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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Al Sharpton’

Al Sharpton and MSNBC – Perfect for Each Other

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

For years, Al Sharpton has been dishing out something – and it sure is not news. And that makes him perfect for MSNBC.

Stuart Stevens, prompted by a New York Times and Retropreport.org documentary, writes in the Daily Beast an expose of the sordid history of Al Sharpton:

[Tawana] Brawley was 15 years old in 1987, when she was found in her hometown of Wappingers Falls, New York, with “Bitch,” “KKK,” and “Nigger” written on her stomach, her jeans burnt in the crotch, feces in her hair, and her tennis shoes sliced open. She said that she had been abducted and raped by a group of white men.

A trio of increasingly prominent, and radical, New York City black activists represented her and her family: attorneys Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Brawley told them said that a cop had been one of her attackers, and Sharpton named that officer as Harry Crist Jr., a police officer from a nearby town who had committed suicide shortly after Brawley was found. Sharpton also named a local prosecutor, Steven Pagones, as one of the attackers. He offered no proof.

Sharpton and attorneys who “represented” Brawley sparked a lot of racial strife with their unsupported accusations, making life miserable not only for the innocent accused but for the rest of the city and country. Eventually, a jury found the obvious: the whole affair was a hoax perpetrated by Brawley, Sharpton and other race-mongerers. Pagones life became a living hell-because of Sharpton.

Sharpton has a long history of racism and anti-Semitism that trails him wherever he goes, though this has been neatly excised by MSNBC, Bill Clinton and others who have found it politically useful to rub elbows with Sharpton. This has been a shameful practice – the likes of Sharpton have done harm not only to fellow African-Americans but to the nation as a whole.

Stevens continues:

The Tawana Brawley case that captivated New York in the late eighties is a shocking reminder of the toxic mix racial exploitation and personal ambition can produce. The New York Times and Retroreport.org have just released a new 15-minute documentary on the despicable hoax, which should be required viewing for the NBC News executives who are heavily invested in rehabilitating a key culprit of this loathsome episode: the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Sharpton was a key player inflaming the 1991 Crown Heights riots following the death of a young African-American who was hit by an ambulance driven by a Hasidic driver. Sharpton called Jews “diamond merchants” with “the blood of innocent babies” on their hands. A mob subsequently attacked and murdered an innocent Hasidic Jewish student visiting from Australia. (Twenty-five years later, he wrote a mealy-mouthed not-quite apology for his rhetoric.)

A few years later, an African-American Pentecostal church asked a Jewish tenant of a church-owned property, Freddie Fashion’s Mart, to evict one of his subtenants, an African-American-run record store. Sharpton led protests crying, “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” One of the protesters attacked Freddie Fashion Mart, shot several customers, and started a fire that killed seven employees.

There are a lot of angry, twisted individuals in America and Sharpton is hardly alone in having spent decades vomiting hate, leaving innocent victims in his wake. What distinguishes Sharpton is the willingness of powerful people and organizations to look past the hate when they believe it may benefit them.

Stevens notes MSNBC has spent millions of dollars to “rehabilitate and promote” Sharpton as a “credible source of information” and has “made the ethical and news judgment that Sharpton” should be a key influence-maker in America.

Recent events bear out Steven’s criticism.

In the last two days, Sharpton has declared–despite all evidence to the contrary–that there is “no evidence at all” connecting Holder to scandals .

Clearly Sharpton has no problem lying to the American people.

But maybe Stevens should not be so outraged at MSNBC. He sees it as a news organization.

But how does MSNBC view itself?

In a rare moment of truth, the network has all but admitted it is not a news outlet. Bill Carter reports on MSNBC’s slumping ratings at the New York Times:

At a time of intensely high interest in news, MSNBC’s ratings declined from the same period a year ago by about 20 percent. The explanation, in the network’s own analysis, comes down to this: breaking news is not really what MSNBC does.

“We’re not the place for that,” said Phil Griffin, the channel’s president, in reference to covering breaking events as CNN does. “Our brand is not that.”

The brand, one MSNBC has cultivated with success, is defined by its tagline, “The Place for Politics,” and a skew toward left-wing, progressive political talk, the opposite of the conservative-based approach that has worked well for Fox News.

MSNBC began to commit itself to presenting a liberal spin on political coverage in the middle of the last decade, partly because it had not found success in previous models (like trying to be a news channel for younger viewers) and mostly because it had one host, Keith Olbermann, whose ratings were exploding based on his outspoken criticisms of the Bush administration and the conservative voices on Fox News.

Ever wonder why so much of what is news gets short shrift – if it is covered at all – at MSNBC? They are not in the business of gathering and broadcasting news. This network is the home of Obama-worshipers and GOP-bashers such as Chris Mathews and Rachel Maddow (whose show’s ratings are plummeting) and is merely a spin-machine. They are not a part of the mythical fourth branch of government but are merely a branch of the Democratic Party.

