Carl Horowitz


Would you believe it?  Al Sharpton’s newest role – full-time anchorman – is now a reality.  The New York City-based black activist, minister and former presidential candidate launched his MSNBC-TV news talk show, “PoliticsNation,” on Monday, August 29, six days after he was tapped for the 6-7 P.M. (EST) weeknight slot vacated in late July by Cenk Uygur. 

The announcement wasn’t unexpected.  Sharpton frequently had substituted for Uygur.  And MSNBC’s parent company, Comcast Corp., for years has been a generous donor to Sharpton’s nonprofit group, National Action Network (NAN).  More than a few observers, like Wayne Barrett (and myself), see a connection, and with good reason.  It strains the imagination that a major affiliate of the NBC family would elevate Sharpton, with a palpable history of demagoguery and financial chicanery, to top-tier media host in absence of some quid pro quo arrangement. 

Yes, I know.  Reverend Sharpton was a presidential candidate in 2004.  And for years he’s hosted his own syndicated radio show, “Keeping It Real.”  But nightly news anchorman – that’s a career move that would have surprised even diehard cynics only a few years ago.  The issue now is whether his nightly presence on the screen has staying power and whether his hiring represents another case of corporate surrender in the name of “civil rights.”  About the latter issue, much needs to be said.          

Carl Horowitz

Carl F. Horowitz is director of the Organized Labor Accountability Project of the National Legal and Policy Center, a Gold Partner organization dedicated to promoting ethics in American public life.
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