So is the White House really overly concerned about Smiley’s criticism of the president? Do unnamed administration officials really spend their waking hours trying to silence Smiley by calling Smiley’s sponsors and threatening them? Does Smiley’s opinion of Obama trump the White House’s concern about putting more Americans back to work, helping to rebuild Moore, Oklahoma after a deadly tornado, and protecting citizens from terrorists?
Or does Smiley, as usual, have an inflated sense of his own self-value and a skewed view of his influence over the White House?
In a month where Republicans have accused Obama of everything imaginable –with the possible exception of Robert Griffin III’s knee injury — it seems that Smiley snagged a timely moment to pile on.
I would argue that the White House doesn’t care enough about Smiley to assemble a team of administration officials who would surreptitiously spend time thinking up new and creative ways to suppress Smiley’s voice.
And, truth be told, some radio executives aren’t listening to Smiley anymore either.
Last year, several public radio stations including Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Boston, cancelled Smiley’s radio show, “Smiley and West,” a radio program which also featured Princeton University Professor Cornel West.
“The show had developed much more of an ‘advocacy’ identity, which is inconsistent with our approach on WBEZ,” said a spokesman for the Chicago station WBEZ. “The goal is to present public affairs content that is reasonably balanced. We feel that Smiley & West had become a departure from this approach.”
Smiley says his self-imposed mandate in life is to hold Obama’s feet to the fire and keep him accountable to black people. That’s his choice and his path to follow, but I don’t believe there’s a clandestine campaign within the Obama administration that is secretly trying to shut Smiley down.
He’s just not that important.