Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 418, May 20, 2007

" least something useful is getting done around here"


Al Sharpton: The Worst Kind of Hypocrite
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

So let me get this straight. A couple of weeks ago, Don Imus gets fired for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed ho's." A few weeks later, the same guy who led the anti-Imus charge, Rev. Al Sharpton, refers to Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney by saying "those that really believe in God will defeat him." And the media say next to nothing?

I don't get it. When Imus was a hot topic, he was all you heard the news talk about. Day after day, hour after hour, we were treated to special segments on "race in America" and panels comprised of real black and white people giving their opinions on whether Imus's comments hurt. How come the news isn't doing any special segments or panels on Sharpton's comments? Nappy-headed basketball players have feelings. I guess Mormons don't?

It seems to me that conservative bloggers, who don't like Sharpton anyway, are the only ones pointing out this obvious hypocrisy. The media were eager to devote coverage to Sharpton's thoughts on the Imus issue, but they're spending precious little time recusing themselves for having taken this double-standard bearer seriously.

I'm a firm believer in the freedom of speech. I don't care what Sharpton says about Mormons. And I don't care what Imus says about black girls. What I care about is when someone like Sharpton infers Mormons don't believe in God only a few short weeks after getting a disc jockey fired.

Say what you will about Imus, but he was an equal opportunity offender. Sharpton, on the other hand, is selective. He can say whatever he wants about your group of people, but he'll be all over your case, bringing down your career, if you say something offensive—read: opportunistic—about his.

As far as I'm concerned, this is precisely the kind of guy who should be fired for making biased comments. And that's just the problem when it comes to Al Sharpton. Don Imus was a radio host; he had a knowable job to be fired from. What's Sharpton's profession? "Civil rights leader"? How do you fire someone from this position? What does this title even mean?

When Mitt Romney responded to Sharpton's remarks by pointing out the man's blatant "bigotry," Sharpton quickly got defensive, saying his words were taken out of context—and adding that Romney was just playing to religious conservative fears. Even if that were true, Sharpton, of all people, has no right to point this out.

To me, Al Sharpton is the political world's glorified version of Anna Nicole Smith. He could only exist in this day and age, when people are famous for simply being famous. Unlike Anna Nicole, though, who at least promoted TrimSpa, Reverend Al has never promoted a damn thing but himself. If the media are going to insist on giving this guy a platform, he needs to be held to the same level of "accountability" that he so angrily demanded for Imus. Either it's wrong to say mean things about other groups of people, or it isn't. We deserve a discernible standard. You don't get to pick and choose.

Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at

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