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Sharpton On The Shoulders Of Giants

Today's Washington Post fronts a story about the continuing "relevance" of the Reverend Al Sharpton to the political scene. The decrease in influence implied via this public rebuttal is given little limelight. Rather, Sharpton, who continues to gleefully man the red phone connecting the MSM to American blacks at large, gets credit for involvement in a litany of ‘race cases' that have made headlines in 2007:

Even by his own frenetic standards, the Rev. Al Sharpton has had a busy 12 months.

Late last year was the police shooting in Queens of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man leaving a bachelor party, and Sharpton organized the protests. There was the spring controversy over racially insensitive remarks by shock jock Don Imus, with Sharpton leading the calls for Imus's firing. 

The piece remains mysteriously congratulatory, given the low batting average Sharpton boasts on peaceful, lasting resolution of such conflicts. Imus is back on the air, and the Sean Bell case can be judged a victory for NYPD bureaucracy (while black-on-black crime in New York continues unabated). In fact, Sharpton the hero comes off as a bit of a dilettante, moving to greener pastures as the sun sets on last month's racial unrest.

But WaPo writer Keith Richburg's journalistic hand-job is just another part of Sharpton's "strategic" self-promotion--which includes withholding his primary endorsement until just before the South Carolina vote, and is absolutely dependent upon the notion that he is the lone authority on black America. In shameful service of this narrative, Richburg incorrectly IDs Sharpton's role in the September Jena protests:

Sharpton put together a march in Jena, La., in support of six black teenagers jailed in the beating of a white student, and he held a protest rally outside the Justice Department in Washington to demand more prosecution of hate crimes.

Not true. As I wrote in October, Sharpton's heavy paw, it seems, is no longer on the pulse of black America. Credit for the organization of the September 20 protest must be given to internet-based groups, whose shoulders Sharpton now uses as a personal soapbox. Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune reported that Sharpton knew nothing of Jena until sites like the Color of Change, which brought thousands of potential marchers into the fray, made it impossible to miss.

So what the hell gives? I really hate to join Michelle Malkin in the blind and feckless politics of rage, but the continued willingness of the Post to print shoddily reported innuendo provokes it. WaPo ombudsman Deborah Howell has acknowledged the November front-page goof on Barack Obama; I eagerly await retraction of today's glaring error.


iswithAmerican problems

--Dayo Olopade