Even before President Donald Trump awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom to deceased rock star legend Elvis Presley this week, some members of the demonstrably left-wing media were already deriding the move for allegedly been steeped in racism and bigotry.
“Trump is sending a message here,” The Washington Post’s pop music critic, Chris Richards, opined in a column published Thursday, a full day before the president awarded America’s highest civilian commendation to the man known by many as the “King of Rock and Roll.”
“Yes, Presley is among the most pivotal and controversial musicians of the previous century, so yes, this is another needling MAGA maneuver — a little nod to the good old days, back when black visionaries could invent rock-and-roll, but only a white man could become the king.”
Watch the president awarding Presley below:
Richards’ claim is rooted in the longstanding theory that Presley stole or “appropriated” rock & roll from blacks. The Atlantic’s Noah Berlatsky disputed this in a report four years ago, noting that while Presley “didn’t invent rock and roll … [h]e didn’t steal it from black people, either.”
Presley wasn’t even the first white rock star, Berlatsky pointed out: “Bill Haley had already recorded the original song ‘Crazy, Man, Crazy’ in 1953; his version of ‘Rock Around the Clock’ was recorded a couple of months before Elvis’s famous Sun session.”
Not only that, but the so-called “appropriation” of music — or what some would classify as one artist taking inspiration from another artist — went both ways.
“Rock-and-roll performers like Ray Charles and Chuck Berry were fans of and strongly influenced by country music. Black performers regularly performed songs by white songwriters like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller,” Berlatsky wrote.
Included among the haters is Fox News liberal analyst Preston Mitchell.
“Of all the people you could’ve picked, you pick someone who make some people feel like he appropriated black music in some way or another because it was invented by black artists,” he said Friday evening on “The Ingraham Angle.”
“It was embraced by southern white America because a white artist was doing it. Why would you pick someone like that in 2018 with all of the racial division he’s caused and he inherited as much as he’s caused?”
Ingraham rebutted Mitchell’s complaints by highlighting the many doors Presley opened for black artists.
“I think you could probably make the argument that without Elvis, you wouldn’t have had other musicians like — get down the road go to Al Green or even some of the gospel singers who went back even pre-Elvis — became more popular post Elvis because of the rise of that type of music,” she noted.
According to Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard, she’s right.
“Even if Elvis popularized an art form that people of another race largely invented, it’s hard to argue that a lots and lots of successful black artists didn’t walk right through the doors he opened,” he wrote Friday, adding that Presley was viewed as a hero by many blacks because of his influence.
It was acclaimed black artist Little Richard who said in 1970, “I thank God for Elvis Presley. I thank the Lord for sending Elvis to open that door so I could walk down the road, you understand?”
And it was likewise James Brown, considered the “Godfather of Soul,” who once declared of Elvis, “I wasn’t just a fan — I was his brother.”
And yet The Washington Post, known for race-baiting, sees things entirely differently. If you suspect that social media’s reaction to the Post’s hit piece on Trump and Presley was scathing, you’re not wrong.
— Josh Grega (@MegaGrega) November 16, 2018
— DeeDee (@ddwiese) November 17, 2018
When you wake up every morning just looking for ways to pick a fight you get this https://t.co/Lg4GPOdoRb
— Lyle Halstead (@Cty2CtyLyle) November 16, 2018
I’m sorry but what the F**K? So Trump is sending a message of racism & good ol’ days by awarding #Elvis the medal of freedom? You hate Trump so much you want to screw with Elvis, the greatest entertainer/singer of all time…black, white, or brown.https://t.co/EMm64AyOGC
— Avery (@Chick_N_Picker) November 16, 2018
Wow, this guy writing this story has a problem, he’s a big racist, he needs some serious help. https://t.co/zjBlM5iW4y
— Deplorable Dutt (@onlydutt) November 16, 2018
Get. Out. Of. My. Head. https://t.co/u7KPMNPTXb
— Sheletta Brundidge (@ShelettaMB) November 15, 2018
https://t.co/xauYmsBYJi More white on White Racism by the left…Who made this person an expert on Music and Entertainment? Purpose…to Divide and Hate President Trump.
— Steve Tungsten (@SteveTungsten) November 16, 2018
The president also awarded a medal to baseball legend Babe Ruth, philanthropist Miriam Adelson, former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, football star Alan Page and Hall-of-Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. Adelson’s medal was also mired in controversy.
Left-wing commentator Paul Krugman, known as the “lord of wrong predictions,” claimed that Adelson, the wife of GOP medadonor Sheldon Adelson, has “done nothing for her country besides being the wife of a Trump-friendly megadonor.”
Some thoughts on giving Miriam Adelson, who has done nothing for her country besides being the wife of a Trump-friendly megadonor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of course it’s ludicrous, and an insult to people who received the medal for genuine service. But … 1/
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) November 10, 2018
Yet according to the White House, Adelson is a “committed doctor, philanthropist, and humanitarian” who’s “founded two research centers committed to fighting substance abuse” and “established the Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which supports research to prevent, reduce, or eliminate disabling and life-threatening illness.”
She’s also reportedly “committed member of the American Jewish community, she has supported Jewish schools, Holocaust memorial organizations, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and Birthright Israel, among other causes.”