Four months later -- and six months after he began his association with MSNBC, as a substitute host for progressive firebrand Ed Schultz -- Sharpton remains at the helm of his own regular program and has come into his own as part of the rotating face of the "Lean Forward" network.
With a forthright style cultivated in the pulpit and on the street, Sharpton has done one of the main things that modern television demands: carved out a telegenic personality, establishing a singular identity not to be confused with anyone else.
The fact that Sharpton, head of the activist National Action Network, is no shrinking violet but a full-throated progressive with passionate views on a range of topics related to social justice illustrates the evolving tango of journalism and opinion in 21st-century media. Much to their dismay, old-guard mainstream journalists face a paradigm shift of which Sharpton's rise is but a leading indicator: the fact that minority voices are finally starting to achieve critical mass in the American commentariat. ...
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Image credit: Al Sharpton: MSNBC.