Shut up, Sharpton

by Beacon Staff • April 18, 2007

He also cost millions of CNN-watching Americans a solid week of legitimate news, but it wasn't without pressure from perennial media hog Al Sharpton.,Shock jock Don Imus didn't just lose his job for calling Rutgers University women basketball players "nappy headed hos."

He also cost millions of CNN-watching Americans a solid week of legitimate news, but it wasn't without pressure from perennial media hog Al Sharpton.

Imus' comments attracted a frenzy of criticism from genuinely offended listeners, black community leaders and from the players themselves. When the buzz around the comments came to a boil, publicity fiend Sharpton made sure to throw in his two cents.

Right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan spoke out on Imus's behalf and said he shouldn't lose his show. On the opposite end of the political spectrum, left-wing airbag Bill Maher also came out in the fallen radio personality's defense, saying if a comedian apologizes, that should be enough.

The Rutgers basketball team made a point to publicly accept Imus's mea culpa. But clearly this wasn't enough for Sharpton.

Even after Imus apologized on Sharpton's radio show, the reverend refused to let the story die and continued to vie for Imus's termination.

As more and more sponsors pulled their financial nets out from under Imus's feet, CBS and MSBCN caved and cancelled the shock jock's broadcast.

Imus' comments were far from acceptable and the condemnation that rained down on him is more than justified.

However, the significant degree of coverage this story continued to attract long after it was settled speaks to the degenerative degree of outside interference that Sharpton has extensively shown throughout his career.

One of Sharpton's most shameful displays of media-hungry hypocrisy was his involvement in the Tawana Brawley incident.

In 1987, Sharpton championed a case in which the young black woman claimed to have been kidnapped, raped and smeared with feces by a group of several white men whose ranks, she clamed, included New York City police officers.

After an extensive investigation, it was revealed the girl made the whole thing up and was at a party during the time of her supposed captivity. Unfortunately, prior to Brawley's lying tendencies coming out, Sharpton made a point to publicity accuse Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones of being one of the perpetrators.

The reverend made several more baseless allegations against the ADA, which eventually brought a defamation of character charge against Sharpton.

In the end, Sharpton was found guilty of defaming Pagones, but to this day, he has refused to apologize.

It's no wonder Sharpton refused to accept Imus' apology, since he clearly has no value or understanding of the act himself.

Given Sharpton's history of incitement, media-manipulation and the defaming of public officials, his credibility as a man on the moral high ground is weaker than the threat of U.N. intervention.

Al Sharpton's inappropriate attempt to attach himself to a story in which he was not involved should have been detected early on as the attempt of a politically irrelevant has-been to get one last chance in the spotlight. Rather than ignore Sharpton's chest beating, our nation's media outlets bought it hook, line, and sinker.

As a result, more airtime went to covering the downfall of Don Imus than was given to a suicide bombing in the Iraqi Parliament.

Events like this demonstrate our society's lack of priority about what we deem newsworthy. Al Sharpton's role in this fiasco is yet another example of how his narcissistic delusion of universal relevance hurts America.

Sharpton loves to be seen marching in the streets with the common man on behalf of the common man's cause. But when push comes to shove, Sharpton has proven time and time again to do more harm than good.

It's about time we start to see Sharpton's demagogy for what it is, because the more attention he gets, the more disruptive of a force he's proven to be.