After years of downplaying them, a tweet by CNN, the ‘Most Trusted Name In News,’ normalizes King’s radical views.
With banks, post offices, as well as nearly all non-essential government functions shut down, most Americans know that today, January 15th, is Martin Luther King Day in honor of the slain civil rights-leader’s birthday.
In most years, MLK Day is marked with moving tributes from civil rights icons and politicians alike.
However, this year, instead of the typical platitudes, there seems to be a noticeable shift leftward in some posts about the hero.
For example, the article The Forgotten Socialist History of Martin Luther King Jr., which was posted on the pro-socialist website In These Times, a writer notes:
As Americans honor King on his birthday, it is important to remember that the civil rights icon was also a democratic socialist, committed to building a broad movement to overcome the failings of capitalism and achieve both racial and economic equality for all people.
While In These Times does have a sizable audience on the Left, it is not considered a widely-read “mainstream” website.
However, there was also this tweet by “the most trusted name in news,” CNN.
– He’s an environmental hero
– He was a socialist before it was cool
– He never let a political disagreement turn nasty
— CNN (@CNN) January 15, 2018
The article that CNN’s tweet links to explains some of Martin Luther King Jr’s then-radical views as follows:
Many historians describe him as a “democratic socialist,” someone who, according to the Democratic Socialists of America, believes the economy should be shaped “to meet public needs” and “not to make profits for a few.”
King called for universal health care and education, a guaranteed annual income and the nationalization of some industries.
In years past (even as recently as 2012), the Left seemed to downplay King’s socialist statements.
Despite the fact that King was a Republican, “[m]ost historians think King was getting more radical, not conservative, at the end of his life,” noted CNN in 2013.
Ironically, had anyone on the Right called King a “socialist,” as CNN openly did today, they would have been likely ridiculed with the terms “red scare tactics” or “McCarthyism.”