….go figure

  11. Eric L. Wattree says:


    Very insightful. People like Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, and Boyce Watkins are going out of their way NOT to tell the Black community that the United States Constitution gives sole control of spending to the United States House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republican Party. So the only way that President Obama can spend any money to assist the Black community is to get the Republican House to go along with him.
    That’s why it’s so important for the president to hold together a coalition of Blacks, women, gays, Hispanics, and every other segment of the American population. He needs ALL of us to place pressure on the Republicans to loosen the purse strings in order for him to get anything done. So anytime you hear Tavis, West, or Watkins pointing their finger at what President Obama is doing for any other segment of the population, they’re doing you a disservice.
    Here’s how politics works – you support me when I need you, and I’ll support you when you need me. So whenever President Obama does anything for other segments of the population, he’s building up political capital so he can help you. But, he doesn’t discuss what he’s doing for the Black community for a very good reason – as Cornel says himself (when it’s convenient), “Race Matters.”
    These gentlemen know full well that if President Obama runs around bragging about what he’s doing for the Black community, the Republicans are going to use that as leverage to tear his coalition apart. They would tell women, gays, Hispanics, and everyone else in America that Obama doesn’t care about them, all he wants to do is help his own people, and that message hurts the Black community. Don’t these so-called intellectuals recognize that? If they don’t, they’re dumb. If they do, that means that they’re purposely trying to mislead you. The question then, is why?

    So the fact is, when people like Tavis, West, and Watkins run around telling you that the proof that President Obama is not working for you is that he refuses to throw his fist in the air, these people are working against you, not for you – and they know it. You see, their primary agenda is NOT about helping the Black community. Their agenda is about tearing President Obama down, and that hurts you.

  12. rameses says:

    I ask one question: what has the W.E.B. DuBois intellectual model accomplished for black people in the past let’s say 110 years? I want to see what intellectual UFC fights has produced for black people. Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, back and forth, blah blah blah blah. Where are the results though? Sound like a bunch of weak niggas blowing hot air. Go blow that hot air into a balloon and sail the hell away. DuBois lost. He did all he could do to undermine Washington and Garvey only to realize he was wrong. Then had the nerve to want to get buried in Ghana like he was really about Panafricanism. LOL…laughable indeed. This bourgeoisie negro wrote a lot of eloquent things that didn’t produce one dime. Sounds familiar huh? Now we got the gay Tavis Smiley’s and pseudo-intellectuals like Michael Eric Dyson who flap their gums so much that by the time they finish talking, you don’t know what the conversation was really about. And I love to debate. But these fools don’t debate: they waste time. Your time black people. They always tell you what’s wrong with you, but never give you any tools on how to get right. Begging the government is not the way out or an economic model. Sadly, they keep you coming back the trough of intellectualism, thinking it will solve your woes. No. A refined spirit and economics will solve your problems. That’s about it

  13. Eric L. Wattree says:


    One question – make that two:

    Why did you feel compelled to give me your resume? And what’s with the newfound pedantic tone?

    I’m not interested in your “credentials.” If you’re about anything worthy of respect, it’ll reveal itself in your ability to think, which I’m now about to examine. You said,

    “Since you have obviously never taken a class in logic . . .”

    First, that’s called an “unwarranted assumption,” and it constitutes a flaw in logical thinking. You have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not I’ve ever taken a class in syllogistic logic, so making such an assumption constitutes treading down a precarious road, as I intend to demonstrate to you.

    And secondly, your assumption is, unless I’ve taken a class in syllogistic logic, it follows that I’m incapable of logical thought. Well, the fact is, simple common sense should suggest to you that the concept and development of logical thought came first, and only THEN did man begin to develop classes to teach others to apply the concept. Thus, your implication that a class must come before logical thought is illogical. It doesn’t follow, or as logicians refer to it, a non sequitur.

    Then you went on to indulge in a gross generalization. Anyone schooled in freshman logic knows that’s never a wise thing to do. Let me show you why. You said,

    “The critique of the individual over the message is a logical fallacy known as an ad hominem attack.”

    You’re correct, as far as you went, but you must have missed class the day that professor discussed the exceptions to that rule. The fact is, an ad hominem attack is only inappropriate if the individual’s character isn’t a part of the issue being discussed. So if the debate is over whether or not the opinions of Tavis and West are credible, their character, or lack thereof, by definition, becomes an intrinsic and legitimate part of the debate.

    But you Keep on coming, Vessey. I not only encourage, but I love to see a brother trying to stretch his brain – especially when he’s a “nationally recognized speaker,” and is “the best in America” at what he does . . . “which is entrepreneurship based economic development, and urban core strategic economic development.”

    Wow, brother! That’s quite a mouthful. So you go, boy! You damn near woke me up from my nap.

  14. Marcus Vessey says:

    Eric. Let me be clear, I think it is my accountability to add a logical and intelligent response to your foolishness. In the same way you ILLOGICALLY continue to rail against Tavis and West for the sole purpose of defending Obama’s terrible record on both poverty and Black people.

    Since you have obviously never taken a class in logic, the critique of the individual over the message is a logical fallacy known as an ad hominem attack. The fact that you continue to talk about things completely unrelated to their actual argument shows me you are just emoting on your keyboard.

    **If that is what you want to do that is cool. But it is a shallow and superficial way of addressing the relating of our condition.**

    In regard to reading what I have written…I have written two articles, so you barely have read what exactly? The two pieces I have written in the span of a week, two months ago LOL…come on champ, stop trying to use sarcasm as a logical response to a consistent critique of your work.

