The Al Sharpton Complication…

The New York Times’ Brian Stelter writes about issues surrounding the potential hiring of Al Sharpton by MSNBC…

Rarely, if ever, has a cable news channel employed a host who has previously campaigned for the business goals of the channel’s parent company. But as channels like MSNBC have moved to more opinionated formats, they have exposed themselves to potential conflicts. (The hosts Keith Olbermann, before he left MSNBC, and Joe Scarborough were briefly suspended in 2010 when it was reported that they had made political donations.)

MSNBC said in a statement this week, “There is no agreement with Mr. Sharpton to host a program; however, it is important to note that Comcast plays no role in either the independent editorial decision-making of MSNBC or the selection of its hosts.”

Separately, Comcast said in a statement, “Comcast pledged from the day we announced the transaction that we would not interfere with NBCUniversal’s news operations, including at MSNBC. We have not and we will not.”

18 Responses to “The Al Sharpton Complication…”

  1. lonestar77 Says:

    This story regarding Sharpton is overblown. He’s not your average guy, he’s Al freaking Sharpton. I’d be surprised and probably somewhat disappointed if he didn’t secure his new job with MSNBC through some sort of shakedown or back room deal.

    I just don’t think anyone really cares about the issues surrounding the hire because, like I said, it’s Al Sharpton.

  2. I think they need to get rid of this Sharpton angle, put Matthews on at 6pm, build Melissa Harris Perry as a host (which she’s doing a pretty good job with so far guest hosting for Maddow), and put her on at 7pm. Then, with that 5pm spot left, put in Chris Hayes (who’s supposed to get his new show soon), and that sets up a good lineup for them heading into their main prime time shows.

  3. joeremi Says:

    I don’t agree that Melissa is doing so hot. I don’t know if she’s adopted her “professor style”, or is trapped by reading Rachel’s words, or simply nervous, but the vivacious and intelligent woman we get as a guest is missing from this hosting gig.

  4. I agree she’s not doing great as host, as far as her ability in an anchor chair, but it’s still too early to judge, IMO. She needs a little time to form into that environment, especially with using the teleprompter. When your a journalist, though, stuff like this comes to you much more naturally and smooth. I’d give her about 5-10 times of guest hosting chances to really start saying if she’s good at it or not.

  5. lonestar77 Says:

    Remind me again why they are forced to give a show to a black person.

  6. Remind me again why they are forced to give a show to a black person.

    Because there aren’t enough black journalists being promoted for their intellectual capacity. Do you have an issue with some diversity?

  7. I’m sorry, “black person” is not a fair pigeonhole for Melissa. She qualifies by being an excellent guest. If you want to get shallow about it, she gets “pretty damn cute” long before she gets the race card.

  8. lonestar77 Says:

    I was speaking about the Sharpton hire. It screams “hey, we have to hire a black person. Look, there’s one over there. Lets hire him”.

    I don’t really care about diversity. If Sharpton is the most qualified candidate, he deserves the job. If he isn’t, he doesn’t. Same with the woman, you’re talking about Joe. I’m not too familiar with her. But, if she’s as inexperienced as you’ve made it sound, then it doesn’t sound like she’s the most qualified person to potentially build a new show around. What if there are people out there who are considerably more qualified, whether they be white, black, hispanic, asian, or cablinasian?

  9. Harris Perry just accepted a very prestigious professorship at Tulane University (my school!) beginning this fall. She won’t be a permanent host.

  10. lonestar77 Says:

    Green Wave!

  11. But, if she’s as inexperienced as you’ve made it sound

    Anyone with two attempts at hosting a show is by definition “inexperienced”, so I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Melissa is a professor, an author, and has been an eloquent guest on cable news many many times.

  12. Here’s an idea: put an actual journalist on.

  13. joeremi Says:

    Why would you need a journalist to express opinions about politics? Seems to me journalists should be reporting the news.

  14. mlong5000 Says:

    “Seems to me journalists should be reporting the news”

    That would be great if we could actually have a news network that just reports the news of the day instead of trying to spin it Right(FOX) or Left(CNN,MSNBC,CBS,NBC,ABC,PBS) but we don’t.

    AS for Sharpton I wonder how much MSNBC will let him get away with?,,,,They know the first time they have to take him to task for something he says he’ll slap down that Race card so they’ll have to tread carefully.

  15. joeremi Says:

    Rev. Al Sharpton is a fine man; constantly being unfairly attacked for alleged “past sins”; and will make an excellent show host for MSNBC. He stands beside all the other hosts, anchors, and contributors who contribute greatly to MSNBC’s always excellent programming of which I never find any fault because there’s none to be found how dare you.

    See how that works? Idiots.

  16. I fully and completely expect Rev. Al to be the first black face on Mount Rushmore, well before that of our current President. Too much?

  17. joeremi Says:


  18. danoregon Says:

    Should make for an interesting storyline in the Sorkin HBO show.

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