Pointing out that he and MSNBC have not yet consummated a deal, the Rev. Al Sharpton responded to black journalists questioning his credentials for an MSNBC hosting gig in an exclusive interview with The Root.
Sharpton emphatically stated that he is an advocate, not a journalist. If he accepts the offer, he said, it would be in that role. The format under consideration at MSNBC is not for news but for opinions and advocacy, he said.
"We can't get into a crabs-in-the-barrel mentality," Sharpton told The Root. "We cannot let them play us off one another. There is a history here. Kweisi Mfume had a talk show. Jesse Jackson Jr. had a talk show. If someone can advocate nationwide, we need to do that given the pain of our people. We need to do that on television, in newspapers and magazines. And all of us need to be united."
He was responding to a post in Richard Prince's Journal-isms and a news release yesterday from the National Association of Black Journalists that announced a continuation of discussions with several civil rights organizations to address what it calls a trend in cable news to pass over African-American journalists for prime-time programming positions.
"Currently, there are no African-American anchors hosting prime-time news hours for any major cable network,'' the release states. "While MSNBC is reportedly on the verge of offering civil rights activist Al Sharpton his own prime time slot, there are no black journalists who can tout a similar promotion.''
Sharpton reportedly was made the offer after a couple of weeks of filling in during MSNBC's 6:00 p.m. time slot.
In other news: New Questions in UConn Prodigy Flap.