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Presidential hometown smackdown: Kanye's a 'jackass'

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Several faithful readers have written to ask why I have yet to comment on hometown hero Kanye West's latest obnoxious outburst at MTV's Video Music Awards Sunday night. (The producer and rapper derailed the acceptance speech by Taylor Swift to assert his critical opinion that Beyonce's video was much better and more deserving of the Best Female Video prize. Thank you, Mr. West.)

Wrote Brian Husar: "Jim, you know I respect you, but why when your hero Kanye West makes an ass of himself as he did last night you never report it (there was nothing out of you and ["Sound Opinions" co-host and Tribune rock critic Greg] Kot about his fiasco at last year's Bonnaroo fest either), but if Bono did what he did last night you would probably delight in reporting it."

Well, Brian, in part, 'Ye's tirades have become so commonplace that they're not even news anymore (or at least they bore me silly); in part, I'd rather write about his music than his antics, and in part, the VMAs have become so dreadfully dull -- on top of being rigged from the beginning -- that I no longer even waste digital space for them on the DVR. Plus, I had nothing to add to the gossip columnists' thorough examination of the issue -- though I am inclined to side with the handful of bloggers who suggested that the whole thing was rigged by MTV for cheap headlines (a la the butt-in-Eminem's-face stunt at the network's movie awards earlier this year), with West going along because it got him publicity (he seems unable to distinguish between good and bad press) and nicely set up his appearance on the debut of Jay Leno's new show (oh, those crocodile tears!).

If the outburst wasn't rigged, you also could argue that West is pretty unique in injecting the rare moment of spontaneous emotion into the most staged of events.

Ultimately, though, I could never be as eloquent on this incident as our Commander in Chief, fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama, as reported by last night:

ABC News reporter Terry Moran caused quite a commotion tonight on Twitter after writing the following: "Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a 'jackass' for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential."

The irony here is that the President made that comment during an off-the-record portion of the interview with the reporter, which means the TV talking head broke the number-one rule of journalistic ethics and is an even bigger jackass than Kanye. Politico again:

An ABC spokesperson explains to POLITICO what happened: In the process of reporting on remarks by President Obama that were made during a CNBC interview, ABC News employees prematurely tweeted a portion of those remarks that turned out to be from an off-the-record portion of the interview. This was done before our editorial process had been completed. That was wrong. We apologize to the White House and CNBC and are taking steps to ensure that it will not happen again.

A CNBC spokesperson declined comment.

The White House had no immediate comment.

Audio is on TMZ

On one level, it's sad to see two Chicago greats going at it like this in public; on another, hey, it's part of the great hip-hop tradition of public beefs. And since West certainly needed SOMEONE to tell him that the petulant loser act was getting old, who better than our nation's top executive to really drive the point home?

Kanye, I'm sure you're regretting the whole thing right about now. But I have the perfect way for you to get back in Obama's good graces and redeem yourself before taking that promised sabbatical and obviously much-needed vacation. We need one quick mix-tape track from you ... it should, of course, be called "You Lie," and it needs to be dedicated to Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina.


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I don't know if Kanya's outburst was faked, but the picture of the President with the cigarette certainly was:

-- MrJM

is kanye relevant to anyone other than gang bangers and mis-guided suburban teens?

Jim, is Kanye really a "Chicago great" ??

I always knew my vote wasn't wasted

First of all I can't believe anyone thinks Kanye has any talent.
Second, President Obama is right about him and I congratulate the President for call him out. I am starting to like Obama more and more.
Finally, DeRo, Joe Wilson is ancient news.

Kayne West just interupted the Patrick Swayze funeral stating that Michael Jackson's funeral was better.

Very, very interesting opinion that of Obama......Those, off-the record, are the moments when politicians and more celebrities express their real thinking...

Well, I suppose many Obama followers must be...shocked???????

Glenn Beck was right. Obama IS a racist. The half white,Half black called Kayne West a jackass. Hows it feel Kayne to be the first bisquit lip to be called a jackass by another bisquit lip?

The President called the man a JackAss. Is that not what he acted like.I am not a big Obama fan but for heaven sake we all thought the same thing. This is nuts.

Who is this chick anyway! Life goes on in the Big city. She'll get over it! Kanya probably gave her career another two weeks. She should be happy, before that, know one ever heard of her.

Thanks for quoting me in your blog...I say a bit embarrased. But again, I can see your point of view as always. I am someone who liked Kanye, but his ego is just getting out of hand. I think he really needs to cool out. I am not a Taylor Swift fan, but she is a teen country star, and it may be one of the few awards she will get, and Kanye does not need to lash out at every awards show. Who cares about awards anyway, time tests all great art and thats what he should care about. The Bonnaroo incident last year was what turned me off where he made the crowd wait till 5.30 in the morning to see him after they waited all night. Robert Randolph led the crowd in a huge "Kanye Sucks" chant. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jim. I would be intreasted to hear your thoughts about what he did at the fest last year.

I think everybody goin 2 hard on him. It is so many other thing in the world goin, kanye did what he did and it was done so be it he told her he was sorry and if she forgive him why can't we? there is a war goin on, gas prices are to high people are losein their homes, so people get a grip and get on with life because kanye and taylor swift is! They rich and am sittin here tryin 2 pay bills online! Now who's thinkin?

Kanye is a racist f##k! I never liked the guy, ever since the begining of his rap career he blames everything on being black. He seems to think that their is some kind of racist stand every time a white beats a black in something!

jim, you're irresponsible to ignore the whole kanye-as-jerk thing. i know you idolize all things rap from chicago, but i'm w/ the fan who wrote that were it anyone else, you'd be all over him/her. how about, instead of glorifying jerks on your npr show, you maybe point out that just because they're highly paid "musicians" (would not use that term for 'ye), they're not untouchable?

oh, and,yes, kanye is racist.

Though I didn't vote for the President, I still believe he is entitled to his opinion. He's a human being. I agree with him as far as his comment regarding Kanye.

Why on Earth is our President watching the VMA's?

the guy is a racist and everyone in the media is afraid to say it... RACIST

first of all i think that the statment was for show and a person can say what they want to dont matter what they look like and the president was right for what he said, as for all the racist on this blog and the ones who read what i have to say you all are pricks, jackasses,assholes, fu#k boys, and mindless jerks who cant think for themselfs and uses every oppertunity to talk bad about every other race that is not ur own.and i got a comment for don on here you are a jerk and a small minded racist and the statement and i quote "Hows it feel Kayne to be the first bisquit lip to be called a jackass by another bisquit lip"do u know how sound if not ill tell you , you sound like a dummy that didn't finsh preschool becouse u where to stupid to pass and to call black people bisquit lips inferring that black people have big lips if thats the case then its true bout all of you all have small di#ks how does that make you fell u you small minded prick

OK. I hated what Kanye did but please knuckleheads, stop throwing around that he is a racist. Please tell me how the man who has recorded songs with Coldplay (who are white if I may add), collaborate's with producer Jon Brion (who is also white), and was chilling with Pete Wentz and sipping the liquor with him at the VMAs is a racist. I asked Jim about why he didn't comment, and he explaned. While I don't agree, I do agree his music is good. Although I hated what he did at Bonnoroo last year more. But stop this Kanye is a racist crap. Please give proof that he has shown he hates white people. You have none, other than your boneheaded comments.

To tonebone:thanks for that you put a smile on my face and said what I was going to say kudos.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on September 15, 2009 8:06 AM.

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