Ed Driscoll

Al Sharpton: Mr. Fabulist

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Newsbusters asks, “When Will Al Sharpton Collect the $10,000 Breitbart Racial Invective Video Prize?”

Note how quickly Al starts dissembling once Bill O’Reilly calls his bluff in the above clip.  Whether it’s the Tea Partiers in 2010, or Tawana Brawley a quarter of a century ago, as liberal journalist/pundit Peter Beinart wrote for the New Republic in 2003, “Bull*****ing is the mechanism Sharpton uses to escape unscathed from the moral train wrecks that dot his career:”

On “Meet the Press” in January, Tim Russert reminded the freshly reinvented presidential candidate of four episodes in his past: His 1987 conviction for defaming a man he accused of raping Tawana Brawley; his 1993 conviction for tax evasion; his 1995 incitement against a Jewish store owner in Harlem, which culminated in the racially motivated murder of seven of the store’s employees; and his 2002 eviction from the Empire State Building for failing to pay his rent. Sharpton responded by implying racism and changing the subject: “I think you’ve got white candidates with worse backgrounds who–.” Russert interrupted to ask whom he meant. Sensing a dead end, Sharpton declared, “I’m not getting into name-calling,” and changed the subject once again. “If you want to talk about background, talk about how a white male stabbed me at a nonviolent march. I forgave him, testified for him. That’s somebody that brings America together,” he declared. Russert doggedly returned to his question, asking Sharpton, “Why not apologize for Tawana Brawley?” “To apologize for believing and standing with a woman–I think all of us need to take women’s claims more seriously,” Sharpton responded indignantly. “No apology for Tawana Brawley?” Russert tried one last time. “No apology for standing up for civil rights,” replied Sharpton.

That last answer is particularly revealing. According to Al Sharpton, the behavior of Al Sharpton is synonymous with the cause of civil rights, and therefore any criticism of Al Sharpton is, by definition, an attack on racial justice. By running for president, Sharpton is effectively asking the Democratic Party to bless that proposition. He knows that, by treating him as a legitimate candidate, the party is ratifying his self-coronation as the leader of black America. And, if the Democratic Party and the media accept him as the leader of black America, the post-Martin Luther King Jr., post-Jesse Jackson civil rights movement will become, in effect, whatever Sharpton says it is.

See also Jay Nordlinger’s 2000 article in National Review, on Al Sharpton, “Power Dem.” And for this month’s incident, Jack Cashill has “A Closer Look at the Capitol Steps Conspiracy” at the American Thinker.

Related: Heh.™