Earlier this week I criticized MSNBC for hiring “Reverend” Al Sharpton to host the 6pm slot
Even their usual biased version of the news would be preferable to a supposed “Reverend” who bears false witness and who was complacent in the deaths of eight innocent people. This is a new low in cable news, while CNN hired a lying misogynist, MSNBC has gone even further a lying murderer. It was not Sharpton’s hand that beat Jews in Crown Heights or started the fire at Freddy’s but it was his words that incited the murderers into action.
Today we may finally have an explanation of what really was behind the hiring of the professional bigot/ racial arsonist, according to the Daily Beast it may have been a quid pro quo for helping to gain approval for the Comcast/NBC merger.
It’s gone remarkably unnoticed that Sharpton was the first major black leader to endorse the Comcast merger, which met fierce resistance. Michael Copps, a Democrat who’d served on the FCC since 2001, declared, when he ultimately voted against it, that the merger “erodes diversity, localism and competition” and was “a huge boost for media industry (and digital industry) consolidation” as well as “a stake in the heart of independent content production,” charges that were echoed in a New York Times editorial. But Mignon Clyburn, the daughter of South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn and the only minority member on the FCC, threw her decisive support behind the deal, citing a comprehensive diversity memorandum of agreement (MOU) signed by Sharpton as a mechanism that “will serve to keep the new entity honest in promoting diversity.”
Without Clyburn, FCC chair Julius Genachowski, the third Democrat on the commission, seems unlikely to have backed the deal, which he did a week after the MOU was sent to the FCC. The MOU was significant because it countered opposition from Jesse Jackson, a variety of black organizations, and some black House Democrats.
So Al Sharpton, who in his four days in the host chair has shown little or no talent for his new position got the seat to satisfy a diversity initiative set up and blessed by…hey whattayaknow, Al Sharpton. But there’s more. You see, Mignon Clyburn’s dad Rep James, owed Rev. Al some “chits” also.
(Just a couple of weeks before the MOU was sent to the FCC, Sharpton aggressively championed James Clyburn in his post-election fight to retain his leadership position in the House, while Comcast contributed $10,500 to Clyburn’s political committees. Mignon Clyburn, who is reported to have met with Sharpton, declined to respond to Beast questions.)
A Comcast spokesperson told The Daily Beast that Comcast has given $140,000 to Sharpton’s National Action Network since 2009—the same year the merger was first proposed. Though MSNBC president Phil Griffin was honored with a top prize at the April 2011 annual conference of NAN—and he, Chris Mathews, and other NBC notables had a table at NAN’s dinner—NBC would not answer questions about how much it’s given Sharpton. Comcast also insisted in an email to The Daily Beast that the company “pledged we would not interfere” with NBC news operations, and “we have not and we will not,” a response similar to the only answer we got from NBC. Neither, however, directly answered the question of whether there was any connection between Sharpton’s merger role and his anticipated selection for the show.
So Al helps the dad of the key FCC vote, who gives the merger support, and then there’s the Cenk Uygur angle. We all laughed at him when he said last week the reason he lost his show was that he was too hard on the Obama administration. As Glenn Greenwald of Salon reported:
When I first heard Ugyur make this claim, I assumed it was hyperbole — until I watched the video and read the transcript of the Sharpton interview. The 60 Minutes segment was aired on May 19, 2011, and chronicles what it calls Sharpton’s “metamorphosis: today he’s down right tame. So much so, that he has made his way into the establishment.” I includes this:
Sharpton told us that having a black president is a challenge: if he finds fault with Mr. Obama, he’d be aiding those who want to destroy him. So he has decided not to criticize the president about anything — even about black unemployment, which is twice the national rate.
So lets summarize the NBC/Comcast merger is in trouble because people think the new company will not be racially diverse enough. Al Sharpton, who gets almost $200,000 from Comcast gets involved and gives the merger his racial blessing. Al also helps the father of the one African-American member of the FCC retain his Congressional leadership position, and that one African-American member of the FCC comes out in favor of the merger guaranteeing its passage.
A few months later, the one person at MSNBC who has been told he is too critical of the administration (in their opinion only) gets replaced by Al Sharpton who has publicly said he will not ever criticize the president.
Incredible coincidence right? That of course is if you believe in coincidences, I don’t.