When CBS's "60 Minutes" did a puff piece about Al Sharpton in May, Lesley Stahl revealed the Reverend refuses to say anything bad about President Obama.
On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," former MSNBC contributor Cenk Uygur claimed he might have been replaced by Sharpton in the 6PM time slot because of the Reverend's undying devotion to the current White House resident (video follows with transcript and commentary):
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: But you suggested, when this split came, that perhaps there was some White House pressure on MSNBC because you have taken on the president on various things. But you don't have any evidence of that, do you?
CENK UYGUR: But I didn't say that. I said people in Washington had a concern with my tone, which is what Phil Griffin told me. I didn't say that he said that it was the White House. Now, you know, who is the people in Washington? I think that's a really great question, probably needs some more investigation.
You know, a friend of mine just suggested that I watch the "60 Minutes" piece from a couple of months ago on Al Sharpton. And I found that to be very curious because Leslie Stahl said there, and here I have the quote for you: "Sharpton says he has decided not to criticize the president about anything."
So the guy who was criticizing the president is out, even though he had really good ratings, and the guy who has decided not to criticize the president about anything is in. That's interesting.
This was the relevant section from Stahl's puff piece on the Reverend:
LESLEY STAHL, CBS (OFF CAMERA): Sharpton told us that having a black president is a challenge: if he finds fault with Mr. Obama, he's aiding those who want to destroy him. So he has decided not to criticize the president about anything - even about black unemployment that’s twice the national rate.
STAHL (ON CAMERA): Have you told other blacks not to criticize him publicly?
REV. AL SHARPTON: What I've told them is to be genuine about it. There are some blacks that said, “He needs to go with a black agenda. He needs to do this.” He said when he was running he wasn't gonna do that. Duh. Surprise.
STAHL: But just because he didn't campaign on improving unemployment in black areas, why aren't you out there saying, “We need more done?”
SHARPTON: What I don't want to see is because he is black that we act like he's not the real president. “He ought to be leading the black cause or the labor cause.” He's the president. To minimize who he is, I think is an insult to the achievement of having him there.
STAHL (OFF CAMERA): Given his loyalty and his change from confrontational to accommodating, the administration is rewarding him with access and assignments, like making him a spokesman for their education policy and sending him on the road with Newt Gingrich, of all people, to build support for hiring better teachers.
So, two months ago, it was revealed on "60 Minutes" that Sharpton "decided not to criticize the president about anything - even about black unemployment that’s twice the national rate," and "the administration is rewarding him with access and assignments, like making him a spokesman for their education policy."
Now, MSNBC is rewarding Sharpton with his own 6PM program five nights a week.
The reality is I don't buy what Uygur's been selling since his departure from MSNBC last week.
As I've written on numerous occasions, he's clearly not ready to be hosting his own program. The one he had for about six months following Keith Olbermann's departure from the network was almost unwatchable.
Since by his own admissions Uygur appeared unmanageable and disinterested in accepting constructive feedback from superiors, MSNBC's side that they were going to use him in a different capacity possibly giving him the grooming he desperately needs seems far more plausible.
I also don't buy that any of this was caused by his criticism of Obama. These were tremendously infrequent, and always punches from the left.
As the most liberal television so-called news outlet in the nation, MSNBC doesn't mind its commentators occasionally taking their beloved President on when it's a position likely shared by the majority of their far-left viewers.
As for Uygur's replacement, was Sharpton's loyalty to Obama part of MSNBC's calculus in giving him the 6PM time slot?
I'm sure it didn't hurt.
(H/T Daily Caller)