MSNBC Boss Sells Sharpton: He's a 'Good Person' and 'Fair,' And 'He's Only Going to Grow'

The New York media has a nasty habit of producing puff pieces about rabble-rousing Rev. Al Sharpton. The latest came from Daniel D’Addario at The New York Observer. It was headlined “A Reasonable Man: How Track-Suited Firebrand Al Sharpton Became the Most Thoughtful Voice on Cable.”

“He’s controversial,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin told The Observer. “But a lot of people only know him from a few things. You don’t understand that he’s a good person. He’s fair. You don’t want to be judged for just a few things in your life, do you?”

We noted that his missteps had been particularly public and might color potential viewers’ impressions before they even tuned in. “It’s the civil rights movement! He has to do things that he’s misunderstood for. Maybe he’s made a mistake or two—but his heart is in the right place.”

...For the significant portion of the nation that identifies as liberal (and the smaller number that watches MSNBC), Rev. Sharpton—cast as a clown and a villain throughout the late 1980s and 1990s—is, at 57, suddenly an establishment figure. “The Rev is only going to grow, because more people are going to accept him,” Mr. Griffin noted. “He’s going to break all these notions of who he is.”

At least Sharpton admits MSNBC lurches to the Left, unlike bias deniers like Rachel Maddow.

At his party, the host didn’t deny that MSNBC and Fox had similarities: “We’re people with opinions,” he said.

“People don’t watch Bill O’Reilly or me for the weather report,” he went on. “They know we have an opinion. We said in the beginning I wasn’t objective. No one who watches my show thinks I’m objective. Fox is not objective.”

The Observer noted Sharpton has been "criticized some media observers for full-throated political advocacy on top of his journalistic duties," including the Trayvon Martin case. “Later the press tried to act like we rode in on the publicity,” Sharpton protested. “No. We started the publicity. Was I an ambulance chaser? No, I’m an ambulance.”

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