This week included World Mental Health Day.  So what better time to make fun of someone for seeking help for their mental health.  Right, CNN?

Don Lemon led a panel discussion with three commentators as they mocked Kanye West for meeting with President Trump to discuss prison reform and for wearing a MAGA hat.

“Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don’t read,” CNN’s Bakari Sellers said.

Kanye is “the token Negro of the Trump administration,” CNN’s Tara Setmayer said.

Yes, I agree that a mega-millionaire black man meeting with the President of the United States — after that President nearly eradicated unemployment amongst African Americans — is a shameful thing, in deed.  Just horrible, I tell you.  Obviously Trump meeting with a black man is evidence of his hidden racism, right?


Then, to add insult to injury, the so-called “experts” also made fun of Kanye for seeking medical treatment for mental health issues. Those comments weren’t just rude, pathetic, and ideologically biased.  They were also dangerous.  Yet, CNN broadcast these remarks during prime time, then promoted them on social media.   The Intercept has the story:

“No one should be taking Kanye West seriously,” Setmayer decreed. Why not? Because, she said, “he clearly has issues. He’s already been hospitalized.” Let’s repeat that: No one should be taking Kanye West seriously. He clearly has issues. He’s already been hospitalized.

Setmayer was referring to West’s 2016 hospitalization in Los Angeles’s Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. In 2018, West spoke publicly and bravely about that hospitalization and the medical treatment he has received for his mental health struggles, including a bipolar diagnosis. West described how his doctors found the right balance of medication and therapies and he decided to speak publicly about his medical treatment because, in his words, “I want to change the stigma of mental health.”

Wow.  So, an African American man wants to de-stigmatize mental health problems…  this is a noble effort in today’s modern world where suicide rates have skyrocketed.  However, since Kanye wears a red hat, the bullies at CNN think it’s just fine to throw around dangerous words and giggle about the star’s mental fitness.

After mocking West for his hospitalization, Setmayer quickly added: “You know not to trivialize mental health issues” – something she had just blatantly done and then proceeded immediately to do again, adding: “but I mean obviously, Kanye has taken a turn in a very strange way. You read any of his interviews, go back and read his interview with Charlamagne tha God. It’s all over the place.” Not only did Lemon nor any of the other panelists object, but they maintained their laughing, giggling tone as this mockery was spouted.

Unsurprisingly, mental health professionals warned against this sort of rhetoric, because it often prevents “patients from seeking the treatment they need due to the shame associated with these conditions – a fear-driven failure that frequently results in allowing these conditions to go untreated, sometimes leading to permanent depression, incapacity and even suicide.”

Here’s more:

Worse, they said, the CNN discussion exploited, and lent credibility to, bigoted attitudes toward people who have been treated for mental health conditions, attitudes which often prevent them from finding employment or even shelter.

Psychology Professor Patrick Corrigan, one of the nation’s leading scholars on the harms of societal stigmas attached to mental health treatment and the author of a new book entitled “The Stigma Effect,” told the Intercept that Setmayer’s comments “are troubling even if one does not like Donald Trump or his constituency.” The commentary from CNN, he said, “is stigma – in the same category as racism and sexism. It tries to minimize someone’s opinion not because of the spirit of the message, but because mental illness is some kind of slur against one’s character.”

Exactly.  CNN should apologize for their flippant statements and — frankly — get a better panel of experts and a new host.  If a black man meeting with the President to help accomplish prison reform is worthy of mockery, then maybe — just maybe? — they aren’t all concerned with racial harmony and justice after all.

Maybe it’s time CNN just admits they’re only after power — and actual black people better not stand in the way of their narrative.

Image Credit: NRK P3 on Flickr


About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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