In a rare case of journalistic integrity, the liberal online news website The Daily Beast, which owns the online magazine Newsweek, ran a piece by Stuart Stevens, former chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, slamming NBC News for employing Al Sharpton as a cable host.
In a piece entitled “Al Sharpton’s Long Bill of Goods, From Tawana Brawley to Primetime” Stevens chastises Sharpton for the “many ugly incidents from the reverend’s past” and lays out why, in his view, NBC should reconsider employing the controversial Democratic presidential candidate-turned-TV host. Stevens’ argument is that, far from an outlier or once off mistake, "Sharpton’s behavior in the Brawley case is part of a life-long pattern.”
The Tawana Brawley case occurred in 1987 when Brawley, a 15 year-old African-American girl, falsely claimed that she was abducted and raped by a group of white men. Sharpton was one of three black activists representing the Brawley family pushing the false accusations made by Ms. Brawley. More than 25 years later, Sharpton still has not apologized for inflaming racial tensions surrounding the case, instead according to Stevens, he believes, “that he deserves credit for standing by the teen", asserting darkly in the Times documentary that “something happened.”
Sharpton’s career didn’t stop there, as he was influential in inflaming the 1991 Crown Heights riots following the death of a young African-American who was hit by an ambulance driven by a Hasidic Jewish driver. Sharpton disgustingly commented that Jews were “diamond merchants” with “the blood of innocent babies” on their hands.
That is just a sample of the hatred that spews from Sharpton’s mouth, hatred from which the Baptist minister has never fully repented. Given that The Daily Beast is an extremely liberal publication run by the liberal Tina Brown, it is surprising that they would feature a piece trashing a network that many of its employees regularly appear as guests. Stuart points out that:
There are a lot of angry, twisted individuals in America and Sharpton is hardly alone in having spent decades vomiting hate, leaving innocent victims in his wake. What distinguishes Sharpton is the willingness of powerful people and organizations to look past the hate when they believe it may benefit them.
That's precisely what MSNBC has done, on top of the obvious ethical transgression of permitting a political activist like Sharpton to both report the news when he's busy as a political activist making it.
When Phil Griffin recently became the President of MSNBC, it was an open question whether the network would rein in the race-baiting Sharpton, but so far nothing of the sort has occurred. Instead, as Stuart points out: NBC has gone far beyond showing up. They have made the ethical and news judgment that Al Sharpton should be a credible news source for Americans.
It’s refreshing that The Daily Beast ran a story that the majority of the liberal media is afraid to mention: that a major news network continues to employ controversial and extreme individuals to report and present the news to its audience.