Notorious race-baiter and provocateur-for-profit Jemele Hill is hardly a stranger to controversy. She famously leveraged her platform at ESPN to attack Donald Trump as a "white supremacist," and to foment an attempted boycott of the Dallas Cowboys' advertisers because of team owner Jerry Jones' opposition to anthem kneeling.
Her actions earned her a temporary suspension from the network but were largely tolerated by Bob Iger, president of ESPN's parent company Disney. Striking a charitable posture, Iger defended Hill saying,
"I've not ever experienced prejudice, certainly not racism. It's even hard for me to understand what they're feeling about this, what it feels like to experience racism."
That's fair and all, but if someone is taking racism seriously, why would they cheapen something as revolting as true white supremacy by using it as a synonym for "politician I don't agree with"? It strikes thinking people as being evidence that Hill has not ever encountered real white supremacy if she so easily, freely, and without conscience equates it with the populist posturing of President Donald Trump.
Nevertheless, I am never one to encourage the censoring or silencing of such voices, if for no other reason, the more Jemele Hill talks, the less rational people take her seriously. That's precisely why I'm willing to endure the, "Stop giving her the attention she desperately desires" complaints as I point out her latest venture into absurdity.
This last week, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft sent the team jet to China in order to collect a wealth of medical equipment for Boston-area hospitals. The Governor of Massachusetts was understandably ecstatic.
"The Krafts were terrific. They were a phone call away, and immediately went to work on the logistics associated with this, and did not stop until they could make it happen," Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said.
Almost 2 million masks, as well as hundreds of full body-length safety suits arrived courtesy of Kraft and were distributed to healthcare workers – a monumental humanitarian gesture. So, of course, Jemele Hill saw this moment as an opportunity to put the spotlight where she wanted it: on her.
Again, I sympathize with the argument, "Why give this former ESPN host a headline and the notoriety she seeks?" My answer is fairly simple. I want her name associated with these foolish and deranged ideas so that eventually reasonable people will merely roll their eyes and move on whenever she is cited. That path is well worn over at ESPN, after all. Keith Olbermann used to co-host SportsCenter. Now he's a national laughingstock. May it be with Jemele Hill.
Is there something inordinately classless about her attack on such a gesture of goodwill by Kraft? Yes.
Does her tweet actually fail to make any sense and even border on complete incoherence? Affirmative.
Is it a truly dangerous and unhinged proposition to only applaud or celebrate charity – life-saving at that – when it comes from someone whose politics lines up with our own? Certainly.
Is this all further evidence that President Trump broke her, and has taken up residence inside her head? Absolutely.
And each of those things are the precise message about Jemele Hill those of us committed to dignified debate and civilized politics need to amplify. She's desperate for people to know how much she hates this civilization and about half the people who inhabit it. I'm more than happy to spread the word.