With its swift and severe punishment of Brian Williams, NBCUniversal declared yesterday that it will not stand for on-air talent lying to viewers.
Now that the media conglomerate has delineated that bright line, when does the Rev Al Sharpton’s suspension without pay begin?
In the wake of last year’s lengthy TSG report about Sharpton’s secret work as a paid FBI Mafia informant, the MSNBC host sought to blunt the story’s disclosures with a series of lies told at a pair of press conferences, on his nightly “Politics Nation” program, and in a report on Williams’s own NBC Nightly News (which was rebroadcast on NBC’s Today show).
Sharpton cast himself as a victim who first ran into the FBI’s warm embrace when a scary gangster purportedly threatened his life. He was “an American citizen with every right to call law enforcement” for protection, Sharpton told his MSNBC audience. His sole motivation was to “try to protect myself and others.”
He needed the FBI’s help, Sharpton claimed, because his relentless advocacy on behalf of African-American concert promoters had angered wiseguys with hooks in the music business. “I did the right thing working with the authorities,” Sharpton assured viewers. As for being branded an informant, that was a label for others to worry about. “I didn’t consider myself, quote, an informant. Wasn’t told I was that,” said Sharpton.