After several tryout weeks, MSNBC has officially named Rev. Al Sharpton the host of his own news and interview hour to be called Political Nation. The program will air weekday evenings at 6 P.M. Eastern Standard Time. According to AP:
The 6 p.m. hour serves as an important lead-in to MSNBC's weeknight slate that includes Chris Matthews, Laurence O'Donnell, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz. The network has done a swift reconfiguration in prime time since the abrupt departure of its marquee host, Keith Olbermann, in January.
Sharpton, a community organizer and a candidate for the Presidency in 2004, brings enviable gravitas as a solid political activist, with years of defending the rights of minorities, women, gays, immigrants, working people, and unions. As a lifelong liberal (progressive) he has waged important battles in the proverbial political trenches for decades. MSNBC’s president, Phil Griffin, offered this:
I've known Rev. Sharpton for over a decade and have tremendous respect for him. I'm thrilled that he's now reached a point in his career where he's able to devote himself to hosting a nightly show.
By affording Mr. Sharpton his own program, MSNBC offers viewers a host with an activist perspective, a decision that could be extremely important for Democrats as the battle to sway minds and influence the opinions of the public heats up in preparation for the critical 2012 elections.
Although some might be critical of the fact that he did not begin his career as a journalist or broadcaster, he possesses an unpretentious straight forward wit and is skilled in the art of destroying Right Wing talking points. This was demonstrated in a recent broadcast on the debt ceiling with guest Ron Christie, Republican strategist and former special assistant to George W. Bush. Christie responded to a comment by Sharpton regarding the Republicans behaving as hostage takers.
Christie: We’re responsible for recognizing that this President when he came into office the deficit was at $10 trillion; now it’s at 14 trillion. The American people in the last election put 78 members of Congress in, they’ve put over 600 people in the state legislatures, and they kicked out a number of governors (due to the fact that) the size and the scope of government is too much, we need to reduce the size and scope of government, and we need to live within our means. So, hostage takers? The hostage takers are the people in Washington DC, who unfairly spend the people’s money.
Sharpton: Sounds logical ‘till you go into the facts…. $10 trillion in the hole when he came in…you had to dig deeper in the hole to come back out—if you throw me in the hole and I dig in to get out, you blame me for digging in rather than you throwing me in the hole—IT WAS GEORGE W. BUSH THAT PUT US INTO THE HOLE.
Christie: (thrown a bit off balance) Sure—
Sharpton: You sitting here BRAGGING about the $10 trillion (hole) you threw us in AND NOW YOU’RE GOING TO ANALYZE HOW WE DUG OUT OF A HOLE YOU PUT US IN….
Exactly… simple and to the point… This is going to be fun…. Congratulations, Rev.!