Conservatives such as Fox News, the Daily Caller and Sarah Palin are criticizing the White House's invitation to rapper Common for a poetry event over the purported vulgarity of his lyrics. Fox Nation, for instance, called Common a “vile rapper.”
But roughly half a year ago, Fox News had a different tone about Common. In an October 2010 report for FoxNews.com, reporter Jason Robinson interviewed the “rap legend” and told him, “your music is very positive. And you're known as the conscious rapper. How important is that to you, and how important do you think that is to our kids?"
Common replied that it's a “significant role. I just try to show who we are as well-rounded people and I'm happy to be known as the conscious artist.”
Others have debunked the silly outrage over Common's invite. The Huffington Post's Jason Linkins writes that Common is “not what I consider to be a 'gangsta rapper' or particularly prone to any of hip-hop's legendary excesses. In fact, it was these excesses - 'poppin glocks servin rocks and hittin switches' -- that Common famously criticized in perhaps his most famous song, 'I Used To Love H.E.R.'” The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf, meanwhile, notes that there's a tradition of previous White Houses hosting people with purportedly controversial lyrics.