Originally published at The American Thinker.

Recalling Ed Koch’s Political Hypocrisy

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Now that the tributes to Ed Koch have abated, it behooves us to recall one of the less praiseworthy aspects of the former mayor’s character – his abject hypocrisy on race relations, particularly as they manifested themselves in his incessant criticism of Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani was elected in 1993 to restore order and sheer livability to a city left adrift by Koch and made all the worse by Koch’s hopelessly overmatched successor, David Dinkins. (It may be difficult to recall more than two decades later, but Koch’s stock had plummeted to such depths in1989 that he lost the Democratic primary that year to the ineffectual Dinkins by a solid margin.)

Like Koch before him, Giuliani faced fierce resistance to his policies from the city’s self-styled community activists and black leaders. Giuliani, however, was far more successful than Koch in turning back decades of liberal fiscal and welfare experimentation that nearly bankrupted the city, as well as liberal social and law enforcement policies that left citizens cowering in fear behind bolted doors.

Koch certainly was an improvement over his two immediate predecessors, the liberal Democrat Abe Beame and the even more liberal Republican John Lindsay, but when Koch assumed office in 1978 the city’s economic house was already on its way to being put in order thanks to the efforts of politicians like Governor Hugh Carey and bankers like Felix Rohatyn.

Koch’s outsize personality, and his very public repudiation of the liberal pieties he himself had so slavishly subscribed to for decades, made him a popular figure in the city for the first two of his three terms in office. But he never got a handle on a skyrocketing crime rate and the entrenched municipal corruption.

That Giuliani managed to tame a city long characterized by many as “ungovernable” had to have bothered a man with Koch’s healthy self-regard. In short order Giuliani was being hailed as the best mayor the city had seen since La Guardia – and Koch was aligning himself with some very strange political bedfellows, most notably the Rev. Al Sharpton. (The Village Voice trumpeted Koch as the man “who made Al Sharpton kosher.”)

Koch became a chronic – some would say compulsive – critic of Giuliani. His criticism grew so predictable and mindless that the very title of a collection of his newspaper columns on the mayor – “Giuliani, Nasty Man” – had about it the whiff of parody.

With his new pal Sharpton in tow, Koch took particular delight in skewering Giuliani over his handling of racial issues. Koch no doubt hoped New Yorkers would forget just what a racial tinderbox the city had been during his own mayoralty.

The Harlem pastor Calvin Butts, for example, had labeled Koch “an instigator of the climate of racial fear in this city,” while CUNY professor Marshall Berman charged that Koch “has been remarkably adept at polarizing blacks and Jews.”

Koch reached a nadir in his campaign against Giuliani in October 1995. The UN was marking its fiftieth anniversary and Yasir Arafat was being feted all around town as a man of peace. When Giuliani learned that Arafat had been invited to a Lincoln Center concert to be performed by the New York Philharmonic, he dispatched aides to tell Arafat and his entourage to make themselves disappear from the premises.

Koch wasted no time in holding a joint press conference with David Dinkins (of whom Koch had once written, “I thought the city would be destroyed if we had to live through a second Dinkins term”) to denounce Giuliani.

“Mayor Giuliani,” Koch told reporters, “has behavioral problems dealing with other people.”

Giuliani took the criticism in stride, telling a UJA-Federation fundraising breakfast shortly after the controversy that he was “proud of that decision. I’d make it again, and the day I’d stop making it is the day I’d resign as mayor…. When I write my memoirs, this is one of the things that I probably will be proudest of.”

On that day Giuliani showed himself to be the kind of fearless politician Ed Koch once took such pride in being.

‘Conscience’ – Or Boor?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

When the Monitor marked the recent anniversary of Peter Jennings’s passing with a column about an embarrassing incident in the ABC newsman’s career, a couple of readers chastised your gentle correspondent for speaking ill of the dead. So when Edward Kennedy died not long after, the Monitor decided to err on the side of decency and keep mum for an appropriate interval.

OK, interval’s up. The whitewashing and lionizing of Ted Kennedy was nauseating – though hardly unexpected from a media establishment that for decades has been in such embarrassing thrall to the Kennedys.

Back in 2003, Kennedy – whose behavior during most of his adult life was once described by Time magazine, in a rare moment of candor, as that of “a drunken, overage frat-house boor” – decided that the war in Iraq was nothing more than one giant scam.

Opposing a war on political or geostrategic grounds is one thing, but Kennedy told the Associated Press, “There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud.”

Kennedy also accused the administration of spreading money appropriated for the war effort “all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops.”

