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Kanye West's 'Today' interview with Matt Lauer -- who, if anyone, is the villain? [poll]


Adjusting one's internal clock to a new time zone takes about one day for each hour, experts say, so in theory we all should have recovered from Sunday's switch to standard time by about, say, Tuesday.

But if Matt Lauer's "Today" interview with Kanye West, and West's reaction to the interview, and Lauer's reaction to West's reaction are any indication of how "adjusted" we all are so far, let's boost that revovery time to at least a week, shall we?

West -- who's been moving in and around former President Bush as the performer promotes his new album, 'W' promotes his memoir and that Hurricane Katrina comment gets shoved back in the spotlight -- appeared to choose his words carefully and take the "Today" interview seriously. He was also upset by videos played while he answered questions on Wednesday, snapped mildly in the studio and then sent off a series of Twitter messages critical of his experience on the show.

Before saying Lauer tried to force his answers in a "brutal" way, West wrote, "I don't mess with Matt Lauer or the Today Show ... and that's a very nice way for me to put it!" The series of Wednesday tweets was still visible @kanyewest Thursday to those who weren't logged in on Twitter.

During the interview, Lauer summed up -- some might say undercut? -- West's lengthy, nuanced discussion of motivations and consequences as, "We're human, we make mistakes, but we have to learn from our mistakes."

After Part 1 of the piece aired Thursday, Lauer referred to West's tweets, giving a somewhat miffed addendum that the show hadn't done anything out of the ordinary by running video during the interview. Addressing criticism from one of West's nine "Today"-related tweets, Lauer aired teaser footage showing the rapper reacting as "Today" played footage of him and Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards, framing that moment as the core of Kanye's criticism.

All we can say is, touchy, touchy, touchy, ladies. 

Since we were gifted with that extra hour earlier this week, let's take a few minutes to review what West said when asked what he would say to Bush if the two agreed to meet. (Oh yeah, that question was asked after the host prompted West to watch footage from Lauer's Bush interview with the sound off, specifically so West could experience the look on the ex-president's face.)

Kanye West "I would tell Bush, in my moment of frustration, that I didn't have the grounds to call him a racist," West said.

"And you're sorry -- ," Lauer prompted.

"Yeah, I'm sorry for -- ," West said, then stopped to think.

"I think I get the point," Lauer said.

But Kanye actually hadn't yet made his point.

"I want to give it the exact perfect wording, because everything I say gets taken and drawn into headlines, and I'm here to man up to different mistakes I made, and speak to the moment when I pegged George Bush as a racist," West said.

"I came here to say that I made mistakes, that I've grown as a person, and it's not as easy as boxing someone into a villain role or into a race role. I did not have the information, enough information in that situation, to call him a racist. That might have been the emotions I felt, but me being a rational, well-thought-out, empathetic human being and thinking about it after the fact, I would have chosen different words.

"Even in these times when I was considered to have done something so wrong, my motivation was from a good place. Maybe mistimed, maybe not the right wording, not using or realizing the power of my words and the way they would stop the Internet. But nonetheless, that it's very pure and from a good place."

So there you have it, West's words as full as NBC presented them, not simply drawn up into a headline. Lauer also rolled video in another interview with Bush, setting up the ex-pres to react to the first part of West's "moment of frustration" comments that aired Thursday.

"I appreciate that," Bush said.

Thoughts on the interview? The last time we checked, "We do it all the time" didn't necessarily mean "it" was right. Watch the video, vote in the poll, and tell us more in comments.


George Bush calls Kanye West's 2005 race comment 'disgusting'

Kanye West's diamond teeth -- seriously, how do you take care of those things?

Kanye West is sorry again -- this time for pulling the 'race card' on George W. Bush

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Credit: Kanye West in New York on Sept. 16. Credit: Andy Kropa / Getty Images


Comments () | Archives (42)

I'm no Kanye West fan, but that would have fustrated me too. Trying to pick the right words and hearing your voice in the back ground is too much.

