For reasons clear only to him, David Horowitz has felt the need to smack down Marc Lamont Hill.
In a Sept. 25 Newsreal post, Horowitz declares Hill -- a frequent guest on "The O'Reilly Factor" -- to be "an embarrassment to his own standards and an insult to the intelligence of African Americans particularly and his entire audience generally." Why? Because, Horowitz writes, "Hill is an expert on “hip-hop culture,” i.e., rap music. His academic degree is in education. What are his views on foreign policy worth, unless putting him on was designed to show up the shallow views of the left?" Horowitz continues:
I wonder if O’Reilly understands that putting on such a lightweight feeds the racism of low expectations. There are very intelligent blacks (and leftists) who could provide an interesting foil for conservative views if that was the agenda. Having a Columbia professor of rap music comment on the foreign policy views of Karl Rove (who was featured in the preceding segment) is demeaning to Rove and embarrassing to every African American watching. First we have a figure involved in every major foreign policy decision of the Bush administration who happens to be white. Then we have an aficionado of rap music who happens to be black? What does that say to the television viewer?
If O’Reilly wants to bring Hill on to defend Ludacris or some other morally-challenged rapper then fine. If he is the best defender that ACORN can get, then fine too. But spectacles like tonight’s segment are like circus sideshows that reflect poorly on the judgment of the Factor’s producers and are unworthy of the Factor itself.
Of course, O'Reilly himself has no particular experience to draw on that would give him expertise in discussing foreign policy. But Horowitz doesn't seem bothered by that.
Needless to say, Hill was not happy with this unprovoked attack, responding on his Twitter account, writing among other things: "David Horowitz has made his career calling people communists and/or anti-semites. He sees no irony in challenging credentials, while exercising the freedom to talk about whatever he wants with NO training at all. How does his Masters in literature allow him to write books on Islamic radicalism? "Furthermore, why hasn't he challenged Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh's ability to analyze politics and lead the GOP w/ HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAS?"
This, of course, merely set up Hill for more abuse from Horowitz. In a Sept. 27 FrontPageMag article headlined "Fox’s Affirmative Action Baby Whines," Horowitz again sneered that "Hill’s expertise, such as it is, is hip-hop culture — the very low end, in other words, of popular music which is better known as rap," adding, "With an expertise in rap music, Hill has a professorship at Columbia University, illustrating my often made observation that our liberal arts colleges have fallen to their lowest intellectual level in 100 years." Horowitz asserted that "a rap professor pontificating about geopolitical issues" feeds "the soft racism of low expectations and that it was in fact an insult to all those black academics who would actually have had something intelligent to say about the Iran crisis."
Horowitz went on to complain that Hill's use of Twitter to respond to him was "bad judgment" because it revealed that "His Twitter web page is wall-papered with one of his heroes, Assata Shakur — a fugitive killer, wanted for the cold-blooded murder of a New Jersey state trooper in 1973." Horowitz then expanded his smears of black liberals:
Marc Lamont Hill, out of all the black intellectuals available, to talk about cultural issues (let alone international affairs.) Hill is one of a community of black intellectuals promoted well beyond their abilities — Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West are two obvious others — who are poisoning the minds of black youth with the idea that politically correct murderers like Assata Shakur are heroes, and patriotic Americans are devils incarnate. Of course confronting O’Reilly — and cherishing his air time and Fox stipend — Hill is far more moderate on TV than he probably is in his classroom or at the public speaking venues his gig on Fox makes possible.
Horowitz also gets pedantic about what Hill actually wrote:
Hill’s second complaint is that I wrote a book called Unholy Alliance about radical Islam but I’m not an expert in Islam. This is supposed to take the heat off him for making inane comments on the Iranian crisis. Actually, my book — which he obviously didn’t read — is about theAmerican left — not Islam — and is an attempt to explain its tacit alliance with the Islamic totalitarians of al-Qaeda and Hamas. This is a subject I happen to be an expert on. I have studied the American left longer and know more about it than Professor Hill does about hip-hop culture or, for that matter, about me.
Horowitz doesn't address Hill's point about conservative radio hosts who pontificate about geopolitical issues with no college degree at all.
Remember, this is all happening because Hill is a black liberal who likes rap music -- and therefore, in Horowitz's eyes, isn't qualified to talk about anything else.
And Horowitz is the one complaining about others' "soft bigotry of low expectations"?
UPDATE: Cliff Kincaid follows Horowitz's lead by complaining in a Sept. 28 Accuracy in Media column that Hill is allowed to comment "on issues that go far beyond his expertise on hip-hop culture."