Black Voices

Author Cornel West: MSNBC And Many Black Journalists 'Just Want Access'

Cornel West is not happy with the state of black journalism today.

In an interview with HuffPost Live on Wednesday, the Black Prophetic Fire author looked back at prominent African-Americans in history and lamented the decline of the independent black press, in favor of journalists who want "access."

"We have too many black journalists today who just want access," he said. "[To] be at the White House or be at publicity and it’s understandable. It’s a human thing but it has to be called into question."

West called out MSNBC as part of the problem and drew parallels between the network and the legacy of black journalist Carl Rowan, who West said embraced the “mainstream” too warmly.

"MSNBC and company — this is the Carl Rowanization of black journalists," he said. "He had his own TV show trashing Malcolm [X] and trivializing Martin [Luther King], Martin is unpatriotic and so forth. He was the most honored mainstream negro of his day. Now, who talks about him now? He wasn’t a truth-teller."

While blacks supported Rowan at the time, West didn’t think he effectively questioned the status quo.

"We supported his upward mobility because he was still dealing with white supremacy and racism, but he was co-opted,” he said. “Carl Rowan was co-opted."

Watch the full interview with author and activist Cornel West here.

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