Al Sharpton aided and abetted by the media
Now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted in a court of law, it’s reasonable to review how the case progressed. Breitbart provided a useful timeline. Here’s the third item:
March 13, 2012 – NBC’s Al Sharpton Uses MSNBC Platform to Stoke Phony Racial Narrative
Joel Pollak, Breitbart editor, elaborated:
The next day, March 12, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network issued a statement in which Sharpton called for a “complete and thorough investigation” into Martin’s death. He added: “[W]e are told that racial language was used when the young man reported his suspicions to police,” a misleading claim later disproved by transcripts of the 911 call, in which race was first raised in a question by the dispatcher, not by Zimmerman himself.
On March 13, Sharpton devoted a portion of his program on MSNBC, PoliticsNation, to the Trayvon Martin case. He interviewed Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, who reiterated the accusation that Zimmerman was “white”: “We think Trayvon Martin didn’t know who the heck this white man was who approached him before he got killed.”
Sharpton was one of those who shaped the narrative that the killing of Trayvon Martin was a hate crime that needed to be prosecuted.
Al Sharpton’s presence as a commentator is particularly galling. Sharpton operates as part shakedown artist, part con man, and part Hizballah-lite through his National Action Network. He was no bystander in the Martin case. He was among the first to turn the tragedy into a phony referendum on race relations. He is regularly among the first to deploy the terroristic slogan “No Justice, No Peace” when things aren’t going his way. Or when he believes a credible threat of violence is useful to him.
Al Sharpton regularly denounces America as a racist country. But only in “racist” America could Sharpton build a lucrative and influential career in national media on anti-Semitism, a horrendous hoax, lies, smears and a riot that resulted in the deaths of innocent people.
By now the Tawana Brawley case is known as a hoax. But the hoax wasn’t a victimless crime. In the course of pressing the fraudulent case forward, Sharpton and his allies defamed the Dutchess County (NY) prosecutor, Steven Pagones.
Pagones sued Brawley and her advisers, including Sharpton, and won $65,000 from Sharpton. Sharpton, having been found guilty of defamation, refused to pay and refused to apologize. Instead, well moneyed Sharpton supporters paid the settlement.
Mr. Pagones filed a $395 million defamation suit in October 1988 against Ms. Brawley and the three advisers. Ms. Brawley never responded, and in 1991 a judge ruled that Mr. Pagones had won his case against her by default. In 1998, after an eight-month trial, a jury found that Mr. Pagones had been defamed and awarded him damages: $185,000 from Mr. Mason, $95,000 from Mr. Maddox, $65,000 from Mr. Sharpton and $187,000 from Ms. Brawley.
In March, a group of Mr. Sharpton’s supporters agreed to pay the judgment for him. The group, which was led by Percy E. Sutton, the former Manhattan borough president, included the lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. and Earl Graves Jr., the president of Black Enterprise magazine.
The justice system failed Steven Pagones.
After the Tawana Brawley case and the Crown Height riots, the New York Times declared that there was a “new” Al Sharpton, featuring him as the cover story on Sunday magazine in January, 1993. A key section of this makeover reads:
Some of that change is earned, arising from basic political arithmetic. When he held his own in televised debates and held his temper on the campaign trail, some voters scoffed. But 166,665 others pulled the lever with his name beside it, giving him about 15 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary and landing him third in a field of four, ahead of Elizabeth Holtzman, perhaps forever changing the idea that this man with flowing hair and an endless avalanche of angry prose would never do more than pose for the cameras: part street preacher, part buffoon, persistent claimant to the heritage of black rage.
The primary battle silenced many detractors, whites and Republicans among them, who found “the Rev” more dignified — that was the word they used — than the seasoned politicians he faced. As Robert Abrams, the Attorney General, Geraldine A. Ferraro, the one-time Vice Presidential candidate and Elizabeth Holtzman, the City Comptroller, traded barbs, Sharpton followed the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s advice to “fly above the storm.”
Everyone took note. Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, after one particularly vicious debate, singled out Sharpton by favorable contrast, “Because he was positive, because he was mature.” The other three candidates, the Governor concluded, “all got hurt” in their debate. Reflecting on that change, Representative Maxine Waters of California, who herself successfully balances activism and mainstream politics, says she, too, was surprised by his transformation. “He obviously made a decision to show how smart he really is.”
But within three years, Sharpton’s true colors came through again.
He led increasingly violent protests against a Jewish owned business in Harlem, Freddie’s Fashion Mart. One of the protesters, Roland Smith, who had been seen at the demonstrations, entered the store, shot and wounded four people, and set fire to the store, killing four more before taking his own life.
Eight people in a Harlem clothing store were killed yesterday in a fierce blaze that police believe was deliberately set as part of bitter landlord-tenant dispute that led to angry protests in the neighborhood.
Among the dead was a man police suspect set fire to the store.
The fire consumed the building on Harlem’s main thoroughfare, 125th Street, shortly after a tall gunman, waving a revolver, burst into Freddie’s Fashion Mart across the street from the storied Apollo Theater.
Sharpton, of course, denied that the protests were violence. But an affidavit filed by Kareem Brunner, a security guard, who was killed by the fire, told a much different story.
