WashPost Offers Al Sharpton a Peacemaker Op-Ed: 'Passion Without Poison'

On the very same day that The Washington Post is shaming Sarah Palin on the front page for using the phrase "blood libel," the Post editorial page welcomed the shameless Rev. Al Sharpton to paint himself as a peacemaker in the post-Tucson political games. The headline was "Passion without poison." Nowhere in the article did the supposedly reformed Sharpton find the words to apologize for smearing innocent people with the Tawana Brawley rape hoax, something he's never apologized for. But the Post finds him worthy to deliver their sermon.

This may have been organized by Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, one of the first on Wednesday to attack Sarah Palin on TV for using the words "blood libel" to describe the evidence-free charge that Palin and other conservatives were guilty for Jared Loughner's murderous rampage. On the Post website,  Capehart honored Sharpton for his maturation:

I have known and covered Rev. Al Sharpton for about 17 years. And during that time I have watched him evolve from the rabble-rousing "portly preacher" with a penchant for chasing controversy in jogging suits to the slimmed down statesman comfortable and welcome in the halls of power. This maturation didn't happen overnight. He learned from his mistakes and listened to those who saw him on the verge of wasting his potential.

Sharpton has a lesson for Palin, Capehart insisted: "Hopefully, Palin and others across the political spectrum will take heed." Capehart wrote this even as he acknowledged: "Again, there is no direct link between the gunsights map on which Sarah Palin targeted 20 members of Congress, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), during the midterm elections and the alleged murderous actions of Jared Lee Loughner." But she still deserves Sharpton's lecture, apparently.

The morning that I was to lead a peaceful march, I gave a speech during a weekly radio broadcast in which I said that we need to deal with a "white interloper" who was trying to alter the landscape of Harlem. My clear intent was to lead a peaceful protest. I did so that day, but I was wrong to refer to this man's race, and I was not careful in making distinctly clear that we were solely calling for nonviolent opposition.

Two and half months later, a disturbed and troubled man went to a neighboring store and set a fire. He killed several of the store's employees and then himself. My words were immediately raised in the media. My initial response was to defend the fact that I had never condoned such violence, and never would. But the fact is, if I in any way contributed to the climate - which was clearly more volatile than I had thought - I had to be more careful and deliberate in my public language rather than sharpen my defenses.

Does anyone believe that Al Sharpton "learned his lesson" back in 1995 and has been a racial peacemaker for 15 years? It's jaw-dropping that a "respectable" newspaper would honor Sharpton as someone who can teach Sarah Palin a lesson.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis