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MSNBC Set To Hire Sharpton; Black Journalists Slam Impending Hire

07/21/2011 1:47 pm 12 comments

Source: Richard Prince / Richard Prince’s Journal-isms™

“After giving a nearly six-month tryout for the Internet talk show host Cenk Uygur, the cable news channel MSNBC is preparing to instead hand its 6 p.m. time slot to the Rev. Al Sharpton,” Brian Stelter reported Thursday for the New York Times.

Such a move would respond to complaints from the NAACP that “Currently, there are no African American hosts or anchors on any national news show, cable or broadcast network, from the hours of 5PM-11PM.”

But it is less likely to satisfy black journalists, who have continually criticized the networks for their failure to place journalists of color in these key prime-time slots.

When rumors surfaced this week that Sharpton was under consideration for the MSNBC job, one NABJ member told colleagues without challenge, “This would still be just another non-journalist media ‘celebrity’ receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent.”

Another listed five African Americans who have had their own cable news shows, and noted that all but one have been nonjournalists: Alan Keyes, prime time, MSNBC; Carlos Watson, weekend, MSNBC; the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, weekend, CNN; Arthel Neville, Talkback Live/daytime, CNN; D.L. Hughley, weekend, CNN. Only Neville has a journalism background.

Moreover, as David Zurawik noted Thursday in the Baltimore Sun, “While the TV industry defines the hours of 8 to 11 p.m. weeknights as prime time, the NAACP appears to be expanding the definition. That matters, because Sharpton would be the first African-American prime-time cable host, according to the NAACP’s definition.”

MSNBC has not commented on the reports that Sharpton is under consideration, and that did not change on Thursday morning. “No comment from us on this,” spokesman Jeremy Gaines told Journal-isms.

But Stelter reported that “Mr. Sharpton’s imminent hiring . . . was acknowledged by three people at the channel on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been signed.”

Sharpton, a civil rights activist and radio host once viewed as outside the mainstream, has been guest hosting in the 6 p.m. time slot for the last three weeks.

His politics would fit with MSNBC’s “progressive” political posture. Sharpton says on the website of the National Action Network, which he leads, “Rev. Al Sharpton uses ‘Activism TV’ to confront the Tea Party. As daily guest host on MSNBC from 6-7p.m. EST, Rev. Sharpton has shed light on GOP hypocrisy.”

Stelter continued, “There had been uncertainty about the 6 p.m. slot ever since the channel’s marquee anchor, Keith Olbermann, departed in January, prompting Ed Schultz to be moved to 10 p.m. from 6,” Stelter wrote. “Suddenly Mr. Uygur, who had been made a paid contributor to MSNBC months earlier, was handed 6 p.m., a big coup given that he had earlier campaigned to have his progressive Web show ‘The Young Turks’ picked up by MSNBC.

“He earned solid but not stand-out ratings; in late June the channel’s president, Phil Griffin, decided to try out Mr. Sharpton, and offered Mr. Uygur a new contract that included a weekend show, but not a higher-profile weekday show.

“Mr. Uygur, who by most accounts was well liked within MSNBC, said in an interview that he turned down the new contract because he felt Mr. Griffin had been the recipient of political pressure.”

Source: Richard Prince’s Journal-isms™

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  • Anonymous

    Too many egos in the media these days. I think Cenk has a bit of an inflated ego.  I can’t wait for a reporter to ask @ a Presidential News conference about this and the Presdient saying “Cenk who”  
    All that aside. I did enjoy Sharpton last week.  People coming out of the woodwork to criticize him had better watch his show first.  Its good., well reserached, and lord knows, SOMEBODY needs to be asking this GOP teaparty congresmen some questions.   Nobody else is. And I believe they are a threat to this country.

  • Jrs

    Dang its some hating going on….  Sure they can hire any OLE black journalist…  But we need someone who isn’t going to be happy to have a job and just go along with the FORMAT  and someone who will stand up for something and ride that edge of getting fired just to maintain credibility with his People…  

  • Jrs

    Oh so that means I am more than in Favor of the Sharpton Hiring..   congrats Rev Al

  • Veronicalloyd

    I have been truly enjoying Rev Al!!! Congrats!

  • Anonymous

    I kind of enjoyed watching Rev. Al on at 5pm CST. I think that he is capable of holding his own with anyone. That said, I can see both sides of this argument. On one side, you have black journalists, who have the education and training to do political news show, and probably could do the job. On the other hand , let’s be honest, you have quite a few folks who host political shows, (yes, I am talking about CNN, MSNBC, and Fox) during the prime time hours are not real journalists. Most of them are mainly commentators, and do not have any training in journalism. 

  • Oscar from Houston, Tx

    I hope Al talks about real issue and not what the network wants to talk about. I would love to see Al and Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’reilly have a one on one debate. All of them to be on Al Sharpton show. I bet the network cant get Rush to do it.  You have three different people with three opinions. This is my must watch show and nothing else. Oscar from Houston, Tx

  • Oscar from Houston, Tx

    I hope Al talks about real issue and not what the network wants to talk about. I would love to see Al and Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’reilly have a one on one debate. All of them to be on Al Sharpton show. I bet the network cant get Rush to do it.  You have three different people with three opinions. This is my must watch show and nothing else. Oscar from Houston, Tx

  • Sterl1

    It’s time for the American people to rise up and demand action. Dems have compromised but the Repubs are clearing willing to sacrifice the US economy for to keep the support of the Tea Party “Tax Tyrants”.

  • Sterl1

    It’s time for the American people to rise up and demand action. Dems have compromised but the Repubs are clearing willing to sacrifice the US economy for to keep the support of the Tea Party “Tax Tyrants”.

  • Albakerd

    when will you have your own black networks so that you stop begging?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_D5IOGHXWFRAB3CV77RYIYFMGII Clinton_Hill_Cutie

    I’m not feeling this at all.  Cenk Uygur left MSNBC because he didn’t want the network basically telling him what to do and say. Sharpton will encounter the same pressure.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VTS5C6IL5X67JXQSB2FANTOEPM Ez Dd

    Roland Martin looks like a black Ed Shultz.

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