Shut up Kanye, nobody cares. You are stupid and don't have a right to sit in a chair next to Matt. These people have to interview you because they have to, otherwise, they would not let you wipe the mud off of their shoes.

Bush is no racist?
unpleasant of Republicans at election time-with their conservative entertainment subsidiary news networks to discredit voters in urban area's which are predominantly "black" or not "white". As they do accuse and attack minorities as Sarah Palin tried pigeonholing Barack Obama as a Muslim in election 08', as she knows a population of whites fear Muslims and will vote against him because of it, or Sharon Angle of Nevada who is also a Republican with her racist campaign commercials about immigration which aired this past season. Or the republican Governor in Arizona wanting all immigrants out of her state. Lets not forget President Bushes right wing Christian political party- the "Republicans" who discredit voters in housing projects, attempted to ruin Acorn in smear campaigns to be certain Democrats lose in the elections and imposing a opinion on the public which paints a base of voters for "Obama" as welfare recipients. And G.W. Bush doesn't know how his party runs their campaigns? He funds them. G.W. Bush cares? At some point you have to make it seem like you do. Does anybody remember G.W. Bush insulting John McCain for having a black child? I do- so does John McCain's daughter. -MikeAlike (independent recording artist)

I watched the interview, ain't right. Matt Lauer kinda shoved things in his face. Kanye is trying to make up for things he did in the past. It's pretty obvious.

Kanye West is a punk that never learned any manners. His ego is wearing everyone out and he's worried he won't be able to brush these diamond teeth of his. What an idiot. First he did it with Bush, then he did it with Taylor...and of course, he stated that Beyonce should have gotten the award
Talk about racist?

Kanye West is an, let me man up, cause I make mistakes in the past, idiot.

All interviews on the news are carried out the same way. I find all that overstimulation and massive sensory overload in the media exhausting. That being said, Kanye West has become famous only for his words- in his music writing, and his racist remarks. Looks like the cat got his tongue when it came to making any sort of intelligent response to his own words. He is simply angry and not very smart in my opinion. Go take the mic from a male country singer and see if you dont get launched off the stage! People like him sicken me.

Im proud of Matt Lauer. He has a pair and is going to dance around up there. He handled Bush way tougher then West.

The today show does thousands of interviews every year with heads of state, captains of industry and people from all walks of life. I really don't think they had any malicious intent towards Kanye. I am a fan of his music, I think he's a gifted artist who has earned all he has. I also think that he is a narcosist, and a man in deep pain due to the lost of his mom. Kanye thinks that the world revolves around him, he has clearly brought into his own hype. He may even be depressed and borderline suicidal. Remember, I said I am a fan of his but clearly he needs spiritual counseling, may not religous, but definately spiritual.

I really wish Kanye would shut up or kill himself!Really!He is such a TOOL!You (Kanye)are an embarrassment to black ppl man!4real!PEOPLE OF THE WORLD NOT EVERY PERSON OF COLOR IS IGNORANT LIKE WEST! And that if somebody busted his mouth up to make him sound so stupid,they do a good enough job b/c i,for one,am SICK of his mouth!I understand everybody has a voice but damn--------JUST SHUT THE FLIP UP!!! does anybody have some extra ducktape????

I didnt vote for Bush but thought 'Bush doesnt care about New Orleans' would have been appropriate. We all know that if New Orleans had been Beverly Hills the response would have been completely different. About Swift, I have to agree with Kanye because Swift cant sing but I would have done it a different way. Im not Kanye.

As outrageous as Kanye West can be, I'm going to defend him for a moment. I don't think that Matt Lauer did anything wrong. But, I understood where Kanye was coming from. I've seen him on various shows, showing real courage and holding himself accountable for the wrongs he's committed. But, even while he sits and honestly exposes his flaws, there are tapes in the background replaying these wrongs, not letting them die. Sure, he brought this on himself to some extent. But he's trying. He's clearly spent some time reflecting and is looking for forgiveness. I don't blame him for not wanting to be haunted by his past at the very moment he's trying to apologize for it.

