NBC's Gregory Hits Sharpton on Tawana Brawley, Lauer Barely Touches

 

On Tuesday's Hardball on MSNBC, substitute host David Gregory pressed civil rights activist and Reverend Al Sharpton over his double standard in condemning Don Imus's racist comments while refusing to apologize for his own role in the Tawana Brawley false rape accusations against white police officers. Gregory: "You didn't go as far as apologizing to the people who you hurt through that incident. This was, the courts have concluded, a hoax, accusations against whites by a young black woman about a race-based assault. A court ordered you to pay restitution for a defamation suit against people whose reputation you hurt. You didn't apologize for that."

By contrast, as already reported by NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein, during Tuesday morning's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer only vaguely referred to Sharpton's racist past without filling in viewers on any of the horrific details. Lauer: "You've been around a long time, and you have also, by the way, been the subject of controversy and criticism over the years from various groups. You're also a minister, and in that role you preach the teachings of the Bible. And one of the teachings in the Bible is forgiveness. How does forgiveness apply to Don Imus?" Neither Gregory nor Lauer raised details of how Sharpton on two occasions incited anti-Semitic protests in New York City which led to stabbings, shootings and arson resulting in the murders of eight people. (Transcripts follows)

As Gregory hosted MSNBC's Hardball, he pressed Sharpton's apparent lack of forgiveness toward Imus after the talk radio host's apology. The MSNBC host asked Sharpton about his views on redemption. Gregory: "Let me ask you a question based on your standing in the community, as a politician, as a former candidate for the presidency. Do you believe in redemption?"

After Sharpton contended that he did believe in redemption and argued that he had forgiven a man who had once stabbed him, Gregory moved to point out the civil rights activist's hypocrisy, evoking agitation in Sharpton as Gregory pressed him on the subject.

Gregory: "But in your case, as critics would point out, you didn't go as far as Imus in a controversy that had to do with you and the Tawana Brawley case, a woman who a court-"

Sharpton: "Nor did I castigate a whole race of people-"

Gregory: "I'm sorry, if I could, sir, could I just-"

Sharpton: "Nor did I castigate a whole race of people-"

Gregory: "I just want to finish the question. You didn't go as far as apologizing to the people who you hurt through that incident. This was, the courts have concluded, a hoax, accusations against whites by a young black woman about a race-based assault. A court ordered you to pay restitution for a defamation suit against people whose reputation you hurt. You didn't apologize for that."

Sharpton: "And I still don't apologize. This was a case, as you said, of a young lady accusing people of doing something [to] her. To compare that to a man castigating a whole race. Nobody came to him like this young lady came to me. He was not talking about did he believe in a case. The extremes people will go to compare an individual case, a civil case that, when the courts ruled-"

Gregory: "Right. I'm not, but, Reverend, I'm not comparing the cases. I just want to ask the question."

Sharpton: "Wait a minute, you wanted me to let you ask it. Let me answer it."

Gregory: "Okay."

Sharpton: "And to compare that shows how far people will reach. This man was not talking about a specific case that was information somebody gave him, whether you believe the information or not. This man was talking about a race of people and a sex of people. There is absolutely no comparison. And when the courts ruled against us, we paid that. That case happened 20 years ago. We're not talking about that. What you're talking about is maligning a race and him not having to pay for it."

Gregory: "Well, I'm not talking about that. The question has to do with redemption-"

Sharpton: "Oh, I thought you were the one talking. Maybe somebody else-"

Gregory: "No, I don't think that's fair to talk about that. I'm talking about amnesty. I'm asking a question about your belief in redemption and people whose reputations you hurt, people that you hurt, you haven't apologized for, and you have been a strong person in the middle of this debate."

Below are more of the relevant transcripts from the Tuesday April 10 Today and Hardball shows:

From the Tuesday April 10 Today show:

Matt Lauer: "You've been around a long time, and you have also, by the way, been the subject of controversy and criticism over the years from various groups. You're also a minister, and in that role you preach the teachings of the Bible. And one of the teachings in the Bible is forgiveness. How does forgiveness apply to Don Imus?"

Al Sharpton: "I think that forgiveness is in order. I think that if he meets with those young ladies and they want to forgive him, that is their moral choice to do, and maybe the right thing to do. A man stabbed me once for leading a march that he disagreed with, a man of another race. I went to jail and met with him and said I forgave him. But I didn't say he shouldn't do time for what he did."

From the Tuesday April 10 Hardball:

David Gregory: "Let me ask you a question based on your standing in the community, as a politician, as a former candidate for the presidency. Do you believe in redemption?"

Al Sharpton: "Oh, absolutely. I think that there has to be redemption, as I said this morning on the Today show. A man of a different race, a white man, stabbed me once for leading a nonviolent march. I not only forgave him, I went to jail and met with him and forgave him. But I didn't say he shouldn't pay for the crime. There's a difference between a redemption and amnesty. A lot of people are not talking about redemption. They're talking about amnesty."

Gregory: "But in your case, as critics would point out, you didn't go as far as Imus in a controversy that had to do with you and the Tawana Brawley case, a woman who a court-"

Sharpton: "Nor did I castigate a whole race of people-"

Gregory: "I'm sorry, if I could, sir, could I just-"

Sharpton: "Nor did I castigate a whole race of people-"

Gregory: "I just want to finish the question. You didn't go as far as apologizing to the people who you hurt through that incident. This was, the courts have concluded, a hoax, accusations against whites by a young black woman about a race-based assault. A court ordered you to pay restitution for a defamation suit against people whose reputation you hurt. You didn't apologize for that."

Sharpton: "And I still don't apologize. This was a case, as you said, of a young lady accusing people of doing something [to] her. To compare that to a man castigating a whole race. Nobody came to him like this young lady came to me. He was not talking about did he believe in a case. The extremes people will go to compare an individual case, a civil case that, when the courts ruled-"

Gregory: "Right. I'm not, but, Reverend, I'm not comparing the cases. I just want to ask the question."

Sharpton: "Wait a minute, you wanted me to let you ask it. Let me answer it."

Gregory: "Okay."

Sharpton: "And to compare that shows how far people will reach. This man was not talking about a specific case that was information somebody gave him, whether you believe the information or not. This man was talking about a race of people and a sex of people. There is absolutely no comparison. And when the courts ruled against us, we paid that. That case happened 20 years ago. We're not talking about that. What you're talking about is maligning a race and him not having to pay for it."

Gregory: "Well, I'm not talking about that. The question has to do with redemption-"

Sharpton: "Oh, I thought you were the one talking. Maybe somebody else-"

Gregory: "No, I don't think that's fair to talk about that. I'm talking about amnesty. I'm asking a question about your belief in redemption and people whose reputations you hurt, people that you hurt, you haven't apologized for, and you have been a strong person in the middle of this debate."

Sharpton: "But if I felt, if I felt, if I believed, if I believed that young lady was telling the truth, as I do, then what am I apologizing for? And how do you compare that to a man condemning a whole race? Did I go and condemn a whole race of people? Or did we say we believe this young lady's statement about an individual. I don't know how you even compare the two."