Friday, December 30, 2011

And still Sharpton rises

Back in August, as the Rev. Al Sharpton began his hosting duties on MSNBC's PoliticsNation, the first gig there for an African American who wasn't a journalist, a reader at The Huffington Post asked what many in the media (and elsewhere) probably asked themselves: "What is the over-under on this guy's hosting job lasting a full month?"

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. ...

Read more at The Root
Image credit: Al Sharpton: MSNBC.

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