Thursday, August 11, 2011
I'm not even going to bother saying, "I told you so," because I shouldn't have to; it's perfectly clear to anyone not currently Phil Griffin that allowing Al Sharpton to be the on-air host of a cable news show is a galactically freaking stupid idea. Putting aside Sharpton's considerable credibility problem as well as his lengthy history of playing the very press he's now ostensibly a part of -- always in the name of feeding his insatiable narcissism -- one fact just can't be overlooked: his broadcasting skills don't even rise to the level of rank amateur.
Case in point, this cringe-inducing, entirely predictable on-cam gaffe, which was apparently the result of the most basic of live TV hazards: a prompter drop-out.
Look, here's what it comes down to: If MSNBC is really looking to do something about the dearth of black or brown faces in prime on-air positions, it should considering going with one of the 83,000 or so black journalists currently working in America (at least a few of whom can found in the newsroom up the hall from Griffin's office). Putting Sharpton on the air looks like exactly what it is: a cheap gimmick, and nothing more. It's an insult to anyone who actually worked to get a shot at his or her own hour in the spotlight. Sharpton's a joke -- and one guaranteed to embarrass himself and the network over and over again should he be given the chance to.
Somebody in the comment section of the previous post on Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that she be a candidate for her own show on MS; that's a damn fine choice, actually. It seems ridiculous to make the conscious decision that whoever gets the six o'clock show, that person will have to be black -- and I can't say with certainty that that's what MSNBC has done -- but it's even more ridiculous to assume that any high-profile black guy will do.
For God's sake, get Sharpton out of there and give the show to somebody with actual talent.