Anyone who hasn’t seen the Piers Morgan vs. Touré match up should really do themselves a favor and watch it in its entirety. As I wrote before, the most newsworthy aspect of the Trayvon Martin case is that it highlights how lost we are as a nation. The reason is largely because of reckless media, that have failed the nation for decades. For years Americans sat in the dark like Plato’s man in the cave, but the social media explosion has opened their eyes—and they are angry. The battle for the heart and soul of the country is in full swing, even if there are still Americans who can’t see or hear the explosions around them. As much as it pains me to admit, Piers Morgan was on the right side of history last night.
Here’s the short of it: Touré is a “pop culture” expert, a designation I’ll refrain from tearing apart too much given the nature of this blog. Let’s just call him a very successful gadfly, one who acts as an “authority” on black culture. Piers, our British friend, has had his journalistic credentials questioned because he dared to have the brother of George Zimmerman on his show and (according to Touré), didn’t challenge him satisfactorily. After a heated back and forth, Touré concluded:
“What you understand as challenging, perhaps maybe that goes in England. That’s not what we do in terms of challenging in America. I saw a person who was saying things that didn’t ring true to me.”
Asked about jokes he made about George Zimmerman on Twitter, whereas “Zimmermaning” someone was used as a euphemism for killing them, Touré likened his jokes to “the blues.”
You might call it black humor. Not African-American humor, but black humor. Dark humor. These are things that are common in America, that laugh to keep from crying. Once again another black person who is unarmed and innocent and not doing anything wrong has been killed. And this is incredibly painful and goes back before before you were born, and before your father was born, and before my grandfather was born.
Touré then finished his case by comparing Trayvon Martin’s death to that of Emmett Till. Seriously.
Where does one start? Repeatedly, Morgan asserts that the job of the journalist is to ask the tough questions, allow the subject respond, and then to let the audience decide. He states that he doesn’t have all the facts, and that medical records, police reports and the judicial process will ultimately provide the evidence needed to make a more-informed decision. Morgan makes the case that he has a duty to not let his personal feelings about the case consume his ability to conduct a professional interview. Backed into a corner, Touré’s only defense becomes:
- You’re from England; you don’t understand America.
- You’re not black; you don’t understand black America.
- You’re not black; you don’t understand “the blues” and by extension my black humor.
If Morgan vs. Touré was a boxing match, Touré would have just been ruled the loser by TKO. However, it also would have been bizarre to watch, since the audience would have witnessed Touré punching himself in the face while Morgan applied uppercuts to the stomach.
I really wish Toure had been around in the 1830′s, simply because it would have been fun to read the historical records of him telling Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville that he doesn’t understand what it means to be an American.* I’m in no way implying that Piers Morgan can hold a candle to de Tocqueville, but the idea that an Englishman can’t accurately cover a case involving a black American is ludicrous. Touré’s entire case is based on appeals to authority and emotion, red herrings, Ad hominem attacks and hasty generalizations. That’s the kind of resume that can only get you a gig at Rolling Stone or MSNBC. Oh, wait…
* The part of this blog post where Touré responds with a witty, yet specious slavery comeback.