Al Sharpton has survived and overcome disgraces and scandals galore, without accounting and without apology. As polite liberal society turns a blind eye, Sharpton keeps moving. In case you have missed it, Sharpton now holds down his own show on MSNBC. He remains an unsurpassed racial hustler.
With the troubles in Ferguson, Sharpton has reemerged to peddle his usual goods. The AP’s Adam Geller takes a look back and declares that Sharpton “seizes the moment.” Doesn’t he always?
Howard Kurtz is pained to find Sharpton “working both sides of the street” as a participant and commentator. Kurtz notes Sharpton’s rising to his current status:
Reporter Glenn Thrush says that “the White House, as the crisis following Brown’s death seemed to flare out of control, worked extensively behind the scenes to maximize The Rev’s doing what he does, using him as both a source of information and a go-between. After huddling with Brown’s family and local community leaders, Sharpton connected directly with White House adviser and First Friend Valerie Jarrett, vacationing in her condo in the exclusive Oak Bluffs section of Martha’s Vineyard, not far from where President Obama and his family were staying.”
So Sharpton is working the back channels on the administration’s behalf. That means MSNBC, through one of its most prominent hosts, is in cahoots with the White House. Plenty of pundits at the liberal-leaning network defend Obama, but when Sharpton does it, viewers may not realize that they’ve forged a political partnership.
The source of much of this, not surprisingly, is Sharpton, who spoke to Politico on the record.
Kurtz is dismayed by Sharpton’s multiple roles, implying there is a conflict of interest among them:
When a racial controversy erupts, Sharpton is there. He has a vested interest in keeping it alive, which keeps him in the spotlight.
In the Trayvon [Martin] case, he met with the family and its attorney, Ben Crump (who is also representing Michael Brown’s family). One minute, he was speaking as their advocate. The next, he was interviewing them on his show. This isn’t blurring the lines, it’s obliterating them.
Now we see the same syndrome in the Ferguson tragedy. Sharpton with the family. Sharpton leading rallies. Sharpton quietly working with Obama. Sharpton denouncing the police on MSNBC. How is this allowed?
It’s a good question, but it applies to Sharpton’s continuing career in its entirety. The apparent conflicts in Sharpton’s multiple roles are the least of it. Despite his multiple roles, Sharpton is always a the racial demagogue promoting Al Sharpton. So who is Al Sharpton?
Although Sharpton is accorded an absurdly respected role in the Democratic Party, he is easily one of the most vile men active in American public life. Jay Nordlinger reviewed Sharpton’s record as of early 2000 in his brilliant National Review feature article “Power Dem.” Jay updated his take on Sharpton in his Impromptus column “Words from Pope Al.”
From his promotion of Tawana Brawley’s hoax and his defamation of Steven Pagones and Robert Abrams, to his defense of the Central Park “wilding” rapists, to his role in the pogroms leading to the murders of Yankel Rosenbaum in Crown Heights and eight victims in Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem, Sharpton has compiled a record that should result in his excommunication by decent people from civil society.
Here is Sharpton on the accidental death of Gavin Cato in Crown Heights in August 1991:
The world will tell us that [Gavin Cato] was killed by accident….What type of city do we have that would allow politics to rise above the blood of innocent babies?…Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights….All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise. Pay for your deeds….It’s no accident that we know we should not be run over. We are the royal family on the planet. We are the original man. We gazed into the stars and wrote astrology. We had a conversation and that became philosophy….We will win because we are right. God is on our side.
Writing in the Village Voice in December 2004, Wayne Barrett proclaimed Sharpton to have hit “a new low.” And Sharpton of course contributed to the miscarriage of justice represented by the dismissed rape charges brought against the three Duke lacrosse players. In an April 2006 interview with Bill O’Reilly, Sharpton said (among other things): “This case parallels Abner Louima, who was raped and sodomized in a bathroom like this girl has alleged she was. That’s the case and just like the Louima case, you have people saying she fabricated it. They said he fabricated it — two guys in jail right now for that.”
In 2010, Sharpton appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show peddling the Democratic Party’s line tarring opponents of Obamacare and Obama’s program of national socialism as racists. Sharpton told O’Reilly that he had seen the (non-existent) tape showing Tea Party protesters abusing black congressmen with racial epithets. In the video above, O’Reilly called Sharpton on his bald-faced lie.
In the 2011 New York Daily News column “What Crown Heights taught me,” Sharpton reflected on the events in Crown Heights 20-plus years ago. Sharpton found that that he had grown. “Growing” is of course an essential part of the Sharpton hustle.
Sharpton presented his contribution to the events in Crown Heights through a gauzy filter. He alluded to rather than quoted his remarks on Gavin Cato’s death. And he omitted any reference to his taunt: “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”
One wonders. Has Sharpton grown since the Tawana Brawley hoax? Since the rape hoax perpetrated against the Duke lacrosse players? Since the false imputation of racism to th Tea Party opponents of Obamcare? Even as he has shed hundreds of pounds, he must have grown to become one of the largest men of our times.
Nevertheless, the evidence that this particular tiger has changed his stripes is, shall we say, lacking.
NOTE: Having written about Sharpton here many times previously, I have borrowed from previous posts for this one.