A Bump in the Al Sharpton Road to MSNBC?

The Daily has a story that MSNBC is hedging on giving Al Sharpton a contract because of all the blowback that has ensued…

Two weeks ago, Deadline.com reported the contract talks were “in the homestretch.” But sources tell Flash that no offer has been made to Sharpton, although he’s been filling in as an unpaid anchor at the channel for more than a month, and his ratings have been good.

On Monday, Sharpton actually hosted two time slots, 6-7 p.m. and 10-11 p.m. “Right now, he’s having a blast. He loves it,” said one insider.

MSNBC boss Phil Griffin, who was honored in April with a “Keepers of the Dream” award from Sharpton’s National Action Network, is stalling, sources say, hoping the public will get used to the idea of Sharpton as a cable news anchor, and the controversy will die down, before he is hired.

Well I hope the controversy won’t die down. All this public reaction and open skepticism is a red flag MSNBC should be taking very seriously. CNN had such a flag waved in its face last year when word leaked out that it was pursuing Eliot Spitzer and later when it was going to pair Spitzer and Parker. It ignored all the warnings to its detriment. MSNBC should be smart and learn from CNN’s mistake. Gracefully part company with Sharpton and pursue someone else. Griffin was talking at the TCA yesterday about how deep his pundit bench is. Finding someone else from that bench should not be too much of a problem.

22 Responses to “A Bump in the Al Sharpton Road to MSNBC?”

  1. This is ridiculous. Sharpton is unwatchable, and Thomas Roberts is excellent as an opinionator when he fills in for Ed. If MSNBC is stuck on “diversity” for this hour, dump the black guy for the g@y guy.

  2. Thomas Roberts needs to make up his mind and do it soon. Does he want to be a news anchor or an opinionator? He can’t be both and expect to be able to keep those two worlds separate as far as his brand is concerned.

  3. His brand? Pfft. Anyone who isn’t a raging conservative working for FNC is already considered a “biased liberal”, so who cares anymore?

  4. ^Thankfully you don’t whine like the conservatives here do.

    Could. Not. Resist.

  5. It’s not whing when it’s fact-based. How many times have I heard that EVEY SINGLE non-Fox outlet is liberal? There’s one guy here who lists them all the time: NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, on and on and on. So the conservative outlets are “fair and balanced”, and everyone else is liberal. All day. Every newscast. Amazing.

  6. I gotta agree with joeremi, the scandals are not Al’s problem, it’s the fact he’s a truly awful host. With Sharpton MSNBC is getting what it’s paying him; nothing..

  7. The public “outrage” is because of the scandals. MSNBC’s stalling is because he’s a mediocre host, a caricature of a raging liberal cable news host. MSNBC management could conveniently use the scandals and conflict of interest hoopla to avoid hiring him.

    But who goes in his place? Thomas Roberts? Really? I get that he’s a competent host, but does he really want to do an opinionated show? Or would be it be a bit more subtle (as opposed to a Sharpton, in your face kind of show)?

  8. Roberts definitely doesn’t do “in your face” opinion. He’s got that slightly sarcastic tone that Jon Scott and Gregg Jarrett use to get their opinion across without being blatant about it, just a little stronger because The Ed Show isn’t pretending to be straight news. I think he’s in for Ed all week, so take a look tonight.

  9. I’d give Ezra Klein a shot. He was really good, if a bit nerdy, while subbing for Bashir and he doesn’t rant like many of the MSNBC opinion anchors like Schultz, Matthews or Ratigan. He’s kind of a cross between Maddow’s polite style and Todd’s political knowledge. He’s the closest there is on cable news to Fareed Zakaria but with a focus on US politics and policy .

  10. Agreed, Ezra was pretty good. If they insist on keeping Roberts as a morning anchor, he would be good at 6. Sharpton has GOT TO GO, for EVERY reason listed here.

  11. Grandpa Dave Says:

    Is Mark Lamont Hill available?

  12. mlong5000 Says:

    Well MSNBC is putting Al on because they needed a Black face on TV after some of their hosts accused the Tea Party of being only made up of Whites someone pointed out the MSNBC was very pale in the color makeup of it’s on air host too so basically they just grabbed the first Black person they could find to give a show…..too bad they grabbed a racist sham artist like Al…..I mean it’s not like there aren’t plenty of talented real Black news Anchors they could of hired…but MSNBC was only interested in putting a Black host on for just the sake of having a Black host.

  13. bushleaguer Says:

    mlong – You forgot about Tamron Hall. And if you want to start a count, they had Melissa Perry filling in for Maddow last week.

    They should just go with the best person they can find, and they gotta be able to find better than Al Sharpton.

  14. icemannyr Says:

    Michael Eric Dyson was subbing for Ed Shultz tonight.
    Could this be a tryout for the 6pm time slot?

  15. I hope not. Dyson is a strong voice against racism, but that’s his main gig, and he has an esoteric, “spiritual” approach to most topics that wears thin quickly. As with Sharpton, he’s fine as a guest, but five days a week as the questioner is not a good plan.

  16. I find Dyson hard to take as well for the same reasons Joe points out. Harris-Perry has a much better on air persona and I Think she could do really well as a host once she got some on air anchoring experience under her belt.

  17. lonestar77 Says:

    “Dyson is a strong voice against racism, but that’s his main gig, and he has an esoteric, “spiritual” approach to most topics that wears thin quickly.”

    Haha. That’s one way to put it. Another is to say he’s a race baiting loon with an extensive history of his own bigotry that he needs to deal with before lecturing the rest of us. Sharpton is reasonable compared to that guy.

  18. Every time I or anyone else mentions a black person’s historyof fighting racism in America, you call them race-baiters. In fact, it’s almost impossible for you to not say something negative about race any time an African-American’s name comes up in relation to race issues. Why don’t you just admit you have a ‘problem’ with black people, or stfu.

  19. Maybe we have a ‘problem’ with being called ‘racist’ by people whose job it is to justify their existence by perpetuating a problem that barely exists.

  20. Look, I understand the conservative sensitivity to being called racist, but to call racism a problem that barely exists is delusional. My problem with LS is his insistence on bringing it up every damn time I mention the words “black” and “race issues”. LS can b/tch all day and night about how he unfairly lost a position to a minority, and it’s not going to change the fact that racism is a real thing in this country, and being white is a huge advantage most of the time. His Pavlovian negative response every time I mention race is getting a little ridiculous.

  21. …with an extensive history of his own bigotry that he needs to deal with…

    Examples, please. Just because he’s an African American who calls out against racial issues doesn’t make him a race baiter.

  22. I watched MSNBC Live with Al Sharpton earlier — Sharpton isn’t the problem, the format of the show is.

    MSNBC’s been branding itself towards social liberals with their focus on education and their focus on the African American community. They should use Sharpton in this capacity.

    Put Thomas Roberts on at 5pm, Sharpton at 6 and Matthews at 7. Also, an 11pm show would be nice… Veronica De La Cruz anyone?

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