Naturally, Kennedy offered not a shred of evidence for his accusation, nor did he name any of those “political leaders in all parts of the world” who supposedly were on the receiving end of the alleged bribes.

What Kennedy also didn’t mention was that just the year before – a mere six months, in fact, before the U.S. invaded Iraq – he had gone on record stating that “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein’s regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed.”

So if the “whole thing was a fraud,” as he put it, he was very much one of the perpetrators. The fact is, Kennedy and just about every other Democratic elected official in Washington shared the Bush administration’s view of Saddam. Kennedy could shout all he wanted in 2003 about there having been “no imminent threat” from Iraq, but he certainly believed one existed in 2002 – before it became politically advantageous for him to impugn the motives and morals of George W. Bush.

Kennedy sank even lower in 2004 when, in response to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, he in one fell swoop made light of the Iraqi dictator’s mass atrocities and slandered the U.S. military with the observation that “Saddam’s torture chambers reopened under new management – U.S. management.”

We know Kennedy didn’t think much of George W. Bush. So whom did he admire?

“Al Sharpton,” Kennedy bellowed at a Congressional Black Caucus event, “has brought a new energy, a new insight in the issues that are facing this country…. [H]e is educating America about what this country is really about and what it needs to do and what its future should be…. We are a better country because Al Sharpton is in the mix … and trying to make an important difference in our nation.”

That would be the Al Sharpton of Tawana Brawley fame; the Al Sharpton who referred to a Jewish merchant being picketed by black protesters in Harlem as “some white interloper” not long before one of the protestors went into the store, shot three whites and a Pakistani and then set fire to the establishment (among the dead were five Hispanics and a black security guard).

The Al Sharpton who elevated the public discourse with the following historical tidbit that must be read slowly and savored for its profound insight and literary elegance, and that has been preserved for posterity by Bill Crawford in his book Democrats Do the Dumbest Things:

“White folks was in caves while we was building empires. We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”

Al Sharpton “educating America”? If Ted Kennedy was, as some chose to eulogize him, the “conscience of the Senate,” we are in a sorry, sorry state indeed. Just ask Robert Bork, the accomplished jurist mercilessly and unfairly savaged by Kennedy on the floor of that very Senate.

At least Bork can give you a response. If only the same could be said for poor Mary Jo Kopechne.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

History Lessons

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Several readers, at least one or two of them presumably not in the employ of the Democratic National Committee, took the Monitor to task for suggesting that Sen. Hillary Clinton was a pioneer in the art of elevating a scamp like Al Sharpton to the status of esteemed statesman.

The common plaint was that Hillary wasn’t even a senator yet when local pols like Chuck Schumer, Eliot Engel and Mark Green were hoofing it uptown to be seen and photographed in Sharpton’s ample shade, so it was simply wrong – and terribly mean-spirited – for the Monitor to have used her as an example of political expediency at its most shameful.

Mean-spirited? That’s a subjective call. But wrong? Let’s look at the Monitor of Jan. 28, 2000, for a contemporaneous account of Senate candidate Hillary Clinton in action:

Not only did Mrs. Clinton become the latest Democrat to hop a limo up to Harlem to bend the knee to Rev. Al Sharpton, her pander routine backfired terribly when one of Sharpton’s brethren in Christ, the Rev. Charles Norris, bestowed his own special blessing on the Martin Luther King Day convocation by referring to a couple of former employers, one of whom had fired him, as “those two Jews.”

The first lady, who was not in the room at the time of Norris’s remarks but was informed of them before she got up to speak, merely added a tepid throw-away line on anti-Semitism – which made no specific reference to Rev. Norris or his remarks – to her prepared speech.

The New York Observer, in an editorial titled “Is Hillary Supporting Jew Haters?” opined that “New Yorkers should count themselves fortunate that for every one of Hillary Clinton’s carefully choreographed appearances, such as her recent turn on David Letterman’s show, there are also unscripted moments that allow voters to take the true measure of the candidate.”

The Observer suggested that rather than react in her proper and mealy-mouthed fashion to Norris’s anti-Semitic rhetoric, Mrs. Clinton should have found it in herself to “do what any decent person would have done, namely, politely tell the audience that she would not dignify such statements by her presence and walk off the stage.”

In another stinging editorial, the Washington Post recalled that the first lady had excused her mute reaction to Suha Arafat’s anti-Israel invective by claiming she didn’t want to jeopardize prospects for peace or create an “international incident when I was abroad.”

But this time, the Post archly noted, “Hillary Clinton was home in America, where she is free to denounce bigotry without upsetting any peace talks or negotiations…. If candidate Clinton cares what anti-Semites think, what should the rest of New York think of her?”

The Monitor stands vindicated.

