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Was Johnny Cash a Racist, Cop-Killer Apologist Like Common?

Posted on May 19 2011 6:30 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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On Tuesday, we received this critique from someone called Robson who didn’t care for Calvin Freiburger’s foray into the debate about whether it’s appropriate for the Obama White House to honor the racist, pro-cop killer rapper Common:

Seriously  Calvin Freiburger i think you the man who needs to look at this in a different perspective. I don’t why all you americans bother about such a small thing but fox news of course trying to make it big. This matter is not a biggie. Lets start with Johnny Cash a man you totaly defend in your oeace  of writing. This Man whoin his younger years did write some really rough lyrics is given a National Medal of arts BY PRESIDENT BUSH. Okay fairly you say it wasn’t the whitehouse giving to him but President Bush was just presenting it to him, But as a President it’s your choice whether to endorse it or not, and what does the President do? he endorses it because he thinks the man deserves it. What does fox news and america say? nothing because they also conquer. Now Michelle Obama Invites common for a poetry slam, Common having some rough lyrics and has supported certain activists against cops. For the activists i will take Jon stewart position of saying maybe he supports them
because he thinks they were wrongly accused. But on the rough lyrics, on your blog you only have little extracts of his poem. Only getting the parts which are really rough and i think that is really not being a good analyst or critic. I think in your blog you start by defending Johnny cash and criticize common. Tell me what is really different about Common and Johnny cash? Jon stewart is simply just saying really why criticize Common invitation when other regimes have also invited and endorsed people with the same rough lyric. And if you take a look again at common’s poetry at the white house he is simply saying like the world is in a bad condition, full of corruption and corrupt leaders but lets make an end to this and live in peace. Poetry needs time to analyze, if you don’t analyze it and try to understand it from what you first read then truly you have high chances of misinterpretation.

I responded:

What Johnny Cash lyrics are comparable to Common? And why do you think the White House should be honoring racists who oppose interracial marriages?

Robson provided “evidence” to back up his claims:

I don’t know is you got me properly.  But What am saying the whitehouse should not honour racists nor those who disagree about interracial marriages. The links i have sent on top, is johnny cash lyrics one of them being really racist. I don’t know why fox can’t pick up on that and now compare him and common. If johnny cash was accepted in the whitehouse and no drama was caused out of the visit then the same should be done for common.

I responded (and have yet to receive a reply):

The reason Fox News doesn’t compare the two is because there’s no comparison to be made.

The first song is an anti-drug song, in no way comparable to Common’s support of communist cop killers Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu Jamal.

The second song is not a Johnny Cash song. (If it was then show me what album of his it was allegedly on.) You should be more skeptical about what you read on the internet.

I await for you to provide evidence that Johnny Cash is in anyway comparable to a racist, cop killer apologist like Common.

I haven’t heard back from Robson yet but if anyone would like to check up on him his email is

And in memory of Cash — one of America’s greatest musicians — here’s the greatest music video ever made, which happens to be of the greatest cover ever recorded:


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