Will MSNBC's Buchanan Ban Lead to a Sharpton Backlash?

The blog Inside Cable News is decrying "The Sharpton Sized Elephant in MSNBC’s Buchanan Room." If Pat Buchanan is banned from MSNBC for inappropriate speech, "MSNBC is all but inviting the same litmus test to be applied to Sharpton. And Sharpton would fail that test just as Buchanan apparently has."

ICN guesses that MSNBC is so concerned about being nibbled away on the left by the Current TV folks, they're shoving away Buchanan to please the liberal base. "This would put MSNBC in a real quandary. If it takes Buchanan out but leaves Sharpton in place it’s opening itself up for a whole bunch of questions it really doesn’t want to answer. It will be forced to discuss how Buchanan’s controversial history is not appropriate to the point that he has to be taken off the air but Sharpton’s at times even more inflammatory rhetoric and history is. MSNBC doesn’t want to discuss that. It’s a lose-lose scenario."

Would MSNBC be forced to defend signing up Sharpton for the 6 PM hour while Buchanan was proclaimed to be too racial in his public advocacy? Back to ICN:

Remember, this is a branding fight over ideology not a fight over indisputable facts. If it was a fight over facts and absolute appropriateness for the national dialogue, both Buchanan and Sharpton’s records would have to be examined side by side. MSNBC doesn’t want that because it forces the network into a position where it has to at least tacitly admit that it’s carving out an exception for Sharpton because Sharpton and his views carry Progressive street cred whereas Buchanan and his views carry Progressive street ire.

But the network will likely face no alternative now but to put itself through this gauntlet of examination. It’s just too obvious a comparison to ignore.

MSNBC would surely say that Buchanan handed them the cudgel in publishing a book that reignites the debate over whether Buchanan's too racial and insulting in his commentary, while Al Sharpton hasn't written a book in the Obama era.

Last week, Pat Buchanan told Sean Hannity on his radio show “The reports of my suspension [from MSNBC] are highly overrated.” The Huffington Post found it shocking that Buchanan would call out his enemies who want him banned from the increasingly leftist network.

"Look, for a long period of time the hard left, militant gay rights groups, militant -- they call themselves civil rights groups, but I'm not sure they're concerned about civil rights -- people of color, Van Jones, these folks and others have been out to get Pat Buchanan off TV, deny him speeches, get him column canceled," Buchanan said. "This has been done for years and years and years and it's the usual suspects doing the same thing again."
 

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