It's official -- Al Sharpton is beyond shame.
For most sentient adults this has been obvious for decades and we can't look at "Reverend Al" without seeing an inveterate race-baiting shakedown artist. (Audio after the jump)
So transparent is this man's hustle, it unavoidably rubs off on guests who appear on his MSNBC and radio shows. With Sharpton routinely reckless in his rhetoric -- this from a man of the cloth -- his guests are left with little choice but to up the ante.
That's what happened yesterday on Sharpton's radio show when author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson went beyond the pale in criticizing remarks by Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and CNN's Don Lemon made after the verdict in the Zimmerman trial (h/t for audio, Brian Maloney, mrctv.org) --
We're wasting our time with, you know, the Hannitys, we're wasting our time with the Bill O'Reillys, and now the Don Lemons, you know, and I happen to agree with that. You know, I stay away from these guys. You know, I don't talk about them. They have an agenda, Bob (Slade, radio host and fellow guest), as you well know and once again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the agenda is to make a show, to make ratings. They will do whatever, anything and everything to make ratings.
So, you know, a Don Lemon comes along. I mean, they don't have to have a program, they don't need to have a program, they're not gonna have a program for change in our community. They're not going to be involved in anything. That's not their role. They are professional hit men. They are professional in the case of Lemon and Reilly (sic), O'Reilly and Hannity, they're professional assassins of African Americans, the image of all the things that we fight for, that we struggle for, and all of the challenges that we are faced, that's their job. They're paid assassins and they're paid quite well. So it is, and I happen to agree, it is in some ways almost ridiculous, you know, to trade barbs with these guys. You know, they have an agenda and we should have our agenda.
Dishonest and reprehensible on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin. Notice how Hutchinson wades into his screed by claiming "I don't talk about them," meaning O'Reilly, Hannity and Lemon, followed by him doing exactly that. Next up -- his claim that "they have an agenda" -- while all of a minute later he suggests, "we should have our agenda." Gee, you know, I mean, for a moment it sounded like having an agenda was a bad thing.
Most egregious of all is Hutchinson demeaning these men as as "professional assassins of African Americans" and "paid assassins." Why? For daring to suggest that the epidemic of violence plaguing blacks in this country is cultural and not political in origin, and emanates from the destruction of their families. Hannity, O'Reilly and Lemon are guilty of nothing more than expressing opinions Hutchinson doesn't like, and for that he labels them murderous criminals. Can there be any doubt he'd imprison them in a moment if he had the power? After all, assassins deserve no better.
In case you're wondering, Sharpton did nothing to rein in his guest. Then again, why would he? Hutchinson said nothing that Sharpton found offensive.
On his Fox News show last night, Hannity demanded Sharpton apologize for Hutchinson's remarks, and deservedly so. Anyone familiar with Sharpton's tiresome shtick knows that no such apology will be forthcoming. The man is too small for that, as are his guests, who would rather see race relations fester instead of approach anything resembling mutual respect and civility.