ON MONDAY NIGHT, CNN host Don Lemon led a panel discussion with three CNN commentators as they gleefully heaped scorn on Kanye West for meeting with President Trump to discuss prison reform and for otherwise expressing support for the President (the video is below). Among other things, West was pilloried for being both ignorant and exploited. “Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don’t read,” CNN’s Bakari Sellers said. CNN’s Tara Setmayer pronounced him “the token Negro of the Trump administration.”
While those comments received some attention (only from conservative outlets, needless to say), the laughter-driven attacks on West for his well-publicized medical treatment for mental health issues were largely ignored. But those comments, broadcast in prime-time by CNN on television and then widely disseminated by the network on social media, were not just reprehensible, but genuinely dangerous.
“No one should be taking Kanye West seriously,” Setmayer decreed. Why not? Because, she said, “he clearly has issues. He’s already been hospitalized.” Let’s repeat that: No one should be taking Kanye West seriously. He clearly has issues. He’s already been hospitalized.
Setmayer was referring to West’s 2016 hospitalization in Los Angeles’s Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. In 2018, West spoke publicly and bravely about that hospitalization and the medical treatment he has received for his mental health struggles, including a bipolar diagnosis. West described how his doctors found the right balance of medication and therapies and he decided to speak publicly about his medical treatment because, in his words, “I want to change the stigma of mental health.”