Accuracy in Media


In his article, “Kanye West’s new pals don’t want to free your mind — they want to destroy welfare,” Mic.com reporter Jack Smith IV ignored major aspects of history and relied on anonymous sourcing — or none at all — for his imbalanced reporting.

“Over the past two weeks, Kanye West emerged from a months-long period of relative silence to espouse a familiar conservative theory about black America,” Smith wrote. “The rapper, who on TMZ this week seemed to indicate that 400 years of slavery was a ‘choice’ for black Americans, and has also alluded to the contentious theory of the ‘Democratic plantation.’

“This theory — which can be traced back nearly 40 years — goes something like this: Welfare is a tool by the Democratic party to weaken and subjugate black communities to keep them as a depressed underclass that will remain reliant and, naturally, vote Democrat. It’s not that black Americans interests are at odds with the Republican party platform, it’s that black people haven’t, as he put it in lyrics on a recently dropped track, ‘made it off the plantation’ of slavish devotion to the Democratic Party.”

“Mic reached out to several experts on welfare,” Smith writes, and was unable to find a source to back up his claim.

Smith failed to report that Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who greatly expanded welfare by creating the Great Society Programs of the 1960s, was a flagrant racist who. Johnson reportedly frequently used the n-word, including when he reportedly told two governors that because of his efforts  “I’ll have those n*****s voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” (as reported by author former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reporter Ronald Kessler).

Smith also neglected the long history of KKK activism among Democrats.

“The Civil Rights Act — which is best known for barring discrimination in public accommodations — passed the House on Feb. 10, 1964, by a margin of 290-130,” according to a report from Politifact. “When broken down by party, 61 percent of Democratic lawmakers voted for the bill (152 yeas and 96 nays), and a full 80 percent of the Republican caucus supported it (138 yeas and 34 nays). When the Senate passed the measure on June 19, 1964, — nine days after supporters mustered enough votes to end the longest filibuster in Senate history — the margin was 73-27. Better than two-thirds of Senate Democrats supported the measure on final passage (46 yeas, 21 nays), but an even stronger 82 percent of Republicans supported it (27 yeas, 6 nays).”

Without experts on record to support his assertion, Smith said, “The intended audience for Democratic plantation theory isn’t black Americans. It’s white Americans. The function of the plantation myth is to assuage any fear, in an age when white nationalists march by torchlight wearing the president’s red MAGA hat, that racism is still a staple of conservatism.”

But black Americans have seen record unemployment under President Trump — lowest since record keeping began — meaning that black households are seeing a greater influx of wealth and revenue; employment is associated with lifting people out of poverty. Smith did not report the failed experiment in Finland around unconditional welfare, aka Universal Basic Income, which proved unsustainable and was recently shuttered.

 




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