Should MSNBC Cancel Al Sharpton?
In 1987, while I was still living in New Jersey, I watched Al Sharpton's initial TV debut in 1987 on the infamous Morton Downey Jr. Show on WWOR, and read in horror as he orchestrated the even more infamous Tawana Brawley hoax that same year. In 1991, I reead about the Crown Heights riots, where, as Jay Nordlinger wrote, "A rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was lynched. Over a hundred others were injured." So I was more than a little horrified to watch Sharpton transform into "Al Sharpton, Power Dem," as Nordlinger dubbed him in 2000, when Democrat presidential candidates Bill Bradley and Al Gore felt obligated to make the trek to Sharpton's office and kiss his, err, ring.
And then there was MSNBC a decade later. The Comcast-owned cable network began 2011 vowing a new tone of civility (no really) and comparing gun and violence-related metaphors to the N-Word. That was in January. By August of that same year, MSNBC was demonstrating its commitment to the Era of New Civility and Measured Discourse by giving Al Sharpton his own show. Even New York magazine noted early on that Sharpton's "biggest opponent so far" was the teleprompter, and in the years since, Sharpton's nightly "Resist we much!" battle with the teleprompter has become the stuff of legend.
But that didn't stop Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC from telling NPR that "I've known [Sharpton] quite a bit. he's smart. He's entertaining. He's experienced. He's thoughtful. He's provocative, all the things I think that MSNBC is." And curiously, the NPR anchor was apparently non-horrified at that thought.
But today, after Sharpton-led protests have lead to an escalating spiral of violence culminating last night in the death of two NYPD patrolmen, Peter Ingemi, writing at his Da Tech Guy Blog, has had enough:
You might say, “But DaTechGuy Mr. Sharpton has 1st Amendment rights” indeed he does, but said right does not extend to a programing on MSNBC, if that was the case then I would demand one myself.
I call upon the network to immediately “suspend” Mr. Sharpton and remove his show from their lineup.
It is their network and they of course have the perfect right to ignore my call for this action, conversely I have the perfect right to express my opinion that a failure to do so is a direct endorsement of the events of Saturday afternoon by MSNBC and by their parent company Comcast and consumers should act accordingly.
The Comcast contact page is here.
You can contact MSNBC here.
Or perhaps you might choose to contact their advertisers, I’m sure they must be delighted to have their brands associated with the face of the anti-police movement at this time.
Closing thought, If Comcast decides the Rev Al is a liability & removes him from MSNBC & said reverend’s followers quit the network in protest, would anyone be left watching?
Presumably, Phil Griffin believed that hiring Sharpton was a Corleone-level masterstroke: by having Sharpton on the NBC payroll, he's not very likely to defenestrate another NBC or MSNBC anchor as he did to then MSNBC-star Don Imus in 2007. But Griffin had to know that he was making a Faustian bargain by hiring Sharpton.
However, reasonable people can disagree with Ingemi as to whether or not Sharpton should be dumped in the rapidly escalating wake of the violent protests Sharpton helped gin up. As with past anchors Keith Olberman at his must lunatic, Alec Baldwin at his most violent, and Martin Bashir at his most scatological, Al Sharpton is the spokesman for MSNBC -- and Comcast -- right now. After all, Sharpton is "all the things" its network president thinks "that MSNBC is." as the network's president says. And he's a powerful daily reminder of just much hatred lurks in the hearts of the left:
I WANT Al Sharpton to stay on MSNBC. I want him to be the FACE of NBC. I want people to think Al Sharpton whenever anyone mentions NBC.
— SmallgGay (@SmallgGay) December 21, 2014