    Finally, I don’t think some of your writing isn’t OK. At points you demonstrate the capacity to do some brilliant and subtle analysis. I ALWAYS give you kudos for that. The problem is that it is not consistent, or you diverge into the simplistic and superficial analysis that I beat you up for all the time.

    Look bro, I need no acknowledgement from you. I am one of the best in America at what I do, which is entrepreneurship based economic development, and urban core strategic economic development. I am a nationally recognized speaker and project designer on the subject and have many on the ground direct urban core development projects going on in various cities. My particular emphasis is a focus on Black economic empowerment, and I am one of less than 1500 people in the world with the economic development certifications to do what I do and write about what I write about, which I don’t write about on this site. I am a Black man who believes in the Dr. Claude Anderson approach to Black empowerment, and I practice what I preach EVERYDAY. I am not a progressive intellectual masturbator.

    My point is, I support YOU because I support THIS SITE. So regardless of whether I agree with some of your stupidity, I support the concept of Black diversity of thought and the ability to free thinking Black folks to write, debate and think about ideas in different ways. So I WILL keep reading you, and I will keep lighting you up when you write illogical stupid stuff.

  15. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Thank you, jdgwisd,

    That is my intent. Smiley and West have a malevolent and self-serving element within the Black community. Brothers like this need to be placed under a microscope and publically dissected. That will discourage others from trying to pimp the community in the future. Thus, reputations of such people should be, literally, dragged through the mud.

  16. jdgwisd says:

    Hello Eric and Vessey:

    It’s interesting how we as African American folks will not liberate our sensibilities as it relates to individuals who we come to love…..whether it be POTUS,civil rights leader, social leader/pimp……. It’s all of our responsibilities to “call out” those individuals who would pimp our communities for their own benefit. It’s done all over the world all of the time. People are killed for questioning the lack of the emperor’s new clothes. If Eric will not call out people who profit from our people’s misery, then he has failed as a citizen of America, and as a member of a spiritual culture. Jesus himself said that “if I wont speak out, the rocks will cry out” about injustice. It’s time to stop coddling those of us who “are full of sound and fury, but signify nothing.” I’m personally tired of any person who waste my time with rhetoric. I’m more interested in what someone is doing, not what they say……So Messrs. Smiley and West signify nothing……and corporate America has caought up with them.

  17. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Thank you, Satchel.

    We’re doing our best to slam the door on those two once and for all, and not just due to vindictiveness – and I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit that I do indeed feel a bit of vindictiveness towards them – but in order to make an example of them, and give the next group of Black demagogues something to think about before they decide to try to play the Black community.

  18. Satchel says:

    I thought the Smiley/West duo had all but disappeared as advocates for Black American interests. They must be thinking the Black Community has forgotten their credibility destroying Poverty Tour or Cheer leading for the Wells Fargo sub-Prime Mortgage scheme. Keep on exposing BS Eric.

  19. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Vessey, you said,
    “The more you write, the more utterly ridiculous and foolish you sound Eric. Really man, AGAIN???”
    Let me ask you, Vessey – and I really want you to think about this – what’s more ridiculous, what I’m writing, or your continuously ranting about how ridiculous my writings are, yet, keep coming back to read it? I rarely even bother to read what you’ve written. I vote with my feet, as it were. So it seems appropriate that I ask you, “Really man, AGAIN???” What are you doing here? Are you a glutton for punishment, or what?
    Then you go on to say,
    “You can hate on Tavis’ perspective of Obama (one I share and many other folks do too) but you can’t deny the activities he has put together to address the issue of poverty.”
    Yes I can. Over 90% of the Black community can see that everything that Tavis and West has been engaged in has been self-serving – either to promote themselves, to sell books, or to spew their jealous hatred of President of Obama. That’s exactly why he’s complaining about slipping into irrelevancy now. That’s also why I could predict that his pending irrelevancy was on the horizon. And I can’t think of one person who is less poor as a result of Tavis’ “Poverty Tour;” but I CAN think of 5000 people who lost their homes or are much more poor as a result of Tavis helping to heard them into the Wells Fargo “Ghetto Loan” scam.
    Then you went on to say,
    “You are becoming obsessive, find something else to write about because this is really getting played out.”
    My continuing response to that is, then why did you bother to read it again?” I went after these two in exactly the way that self-serving turncoats in the Black community should have been gone after 400 years ago, and how we should continue to go after such people in the future. So while my so-called “obsession” has a purpose, it is your obsession, WITH MY OBSESSION, that’s foolish. And don’t try to tell me what to write about. You should be directing your concerns towards what YOU want to write about, and stop trying to act as my editor. What I decide to write about is none of your business.
    And by the way, I think you are, indeed, a glutton for punishment. But want not, you keep coming, and I’ll be happy to keep accommodating you. It’s become one of my great joys in life.

  20. Marcus Vessey says:

    The more you write, the more utterly ridiculous and foolish you sound Eric. Really man, AGAIN??? You can hate on Tavis’ perspective of Obama (one I share and many other folks do too) but you can’t deny the activities he has put together to address the issue of poverty.

    You are becoming obsessive, find something else to write about because this is really getting played out.

  21. ROBERT says:

    I agree with you ERIC our community has too many of these media appointed;leeches who claim to be speaking for us ;but could carelees about our condition.IT’S just too bad you did’nt include;BEN;AL and JESSSE into the equation.

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