There’s an old adage about journalism that has been attributed to numerous sources but which ultimately boils down to explaining a journalist’s responsibilities in plain and effective terms. “If someone says it’s raining and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out the f*cking window and find out which is true.”
NORE has never heard this quote. NORE is not a journalist.
Someone should tell him that though, because while he did try to apologize for the disastrous Drink Champs interview with Kanye West that has the family of George Floyd considering a lawsuit and fans on Twitter denouncing NORE’s podcast, he also apparently thinks he did a good job stepping out of the artist’s way and letting him talk.
Appearing on Hot 97’s Ebro In The Morning (sans Ebro, which is probably the only reason nobody called him out on this nonsense), NORE explained why he decided to host the interview despite Kanye’s recent trip down the Q-Anon rabbit hole. “I felt i could control the situation,” he said. “I felt like I could control the interview. And I learned early on that I [couldn’t]. As a Black man i feel like I failed. As a human I feel like I failed. As a journalist I feel like I succeeded.”
No, he did not. And after committing all those resources to doing the interview, I can certainly understand why he feels that he might have had to justify it by putting it out instead of pulling the plug like LeBron James and The Shop did last week. But here’s the thing: There’s never, not once, any excuse for giving a platform to someone who appears to be in the middle of a mental health crisis and is spouting racist rhetoric. The engagement isn’t worth people’s lives, and that is very much the trade that is being made there.
Antisemites and white supremacists probably don’t need to be told what horrid ideologies to parrot but every time a prominent public figure endorses one of those ideologies, it emboldens them. Just look at the last six years since you-know-who first ran for president. There’s been a sharp and kind of terrifying rise in hate group activity in the US ever since. (And if you think you’re safe, just wait until they decide to redraw the lines of who gets to be in their little racial purity club and you’re on the wrong side.)
NORE failed as a human, as a Black man, and as a journalist — because, again, he isn’t one — by letting Kanye get on his podcast and repeat white supremacist talking points, whether he pushed back or not. He failed again by not shelving the interview. At least he apologized, though, saying, “I sincerely apologize to anybody who was hurt by Kanye’s words, by Kanye’s actions.” However, in this case, that might be too little, too late.
Watch NORE’s full interview with the Ebro In The Morning show above.