*As we reported earlier, Rev. Al Sharpton has been named the permanent host of MSNBC’s 6pm (Eastern) newscast.
However, as the Daily Beast points out, his new job hosting “PoliticsNation” has been called affirmative action and a slap against black journalists.
And on top of all that, there’s the Rev’s obvious uncomfortable-ness with the Teleprompter. (Scroll down to watch.)
He’s gone from rabble-rousing street preacher and civil rights impresario-ringmaster of the racially divisive Tawana Brawley and Crown Heights circuses of two decades ago-to respected politico, friend of the president, occasional collaborator with Newt Gingrich, and now host of his own weeknight cable television show PoliticsNation, with Sharpton in the anchor chair, formally debuts Aug. 29 on MSNBC, filling the 6 p.m. time slot that most recently was occupied by “Young Turk” Cenk Uygar, who resisted management’s edicts and left last month in a huff. In the past several weeks, Sharpton has been the interim host, apparently proving to MSNBC President Phil Griffin that he’s a risk worth taking.
“I don’t come to this totally without some background,” says Sharpton, until now a frequent in-studio guest whose previous attempts at television hosting were forcibly brief. “I’ve been doing a radio show [Radio One’s syndicated Keeping It Real] for five and a half years and I did do a TV One show for a while. I think the difference is that you are able to engage and dialogue where you guide the dialogue … I do that on radio, and it’s no different on television, and on radio I have to go to callers, and all that doesn’t bother me at all.”
Maybe not, but Sharpton as anchorman is hardly polished. A skillful debater, entertaining conversationalist and, needless to say, impassioned sermonizer (in private, he’s mordantly funny), he also possesses an up-close-and-personal knowledge of ground-level politics, having run for this and that over the years and figured out how to leverage his influence. But the good reverend has yet to achieve a comfortable relationship with the camera.
Occasionally stiff and muted, as though his ebullient personality were clapped in irons, he looks distracted by the voices in his head (or, more likely, in his earpiece). He also seems to enjoy a spotty acquaintance with mainstream (or at least white) pop-culture icons; or maybe he’s simply not a Matthew Broderick fan. During a recent show, he referred to someone in his script named “Ferris Boo-ler.” And unlike the smoothly cool Barack Obama, Sharpton has been frequently pinned down in a wrestling match with the Teleprompter:
Read/learn more at The Daily Beast.