Tavis Smiley’s Criticism of President Obama (Again)

Tavis Smiley

By Gary A. Johnson

Black Men In America.com (July 22, 2013)

Here we go again.  What did Tavis Smiley say this time?  Tavis is consistent in his criticism of President Obama.  To many people, Tavis is probably more well know for criticizing President Obama than he is for any of his other accomplishments such as the “State of the Black Union,” and some of his earlier best-selling books.  If your name is Tavis Smiley, criticizing President Barack Obama will definitely keep your name in the headlines.

During a discussion on Sunday’s “Meet The Press,” Smiley criticized President Obama’s remarks on Trayvon Martin’s death and the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial.  Smiley took to Twitter following the president’s unexpected comments and tweeted the following:  “Took POTUS almost a week to show up and express mild outrage. And still, it was as weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid.”

Trayvon Martin’s parents said President Obama made a “beautiful tribute to their boy” and shared that they were “honored and moved” by his words.  That wasn’t good enough for Tavis.  Many have wondered if President Obama will be able to do anything that would satisfy Mr. Smiley.

While on “Meet The Press,” Smiley also said:

I appreciate and applaud the fact that the president did finally show up. But this town has been spinning a story that’s not altogether true. He did not walk to the podium for an impromptu address to the nation; he was pushed to that podium. A week of protest outside the White House, pressure building on him inside the White House pushed him to that podium. So I’m glad he finally arrived.

But when he left the podium, he still had not answered the most important question, that Keynesian question, where do we go from here? That question this morning remains unanswered, at least from the perspective of the president. And the bottom line is this is not Libya, this is America. On this issue, you cannot lead from behind.

You know my position with regard to Tavis Smiley.  I think he is a self-serving whiner who craves the spotlight.  If you look at his total body of work, Tavis is an accomplished and hard working media personality, author and advocate worthy of the hype.  While Tavis continues to legitimately make valid points on issues such as hunger, black unemployment and other civil rights issues, the way that he raises these issues can be called into question as self-serving.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why Tavis Smiley is invited to be a guest on FOX News and the premiere Sunday talk shows.  Tavis is black and he is an articulate and consistent critic of the President.  That makes for lively conversation on television that translates into higher ratings.

Tavis historically has had a close relationship with former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary.  If Hilary Clinton runs for President, it will be interesting to gauge the support she gets from Mr. Smiley.

I don’t mind Tavis criticizing President Obama.  I do have a problem with “how” he criticizes.  Again, it appears to me that most of what Tavis does these days is overly self-serving.

Tavis has received a blistering response from many in the “Twittersphere” and social media.  People are expressing their opinions about
Tavis via our site’s e-mail box and our Facebook page.  Tavis appears to be unfazed by the comments.  Tavis accused President Obama of lacking courage by “kicking the race can down the road.”

Tavis also stated that President Obama has lost his moral compass.  Is it possible that Tavis has lost his way too?

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.” 

To learn more about Gary click here.

Gary Johnson has written several articles on Tavis Smiley.  To review some of his past commentaries click on the links below:




13 Responses to “Tavis Smiley’s Criticism of President Obama (Again)”

  1. The best way to describe Tavis Smiley and his continued attacks on the President—misguided. You can put Tavis, Larry Elder, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Juan Williams, Armstrong Williams, the Scott character out of Florida and now Charles Barkley in a bag, reach in and pull one out and you would not be able to tell the difference. They are killing us softly. Bill Cosby said it best, “I am glad I am going and not coming!”

  2. pykearly Says:

    While I may disagree with Tavis’ position on this, criticism of a president, whether President Bush or Obama, does not mean the critic hates the President. That’s just how the critic sees the president. Classifying someone as “misguilded” (which is not even a word), is blinded misunderstanding of the critic. It doesn’t mean Tavis hates the President. Criticism keeps leaders stronger in their resolve. I think people expect all Presidents, including President Obama, to be firm in their dispositions. For Tavis, this was not what the President did. He (Tavis) has a right to that claim. It does not, however, make him a “misguilded” person.
    Naming all of these people who criticize the President, and putting them in the same category is classless, pure and simple.

    • Glad you found the typo / evidently you are still learning to read with understanding. Tavis was the only one I pointed out as a critic of the President. The others I said, you could put in the same bag with Tavis and pull out one and never be able to tell the difference. They killing us softly because they are so divided in their positions as it relates to the black community. Networking with each other is out of the question. Furthermore, it is brothers like you who hide behind these fake names in social media and player hate. Instead of you being a part of the solution you a part of the problem. You will always remain in an anonymous mode of operation because you don’t have anything to contribute.

      Pure and simple, Signed Harold K. Bell

  3. […] Tavis Smiley’s Criticism of President Obama (Again) (bmia.wordpress.com) […]

  4. […] Tavis Smiley’s Criticism of President Obama (Again) (bmia.wordpress.com) […]

  5. harry brown Says:


  6. There is still some venom from Smiley over the fact that the president could not come to his show. Unforgiveness is not becoming Mr. Smiley…or anyone else.

  7. Hi mates, how is all, and what you wish for to say about this article, in my view its genuinely remarkable
    in support of me.

  8. harry brown Says:


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