Sharpton is not alone. But one thing stands out. Instead of suffering retribution for his continuing sins, he has been singularly rewarded. His greatest reward was NBC’s fairly recent appointment of Sharpton as anchor of his own program on MSNBC. He is also a regular commentator on other programs, including the network’s highly rated Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough. Although he continues to run and to be announced as leader of his own activist group, Reverend Al Sharpton alone is permitted to function as both a black activist leader and purportedly objective news host at the same time. Imagine the scandal if Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly took leadership of a conservative activist group while hosting their own TV talk programs. We know that all hell would break loose the very first day. Sharpton is being touted, as Stevens puts it, as a “credible source of information.”
That persona, as a result of this new 15 minute documentary, is now up to being challenged. In the documentary, when asked to comment about his role in the Brawley episode, Sharpton is clearly anything but apologetic. As Wayne Barrett, the former political writer at the old Village Voice with his friend the late Jack Newfield, says in the program, Sharpton still thinks he did nothing wrong. “You would think that if he sold you such a terrible bill of goods for such a giant story that dominated the news for such a long time, that you would not show up at his next news conference with a camera,” Barrett says. Yet the media always come when Sharpton makes a call, as they did in Florida after the Martin shooting.