It may be a great disservice to mention the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rudy Giuliani in the same article, but they are two public figures with a long affair with the media—one longing for it to go away and the other courting it for coverage.
This week they are both back in the news—again. Rumors are afloat that Sharpton’s “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC may be put on a weekend schedule. Other hosts on the network are also, as they say in the business world, scheduled for reassignment, including Joy Reid, Ronan Farrow, Ed Schultz, Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell. It sounds as if MSNBC is cleaning house and dissatisfied with its leftist orientation.
And if we can believe Erica Snipes, Eric Garner’s daughter, Sharpton “is only in it for the money,” as she said to a right-wing mischief maker recording her comments on a concealed camera. She later recanted, indicating that Sharpton and the National Action Network had paid for her father’s funeral.
Later, in a statement to NAN, she clarified her position on the matter. “It is unfortunate that the New York Post and James O’Keefe have taken a moment of reflection and mourning as an opportunity to sow discord and confusion among a peaceful and unified movement,” she began. “The comments were taken out of context, edited and released to partisan outlets for nefarious reasons. Reverend Sharpton, Cynthia Davis and NAN are greatly appreciated in their assistance in helping me to fight for justice in my father’s murder. O’Keefe and the Post do not represent the kind type of dialogue that I am trying to engage in, nor does that article reflect my feelings towards the reverend and National Action Network.”
Giuliani’s loose lips have also placed him at the center of controversy. During a fundraiser for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, he asserted that President Barack Obama did not love America, but later, in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, he tried to backtrack, saying “he didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart.”
The first impulse of many pundits was not to dignify his remarks, deeming it an obvious ploy by Giuliani to get back into the news, by whatever means. “This was more about Rudy Giuliani, a fading politician, a kind of lighting himself on fire and trying to get some attention, and he was successful at doing that,” said former Obama Chief of Staff and political adviser David Axelrod.
Far more important than the spotlight on Sharpton or Giuliani is the news that the Justice Department is closing its investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. After meeting with the Martin family, the DOJ said no charges will be brought against George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Martin, 17, three years ago after an altercation near the home of the girlfriend of Martin’s father, where Martin was a visitor.
According to a press statement, the DOJ said there was not enough evidence to prove Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman, violated Martin’s civil rights.
“Although the department has determined that this matter cannot be prosecuted federally, it is important to remember that this incident resulted in the tragic loss of a teenager’s life,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division said. “Our decision not to pursue federal charges does not condone the shooting that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and is based solely on the high legal standard applicable to these cases.”
This decision is an ominous sign for the other cases on the DOJ’s docket, including the Eric Garner and Michael Brown incidents.