Horowitz: Cornel West is a 'political animal'

Welcome, Media Matters readers... and for those who didn't arrive via MM, be sure to see their post on Horowitz's further comments.

David Horowitz, former 60s lefty-cum-rightwing-loony-tunes, has made a little name for himself with his recent attack screed on liberal academia: The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.

It's comical. He's nothing more than a frightened paranoiac with a budget. Unfortunately, the idea that academia is churning out radical lefties via classroom polemics is one cherished by the right wing whose very existence depends on the very obfuscations and demagoguery academia both counteracts and teaches students to identify.

Discourse is the death of the modern conservative ideology; garlic to its vampire, water to its wicked witch, Oprah to its Tom Cruise.

In the course of spewing his McCarthy-esque tripe ("I estimate that there are 50,000 to 60,000 radical professors who want the terrorists to win and us to lose the war on terror.") to an eager Pat Robertson, Horowitz settles on Cornel West as the locus of his ire: "They are just political animals; that’s all Cornell West [sic] is."

To begin with, it should be pointed out that in the nation's top universities, African-American representation goes from offensive to paltry. Anywhere from less than 1% of tenured faculty are black to a high of 4.3%. In other words, you'd need to go out of your way to pluck a black professor for your rant about the nature of academia.

This doesn't stop Horowitz whose long history of -- let's say -- racial insensitivity has been documented by Media Matters and Al Franken as well as his Center for the Study of the Study of Popular Culture having been chosen by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of 17 organizations which "support efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable."

My personal favorite is from his 2001 ad he sought to publish on the last day of Black History Month in opposition to the idea of reparations for slavery. Among the reasons he lists: "What About the Debt Blacks Owe to America?"

Yeah, what about the back rent, right David?

Horowitz has the temerity to call Cornel West a "radical [ranter]" who couldn't "produce a scholarly paper." He continues: "That is one of the scandals. These people don’t write scholarly books. Their credentials are really fraudulent. They are just political animals; that’s all Cornell West is."

2.5% of Princeton's tenured professors are black and he chooses Cornel West, an American Book Award winner and distinguished intellectual, to make his point? Horowitz knew his audience and used coded language to buttress a baseless argument.

Even worse, Horowitz is pathological enough to fancy himself a "civil rights activist" in his bio, writing that he's: "a defender of the rights of minorities and other groups under attack -- including the rights of blacks, gays, women, Jews, Muslims, Christians and white males."

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