Brent Bozell
A few nights back, Mark Levin made a powerful point on his radio show: Fox News boss Roger Ailes is a well-known and infamous name in media circles, like some sort of cable-news Voldemort or Darth Vader. Meanwhile, MSNBC boss -- quick, can you name him? -- Phil Griffin is unknown and not the least bit controversial after hiring, as Levin unforgettably put it, a "conga line of morons."

NBC news used to be the channel for sober, boring Huntley-Brinkley journalism. It was liberal, to be sure but serious. NBC's news wasn't always objective, but it had a reputation for professionalism. Think Tim Russert. But in today's era, Brian Williams going on saucer-eyed burger runs with President Obama is a refreshing improvement over MSNBC's lineup, chock-full of vicious, uncivil, shamelessly partisan left-wing hacks.

Griffin is the man who should be held responsible for this. This man fired Pat Buchanan because he didn't think his latest book "should be a part of the national dialogue, much less the dialogue on MSNBC." Buchanan worried in print about a possible "end of white America." But Griffin hired and now promotes the race-huckstering activist the Rev. Al Sharpton.

By giving Sharpton a platform and showing Buchanan the door, Griffin is engaging in mind-boggling hypocrisy -- duplicity unbecoming of a "news" network executive, unless he works for MSNBC.

Before Buchanan was thrown out, the blog Inside Cable News -- no conservative hot spot -- decried "The Sharpton Sized Elephant in MSNBC's Buchanan Room." The blogger saw danger around the corner: "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."

Before his hiring, Sharpton was infamous for perpetuating a hateful racist hoax in 1987 starring a teenaged Tawana Brawley, who smeared dung and wrote racial epithets on herself and then falsely accused a pack of white men of repeatedly raping and sodomizing her. In 1991 and again in 1995, Sharpton was ranting at the center of racial protests -- filled with blacks shrieking anti-Semitic insults -- that wrapped up with funerals. But this didn't stop Sharpton from running for president in 2004, with placid calm in the liberal media seas.

Since Obama was elected, Sharpton lost a bunch of weight, then underwent a different sort of makeover -- a PR scrub by the national media, honored as "reinvented" in a fawning Newsweek cover story and boosted by Lesley Stahl on "60 Minutes" as "now, a trusted White House adviser who's become the president's go-to black leader." Does anyone believe the "trusted White House adviser" thing had nothing to do with these gooey stories or Sharpton's new job last summer at MSNBC?

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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