This month, Tavis Smiley will celebrate his 10th anniversary as the host of PBS’ daily talk show “Tavis Smiley”. In total, Smiley’s broadcast career has spanned two decades.  Never one to bite his tongue, in a recent interview with the Associated Press, Smiley made some pretty heavy accusations against the Obama Administration, surrounding some of his sponsors.

From the Associated Press:

Smiley contends that members of the Obama administration, whom he didn’t identify, have pressured sponsors to drop their support of his projects, including his anti-poverty initiatives. The White House had no comment, said a spokesman, Kevin Lewis.

Smiley declined to identify the companies, saying he wasn’t authorized to disclose their names.

While he said he understands the desire of blacks to stand protectively by the first African-American president, he’s adamant about his right to take Obama to task on rising black unemployment, the use of military drones and other issues.

“This administration does not like to be criticized. And the irony of it is, there’s nothing I have tried to hold the president accountable on that my white progressive colleagues have not,” Smiley said. “They’re labeled courageous critics, but if I say it, I’m an ‘Obama critic.’ There’s race at play in the very question.”

Although some Smiley critics think he has an “anti-Obama” agenda, he quickly corrected those accusations.

“I don’t have an anti-Barack agenda,” he said, “but this is what I do: My job is to raise questions of accountability.”  

Smiley also went on to point out that before Obama became President, he interviewed him more than a half-dozen times, but has not been granted an interview during the presidency. But Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and others in the administration have appeared on the PBS show.

Leshelle V. Sargent, a spokeswoman for Smiley, told Journal-isms, “After 10 years and 2,000 shows on PBS, Mr. Smiley appreciates all of his underwriters. We are uninterested in subjecting former, present or future supporters to further scrutiny.”

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  • Attentionseeker

    Rght because in the midst of catching Al Qaeda terrorists and dealing with a financial crisis and a divided Congress, Obama took the time to sabotage a Public Television Dlist Talk show host. Sit down all the way in the back Travis.

  • Pat

    Well, Tavis has already passed looking and acting crazy. Not because of holding POTUS accountable. By most – even the black community – this gesture is respected as well as expected.

    I think the problem with Tavis was his method. The ways in which Tavis conduct his problems with the Obamas are handled within a “catty” way. From the very beginning, when Mr. Obama chose not to speak at the “State of the Black Union”, it appeared as if Tavis was attempting to discredit him then. It seemed to me, it would have been more plausible to have a private discussion. It was a critical campaign and this public criticizing looked like an attempt to cause division and indecision b/c it was (prior to) POTUS proving himself. So, Tavis lost respect from the public (blk community); thus losing additional support over the years as he continued to criticize POTUS.

    This accountability of the POTUS to me is more similar to dislike. Not so much as indifferences. And as it continues, it sounds more like whining. I didn’t receive an invite, he won’t interview with me since he became president, the OA is making me lose sponsors, etc… Now Tavis is not providing any concrete information of this latest complaint. Hmmm…has Tavis stopped and thought just maybe POTUS has lost respect for you? And the problem he has is not accountability.

    I think it is best to state your opinion of the problem, not your personal dislikes. Then, it does become personal. And once people start hearing you complain about the negative more so than communicating the positive aspects, it’s natural to stop supporting them.

    The bottom line is — Tavis has mainly lost sponsor/supports by his own account.

  • Debratante

    This might be an unpopular comment in this forum, but I’ve just go to say that Tavis Smiley has some nerve demanding what he says is accountability with his one-sided B.S. Tavis is the reason I stopped listening to the Tom Joyner Show (which, truth be told, I didn’t miss listening to one bit).

    Tavis was always preaching — and, I’m paraphrasing — “Go vote Democrat, us Black folks don’t have no business voting for Republicans.” I always thought, why not just say, “Go vote” and leave out the partisan B.S.. Now, by saying this, I’m not suggesting that the Republican party is all that, because it’s not. But, the Democratic party isn’t perfect either.

    Tavis was so hellbent on trying to convince Black folks to vote how HE wants us to vote and not to take the time to consider the issues and exercise our own independent judgment to come to our own conclusions.

    Then, Tavis’ hook-up with Cornel West made me lose respect for a scholar [West] who I really liked years ago. And … don’t get me started on West and his dirty-laundry hypocrisy because that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

    Please, Tavis, for once, listen to the stuff that comes out of your mouth and promise us you will quit spewing your insane, superfluous nonsense. President Obama’s got a WHOLE lot of other things to do than to worry about Tavis’ sob “I-ain’t-got-no-sponsors” story.

    To borrow from another poster on this thread, “Tavis, go sit down somewhere … all the way in the back, brother.”

  • Black people have a cult mentality. Because of this mentality, when someone in the group is doing wrong, we defend them..i.e. O.J. Simpson…even when that individual is not supporting the group as a whole. Obama has shown that he supports immigration, gay marraige, corporate support….black people still have the highest unemployment rate, highest obesity, we are the least insured, the poorest people in this nation. Obama is a black face for a capitalist agenda.

  • jay cee

    O.J. did not kill those people. I wish people would stop using him as some sort of example.