Teri shut up you cornball.

kanye meant what he said about bush(that's how I feel) and alot of pepole agree with him... but because of the way he handle Taylor swift was wrong but I don't think he racist!!!!

I think this should be the last interview Kanye does about both the Bush and Taylor incidents because the more he talks about it the more defensive he looks when trying to explain his actions. These two topics should be dead issues because its been a long time since they have happened. If he did indeed grew from the incidents then let it go already, i think everybody is sick of hearing about it now.

Kayne West what a chump. The only time he gets on tv is for his mouth. If anyone is a racist it is he. The guy needs to take a good look at himself and get some serious therapy. The man thinks he's something but he's nothing. Just a pure racist, he tries to come off as the victim but is the aggresor. He just needs to keep his mouth shut and stop being a disappointment to his race and tothe whole human society. As I stated before what a chump.

Who cares about either one....my life goes on with or without them and most other "celebrities"!

I'm embarrassed to have Kanye West represent the city I live in, he is an ignorant reactionary narcissist. He may be able to sample together a good beat, but his egotistic lyrics make it impossible for me to enjoy any of his music. Can't stand seeing yourself on screen Kanye? Neither can I. Learn to apologize for doing wrong, he couldn't even say the words "I'm sorry". And I'm no fan of George W., but he deserved an apology and Kanye's limp lipped dance around of an apology was bull. Grow up, be a man, and admit when you are wrong, otherwise you have learned nothing.

I think that Matt pretty much said it all when he stated that what we did on this interview was nothing out of the ordinary and then he sort of shrugged, with a smile on his face. I used to like Matt but not anymore. I feel that the press has toooooo much power. Look at all the political adds that the press runs and not bother to find out whether they are truthful or not. These guys and girls should be held accountable for reporting "their facts" if they are not true.

Matt incorrectly restated Bush's comments on West in an effort to insight further animosity. He's a poor excuse of a journalist. He should resign and go work in something for which he is adequately qualified, garbage collection.

i think he froze and focused on the video because he was about to say "frustration from years and years of seeing WHITE PEOPLE WIN"...but he caught himself

Aww, poor Kanye...NOT. Are you kiddin me?! He felt "threatened" and "victimized" by this interview? How the heck does he think Taylor Swift felt?! Or George Bush?! Huh?! This is so ridiculous. He is such an idiot,If he thinks he is going to win America with an empathetic apology,[which is the most meaningless apology in my book "Hey I know its been years but im sorry for what I did to you, not because I find what I did wrong, but because Karma bit me in the a** and now I need people to like me to buy my new album"...stupid]

Kanye's problem with Matt Lauer and the Today's Show is valid. It's not news, it's entertainment. He was there to have a serious discussion about something that meant something to him and the whole country. Matt and the Today's Show were only there to get ratings, revenue from advertising and entertain.

There are no "news" outlets anymore. It's all about entertainment, There are no more journalists.

The sad truth is that Kanye would have been able to have a more serious interview on The Daily Show( a comedy show ) then on any "reputable news" outlet.

Kanye was there to have a serious discussion and they just wanted to entertain you. They think you( the viewing public ) are too stupid to understand anything slightly complex. It's Matt's job to over simplify everything to keep the masses stupid so they can have more control over everyone.

Kayne may be self centered. But at least he is smart enough and self centered enough not to be manipulated and pushed around on that worthless entertainment show masquerading as a news outlet.

The Today's Show and shows like it only bring Americans down and keep the ignorant masses ignorant. Kanye wasn't the problem. WAKE UP!

I believe kanye is a racist, and is working on his racist views. I have found that in this day and age that blacks are more racists than whites, en mass. individual racisim is a personel issue. but get a group of blacks together and it's almost that they are required to dislike,mistrust whites. Much like whites in the pre-martin luther days

Both are egocentric jerks.

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