Entries in Common (3)


Jon Stewart, Bill O'Reilly Spar over 'Common' Controversy

Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Jon Stewart, the host of The Daily Show, and Fox host Bill O'Reilly, don’t see eye to eye on much, including the recent invitation by the White House to the rapper Common to appear at a poetry event.

Stewart and O'Reilly clashed over this issue Monday night on Fox, with O'Reilly charging that the White House's invitation to the rapper was improper because of a song he wrote 11 years ago about a fugitive convicted of murdering a state trooper in 1973.

"I am saying that when a president invites someone, in this case the First Lady, the resume has to be put in front of them and they have to select someone who is almost unimpeachable," O'Reilly charged.

“He's not celebrating the killing but someone unjustly charged,” Stewart argued about the controversial song.

"Bob Dylan wrote a song about a convicted killer named Hurricane Carter. He's been to the White House. Why are you drawing the line at Common? There is a selective outrage machine here at Fox." Stewart said.

Stewart argued that by O'Reilly’s standard, any musician who has written a song about people convicted of murder -- including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bono, and Bruce Springsteen -- couldn’t be guests at the White House.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Weighs In on 'Common' Controversy

Allison Shelley/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin weighed in on the Common controversy Wednesday night during an appearance on Fox News’ On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. She lashed out at President Barack Obama for inviting the hip-hop artist to the White House poetry event.

“The judgment is just so lacking of class and decency and all that’s good about America with an invite like this,” she said. “They’re just inviting someone like me or someone else to ask, ‘C’mon Barack Obama who are you palling around with now?’”

The former vice presidential candidate went on to assure Fox News’ Martha MacCallum that she was not trying to stifle free speech and also emphasized that she’s not “anti-rap,” pointing out that she knows the lyrics to Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.”

The White House has been under fire by some conservatives and police officers for inviting Common to the event because of some of his lyrics. 

The conservative “Daily Caller” pointed to an appearance the rapper made on Def Poetry Jam where he recited a poem entitled “A Letter to the Law.” 

Some of the lines in the poem included, “Tell the law, my Uzi weighs a ton/I walk like a warrior,/from them I won’t run,” as well as, “Seeing a fiend being hung/With that happening, why they messing with Saddam?/Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button/Killing over oil and grease/no weapons of destruction/How can we follow a leader when this a corrupt one.”

Common performed at the White House Wednesday night without making any mention of all the recent criticism, although hours before his performance, he wrote on his Facebook page, “Politics is politics and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I respect that. The one thing that shouldn’t be questioned is my support for the police officers and troops that protect us every day.”

President Obama spoke at the poetry event and did not mention the controversy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Common Controversy Comes to White House Poetry Night

Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House on Wednesday condemned some of the lyrics and prose of hip hop star Common, whose invitation to a White House poetry event Wednesday has brought criticism from some conservatives and police officers.

“The president does not support and opposes the kind of lyrics that has been written about,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said when asked about the controversy.

Carney said the president has “in the past spoken very forcefully out against violent and misogynistic lyrics.”

Referring to “concerns by some law enforcement,” Carney said that “the president’s record of support for law enforcement is extremely strong.”

David Jones, the president of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association, voiced concern to the White House and to ABC News about Common’s invitation given Common’s song extolling Joanne Chesmard, a member of the Black Liberation Army, convicted in 1977 of the first degree murder of a state trooper and sentenced to life in prison. In November 1979, Chesmard escaped from prison.

“While the president doesn’t support the kind of lyrics that have been raised here,” Carney said, “some of these reports distort what Mr. Lynn stands for more broadly,” referring to Common by his given name, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. “Within that genre of hip hop and rap he is known as…a conscious rapper.”

Carney cited a 2010 interview with Common in which the reporter told the hip hop performer, “your music is very positive and you are known as the conscious rapper – how important is that to you and how important do you think that is to our kids?”

But while the president opposes those lyrics, Carney said, “he does not think that that is the sum total of this particular artist’s work which has been recognized by a lot of mainstream organizations and ‘fair and balanced’ organizations like Fox News, which described his music as positive.”

“One of the things the president appreciates is the work Mr. Lynn has done with children, especially trying to get them to focus on poetry as opposed to some of the negative influences of life on the streets,” Carney said.

Common, he said, is a “multi-Grammy award winning artist…invited to this event about poetry, partly because of his efforts to bring poetry to audiences that don’t get to experience it.  And we think that’s a positive thing.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio