Black Media Watch: Jonathan Capehart

Mother Snob, for some perverse reason, is a big fan of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. I’d mentally resigned away Matthews years ago as as the other cable TV news host from the 90s that I couldn’t stand that wasn’t Geraldo. But for both Matthews and Geraldo Rivera, I realized that a lot of my distaste had to do with Rivera’s wall-to-wall Angry OJ Orgasma and Matthews’ white hot Bill Clinton rage-lust.

I still can’t look at Geraldo without the “Trial of the Century” PTSD kicking in, but Chris and I have been able to half-ass work things out. Since he’s one twinkle in the eye of taking his bravado, picking up a pitchfork and a noose and going off on a one-man-lynch party to the White House over Iraq he is just barely able to dip into the ol’ Hillary Hate snuff. He still doesn’t really ask questions, and watching reporters n’ pundits go on his show is almost like watching unsuspecting people get mauled by a foul-mouthed bear that won’t let you finish your sentences.

One of those journalists who never gets to finish his sentences is Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post’s editorial staff.

I like Capehart. I’m a fan of most black word nerds and he’s just the word-nerdiest! He’s also attractive (I like men with glasses as I too cannot see), but alas, he’s probably not interested in my black nerd love.

Capehart comes off as intelligent, well-meaning and polite which does nothing for him on the maelstrom that is cable TV news. But despite the inability to complete a sentence when Chris Matthews isn’t hearing what he wants to hear I’m always happy to see representations of black male hood that isn’t presented in the forms hyper-masculine studio rappers with ‘Roid Rage or fat suit wearing comics in dresses. (Please, America. Some more diversity in black masculinity on television. Bill O’Reilly thinks we all drop the mf-bomb in restaurants. Especially when ordering our tea.)

And given that he’s both gay and a black man, that has to be some special mental jujitsu to deal with both racism and varying degrees of gay panic. I can relate some being a woman, although my gender discrimination tends to come in the form of people just wishing I’d shut up and put out already.

Papa Snob hasn’t been impressed with Capehart’s appearances on the show. Mostly because despite Capehart’s best efforts he always ends up coming off weak. But Chris Matthews is a bully. Everyone who goes on that show comes off as weak unless you’re a pretty woman who causes Matthews to become all “gee, shucks” and giggly. For Capehart it’s more like he’s this battered spouse who keeps going back on the show because this week, THIS WEEK, Chris will let him make his point. Sure, most of the time Capehart loses his point and just sort of screams “Not in the face!” as Matthews clumsily claws at him on his way to taking out the pundit next to him, but I understand.

3 thoughts on “Black Media Watch: Jonathan Capehart

  1. Ten months later Mr. Capehart has found a welcoming home on “Morning Joe”. Joe, Mika, Willie, Pat Buchanan, Mike Barnicle, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Matthews et al let him finish his sentences and solicit his opinions. He’s a welcome presence whether on paper, by remote or on the set. He has easily moved quickly to the upper reaches of well-regarded nerds. I’m always glad to see him and find his comments not only accurate but droll and perceptive.I enjoyed your article and, belatedly, look forward to reading more. Lew Troop

  2. Mr. Capehart’s persona and political perspectives represent the “safe,” “non-threatening” posture that the mainstream media prefers in its Black male talking heads. His “takes” on current political issues offer no real insight or profound thought, but rather the same old, safe analysis that is more a cure for somnambulism than anything else.As a Black man who became politically aware in the ’60s, 70s and 80s, I would prefer a political dialectic with a little more bite and yes, even a little more masculinity from my Black Brothers who are fortunate enough to get national media play on the political scene, e.g. Bob Herbert or Roland Martin.The fact that Mr. Capehart seems to be able to get his tepid politics and persona all over cable TV news to the exclusion of many other worthy Black male political commentators around the country, makes me wonder whether he is getting pride of place due to his political insights or his obsequious, self-effacing manner? No snobbery, no hate, just my take.

  3. I’m sorry, Charles W., but your comment about preferring political dialect with a little more “masculinity” is insulting. Unlike someone like Roland Martin, for whom finding objectivity and insight is like searching for the Holy Grail, Jonathan Capehart is so incredibly smart and so perceptive, he makes me you wish more people on television were like him. Your obvious discomfort with his sexually is preventing you from giving him his due.

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