Earlier today, MSNBC’s Al Sharpton threatened the peace of a small Florida town if it doesn’t acquiesce to his demand for the arrest of George Zimmerman. According to the Orlando Sentinel:
If George Zimmerman is not arrested in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin soon, the Rev. Al Sharpton will call for an escalation in peaceful civil disobedience and economic sanctions. Sharpton would not say the efforts would be taken against the city of Sanford specifically, but he has been critical of the police department’s handling of the case.
If only someone had warned NBC News that they were giving a prime-time platform to a vitriolic, race-hustling charlatan. Oh wait–we did. Even some journalists on the left did. Recently uncovered video from over twenty years ago has Al Sharpton, in his own words, bragging about his ability to manipulate the media to draw attention to his race-hustling agenda. And he’s playing out his blueprint to a T in Florida today.
In the video seen below, Sharpton brags about his ability to manipulate the media through his grandstanding, demonstrations and marches. He pats himself on the back over being able to convert a “one day story” into an international sensation by giving the media what they want: drama, contention, provocative images and charges of racism.
In the Tawana Brawley case, it took months for Sharpton to bring New York to a race-induced frenzy. With his new platform at MSNBC, Sharpton was able to get the President of the United States to comment on the case within one week. And why did the President speak about Trayvon? Because he was asked a question by a reporter … from MSNBC.
Sharpton is now at the center of every public demonstration calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman. He has transformed his hourly show into a community organizing infomercial for the Martin case and has given a platform to the ongoing race-baiting that swirls around the case.
When you watch Sharpton from twenty years ago boast about his ability to manipulate the media and paint a race-hustling narrative that serves his political (and financial) purposes, and then watch an episode of his show on MSNBC, it is obvious that NBC News is being used in the most destructive and embarrassing way. The question is: does MSNBC care?
MSNBC President Phil Griffin called Al Sharpton an “elder statesman” upon hiring him. The comment suggested that Sharpton’s days of dangerous and volatile grandstanding and race-baiting on behalf of an easily-manipulated victim were behind him. Clearly that wasn’t true. But that isn’t stopping MSNBC from sticking with him. Here’s what an MSNBC spokesman had to say:
“We hired Al Sharpton to be Al Sharpton. When Rev. Sharpton joined MSNBC, it was with the understanding that he would continue to do his advocacy work. We’re fully aware of that work and we have an ongoing dialogue. His participation in these events is very public and our audience is completely aware of where he stands on the issues. It’s because of this work and his decades of activism that Rev. Sharpton brings such a unique perspective to our line up.”
MSNBC and Griffin should be ashamed of themselves. Sharpton being Sharpton deserves no airtime; he certainly doesn’t deserve a primetime news slot on a major cable news network. But he’s proving once again that he knows how to manipulate the media — only this time, he’s manipulating his own network into paying him to propagandize and race-bait.