In a segment on last night’s “O’Reilly Factor,” Fox News host Bill O’Reilly showed no appreciation for the triple duty that Al Sharpton has been pulling as MSNBC host, activist in the Ferguson crisis and informal liaison to the White House. “I believe that Sharpton almost single-handedly has corrupted NBC News,” O’Reilly said in a chat with Fox News media mavens Howard Kurtz and Lauren Ashburn.
Kurtz ripped away, too — citing Sharpton’s role in yesterday’s funeral for police-shooting victim Michael Brown Jr.: “Bill, this is a travesty. You have Sharpton delivering a pretty political speech at the funeral today. You have him meeting with Michael Brown’s family. You have him talking about it on MSNBC, interviewing the family on MSNBC. And now, you have the acknowledgment by Sharpton that he is a conduit, he is the go-to guy for the Obama White House on Ferguson. It is amazing to me … that MSNBC thinks this is acceptable.”
More than acceptable, actually: As this blog has reported before, MSNBC wants this sort of role-mixing. When Sharpton negotiated his MSNBC contract in 2011, he requested a carve-out for his activist work with the National Action Network. MSNBC President Phil Griffin supported the exemption from NBC policies, as Sharpton explained at a November 2013 D.C. stop for his book “The Rejected Stone“: “He said, ‘Put it in the contract. We’d never interfere with what you’re doing, your civil rights work,’ ” Sharpton recalled Griffin as saying.
The anti-Sharpton sentiment on “Factor” rounded out with a contribution from network star Megyn Kelly, who told O’Reilly: “What they don’t need in this case or in any case … is people like Al Sharpton going in there and declaring as a matter of fact that the — that Michael Brown didn’t use any deadly force or posed … no deadly threat to the officer,” said Kelly, who hosts her own primetime Fox News program. “If you have somebody come in and prejudge someone you trust and rely upon come and tell you the facts are one way, you believe him. That’s why he is abusing his power.”