Let’s change the subject with a pop quiz. Name the New York mayor of whom the following was said during his terms in office:

● “[The mayor] is a man who cherishes vindictiveness – getting even – as his chief political currency; who verbally brutalizes friends and enemies alike; who boasts that he has made people cry, sweat, twitch, and turn gray; who demands absolute loyalty from those around him, but thinks nothing of publicly humiliating the few dedicated souls who have supported him longest and most unwaveringly; who believes it is more blessed to give ulcers than to get them.”

● “I see [the mayor] as an instigator of the climate of racial fear in this city.”

● “He has been remarkably adept at polarizing blacks and Jews, exploiting their pain and vulnerability, opening and deepening their inner wounds, nourishing their resentments and dreams of revenge…”

With Rudy Giuliani all but an officially declared presidential candidate, expect to hear this kind of pretentious and fairly nonsensical stuff on a regular basis from the leftists and race hucksters and civil liberties zealots who detested and opposed Giuliani throughout his mayoralty.

Back to our little quiz. The subject of the above-quoted comments (from, respectively, authors Arthur Browne, Dan Collins and Michael Goodwin; the Rev. Calvin Butts; and CUNY professor Marshall Berman) was not, as most readers doubtlessly assumed, Rudy Giuliani. The correct answer: Edward Irving Koch.

Some food for thought as the presidential campaign shifts into high gear and the season of the demagogues is almost upon us.

Democrats On Bended Knee

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Funny thing about Joe Biden, Democrat of Delaware and newly minted presidential hopeful: The media herd has this habit of portraying him as sharp, cerebral, one of the U.S. Senate’s Deep Thinkers – and yet every time he opens his mouth you hold your breath, wondering whether he’ll say something he’ll instantly regret.

Biden’s latest gaffe concerned fellow senator and presidential wannabe Barack Obama, who, Biden opined, is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and is a nice-looking guy.”

Even more instructive than Biden’s putting his foot in his mouth was the firestorm that followed – particularly the insistence by both Obama and Biden that the Rev. Al Sharpton somehow plays a commendable role in American politics. The fact that serious politicians can continually prostrate themselves before a figure like Sharpton and not pay a political price perhaps tells you everything about the present-day Democratic party that you need to know.

“I didn’t take Senator Biden’s comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate,” said Obama in a statement released to the media. “African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate.”

(Sharpton may or may not have given “voice to many important issues” in his 2004 run for president, but voters – including black voters – were clearly underwhelmed. In South Carolina, for example, where nearly half the voters are African- American, Sharpton pulled in just 10 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, finishing well behind John Edwards and John Kerry.)

Appearing on Sharpton’s radio program at the height of the controversy over his Obama remarks, Biden went into full bended-knee mode – as the Associated Press put it, “lavishing praise on Sharpton, saying he and Jackson were the most articulate people in the country.”

Biden also assured Sharpton of his “overwhelming respect” for the reverend’s accomplishments.

Biden and Obama are hardly the first mainstream Democrats to elevate Sharpton from race-baiting rabble-rouser to esteemed statesman. Seven, eight years ago, New York pols like Charles Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Eliot Engel and the truly insufferable Mark Green already were making pilgrimages to Harlem to kiss Sharpton’s ring.

None of them, however, has ever quite equaled Edward Kennedy’s tribute to Sharpton a few years back. “Al Sharpton,” the Massachusetts senator bellowed at a Congressional Black Caucus event, “has brought a new energy, a new insight in the issues that are facing this country…. [H]e is educating America about what this country is really about and what it needs to do and what its future should be….We are a better country because Al Sharpton is in the mix and on the list and trying to make an important difference in our nation.”

The Al Sharpton to whom Democrats spend an inordinate time paying obeisance is, of course, the same Al Sharpton who in the late 1980’s, along with his cohorts Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason, orchestrated the drawn-out, painful and racially charged Tawana Brawley circus.

The same Al Sharpton who at the time of the 1991 Crown Heights riots called the Jews of that neighborhood “diamond merchants” and ranted, “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”

He’s the very same Al Sharpton who referred to a Jewish merchant being picketed by black protesters in Harlem as “some white interloper” not long before one of the protestors went into the store, shot three whites and a Pakistani and then set fire to the establishment; among the dead were five Hispanics and a black security guard the protestors had taunted as a “cracker lover.”

And he’s the same Al Sharpton who, as Bill Crawford reminds us in his book Democrats Do the Dumbest Things, raised the level of public discourse in 1994 with the following tidbit (read it slowly and savor its penetrating insight, literary elegance and historical profundity):

“White folks was in caves while we was building empires. We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”

But the blowhard Ted Kennedy talks about Sharpton “educating America,” and a cartoon figure like Joe Biden assures Sharpton of his “overwhelming respect.” And they question George Bush’s intellect?

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