Race-baiter turned MSNBC host Al Sharpton garnered an egregiously fawning profile in Monday's New York Times, which has long hailed the "civil rights leader" while glossing over or ignoring his racially inflammatory past (Tawana Brawley, "white interlopers").
The worst criticism reporters Nikita Stewart and Jason Horowitz can muster in "A Slimmed-Down Sharpton Savors an Expanded Profile": Sharpton was once "divisive" and "overweight" in his gold medallion and track-suit days. But now he has the White House's ear and an even wider field for activism: "The slimmer Mr. Sharpton gets, the more space he takes up....for him, these are very good days."
In little more than 24 hours this weekend, the Rev. Al Sharpton led a march on Staten Island to protest the death of a black man in police custody, went to Washington to appear on “Meet the Press” and flew to Ferguson, Mo., where on Monday he is to eulogize the 18-year-old black man whose fatal shooting by the police set off days of unrest.
In between, Mr. Sharpton talked by phone to Valerie Jarrett, a White House adviser and presidential confidante, who told him that representatives of the Obama administration would be at the funeral for the 18-year-old, Michael Brown. It was an hour before she announced the news on Twitter, and well before the release of an official White House announcement.
From an overweight Brooklyn firebrand clad in tracksuits and draped in medallions, Mr. Sharpton has transformed himself into the White House’s civil rights leader of choice, an incessantly televised pundit, and even a poster child for a strict diet of salad and juice.
The slimmer Mr. Sharpton gets, the more space he takes up.
His organization’s general counsel calls him “the hardest-working man in social justice.” On Sunday on “Meet the Press,” he was asked about a much-discussed profile of him in Politico Magazine last week that charted how he became President Obama’s go-to civil rights advocate. “In every era going back to Lincoln with Frederick Douglass, presidents talk to those that were leading at that time,” Mr. Sharpton said. He went on to defend Mr. Obama against criticism that his remarks about Ferguson have been tepid, and praised the president for “addressing it twice while he was on vacation, not a statement but coming out live.”
There was a brief foray into facts before the parade of flattery continued:
But Mr. Sharpton’s ascent from one of the most divisive figures in New York -- the Brooklyn iconoclast who backed what would prove to be bogus rape accusations by Tawana Brawley -- to the country’s most prominent voice on race relations involves more than the selection of inspiring music that accompanies his morning commute.
Mr. Sharpton said he met Mr. Obama in 2003 while marching in a Chicago parade, and then caught up with him at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, where Mr. Obama, then a state senator, delivered the keynote address that catapulted him onto the national scene.
“He said: ‘Well, reverend, you know, my theme is a little different than yours. I’m going to try to unite all Americans.’ I said: ‘I respect that. You do what you got to do tonight and I’m going to be there applauding.’ ” They have since acquired an appreciation for each other’s usefulness.
He is rewarded with invitations to White House Super Bowl parties, where he laughs it up with the president. Mr. Sharpton recalled an “amazing night” when he took his daughter to the Super Bowl party and she talked to Michelle Obama for 45 minutes. “I don’t even remember who played,” Mr. Sharpton said.
Mr. Sharpton is not only a special guest. He is also a special host to the president, who has appeared as the keynote speaker at the National Action Network’s convention. Five cabinet members, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., spoke at the convention in April. On the other side, Mr. Sharpton provides the president with protection from his critics in the African-American community.
While Sharpton shores up Obama's left wing, another Democrat president was too critical of Sister (why not have a week and kill white people?) Souljah:
When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, Mr. Sharpton headed up the ministers’ division at the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “I fell out with President Clinton when I felt he insulted Rev. Jackson and Sister Souljah,” he said, recalling Mr. Clinton’s likening the outspoken rapper and activist to the former Ku Klux Klan grandmaster David Duke. In New York, the Clintons would rush through ribbon cuttings to avoid Mr. Sharpton. He sought to put a positive veneer on the fraught relationship: “We’ve had good and bad days.”
For now, Mr. Sharpton is seeking what he described as real reform on police accountability while his stars are aligned. He is trying to enjoy the good days. And for him, these are very good days.
The same "leader" that spread the Tawana Brawley rape hoax, smearing innocent police officers and a prosecutor and being successfully sued for defamation by that prosecutor. Sharpton also referred to New York City Jews as "diamond merchants" during the racial disturbance in Crown Heights. That period included this Sharpton gem: “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.” That quote, of course, has not appeared in the Times.
In Harlem in 1995, Sharpton cursed the white Jewish owner of Freddy's Fashion Mart as a "white interloper" in a protest that escalated when a racist protester entered the store, shot four employees and set the building on fire, killing seven employees.
Even the left-wing Village Voice has been sharper on Sharpton than the allegedly objective Times.