On July 1, 1995, Brunner signed on as a security guard with Freddy’s clothing stores. He worked for a time at a Bronx branch and then was offered a few more hours a week if he transferred to the W. 125th St. store. He hoped the extra dollars would help him buy a car someday. Brunner always passed a workday with a smile, but even cheer so buoyant as his was tested when the picketing began. The language was violent and racist from the start, and after four days Brunner went to the 28th Precinct stationhouse. Brunner reported what he had heard and police returned with him to the store. An officer threatened to arrest the demonstrators if they became unruly. The moment the police were gone, the demonstrators resumed the threats. Brunner later reported that he was repeatedly called a “cracker lover” and a “traitor.” He saw one protester mime striking a match while shouting, “Burn, cracker, burn!
On Dec. 5, Brunner was summoned to the store telephone and put on the line with Randy Dusek, the store’s lawyer. Dusek asked if Brunner was willing to tell his story in the form of a sworn affidavit. Brunner agreed, though he knew the document was sure to come to the attention of the very demonstrators who were outside the store, threatening him. Dusek wrote up Brunner’s account, added some lawyerese and sent it up to the store. Brunner signed it in a hand as clear and deliberate as his life. That Thursday afternoon, Dusek filed the papers in the clerk’s office in Manhattan Supreme Court. The papers were processed overnight and one of Dusek’s associates was carrying them to a judge at the moment the gunman strode into Freddy’s. …
Brunner’s mother gave a hint as to the source of her son’s strength when the Rev. Al Sharpton offered money if the news cameras could be around when she got the check. The mother declined, saying she would rather her son’s body go unclaimed than be used as a political gimmick. Sharpton and others who came forward were told that if they wanted to give money, they should do so without fanfare, directly to the funeral parlor. Enough did, and the body was finally released.
Sharpton, who was, at least, indirectly responsible for Brunner’s death, sought to use Brunner to burnish his own image. The depths of Sharpton’s depravity know no bounds.
Needless to say the justice system failed Fred Hariri and Kareem Brunner, as well as the others killed and injured by Roland Smith.
Years later, there was yet another campaign to rehabilitate Sharpton’s image. This time it was in the form of an op-ed in the Washington Post, in the wake of the Tuscon shooting that severely injured Representative Gabby Giffords, calling for “passionate, not poisonous” debate.
The morning that I was to lead a peaceful march, I gave a speech during a weekly radio broadcast in which I said that we need to deal with a “white interloper” who was trying to alter the landscape of Harlem. My clear intent was to lead a peaceful protest. I did so that day, but I was wrong to refer to this man’s race, and I was not careful in making distinctly clear that we were solely calling for nonviolent opposition.
Two and half months later, a disturbed and troubled man went to a neighboring store and set a fire. He killed several of the store’s employees and then himself. My words were immediately raised in the media. My initial response was to defend the fact that I had never condoned such violence, and never would. But the fact is, if I in any way contributed to the climate – which was clearly more volatile than I had thought – I had to be more careful and deliberate in my public language rather than sharpen my defenses.
As we sort out what happened in Tucson, we must resist the temptation to merely cast blame, and we all must be more aware of the weakness of the idea that we do not somehow contribute to the vitriolic atmosphere. Everyone must be alert. Much as I went over the line years ago, those with public voices must ensure that their messages cannot be misconstrued as calling for a heinous act. Every morning, I think about how wounds are very real – psychologically and physically.
(A few days later, Sharpton was feted on Meet the Press. Not one panelist – not host, David Gregory, not panelists such as David Brooks and Peggy Noonan – had the courage to challenge Sharpton’s shameful record of spreading poisonous and passionate libels.)
It’s as if he’d only said “interloper” all would have been well. But given the context of his role, everyone listening would have understood that he meant “white interloper.” But if you think it was just one word that Sharpton misspoke, read more of his comments that were recorded and transcribed in the New York Times.
There is a suspended and methodical strategy to eliminate our people from doing business off 125th Street. It started with the vendors. Now they are going to the actual merchants. . . .
I want to make it clear to the radio audience and to you here that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business on 125th Street.
Nowhere in his words was a plea for non-violence. His words were ugly, inflammatory and deliberately provocative. Even Sharpton’s recollection of the events is dishonest. It wasn’t Freddie’s that moved to push Record Shack out, but the black church from whom both stores rented. (I did write to the Washington Post challenging Sharpton’s honesty. No action was taken and I received no response to my concerns.)
The legal system failed George Zimmerman (and Sanford’s ex-police chief Bill Lee.)
Shouts of “No justice, no peace” are poisonous and imply that violence is the proper response for whatever the shouters deem is an injustice.
Sharpton would not have the power he has, if it was not granted to him by the media and political elite. He amassed all of 27 delegates in the 2004 Presidential primaries. That’s less than 2% of what was needed for the nomination. It’s likely that he ran only to avail himself of federal matching funds, which, in any case, he misused to fund his lavish lifestyle. The suits at MSNBC and David Gregory may think that he is especially profound and insightful, but he is an unchanged, unapologetic, conscienceless demagogue, interested only in boosting his own visibility and earnings, unconcerned with the victims of tirades. Indulging him, is being an accomplice to his hate-mongering. Alas, President Obama has validated Sharpton’s tactics by making him his liaison to the black community.
A few asides to mention:
In this recounting, I made little reference to Sharpton’s role in Crown Heights. He did not get involved until after the killing of Yankel Rosenbaum so that blood isn’t on his hands. Still he encouraged the rioting against the neighborhood’s Jewish community and stooped to using the ugly “diamond merchants” stereotype of Jews at Gavin Cato’s funeral.
In the course of researching this post, I learned that Pagones recently tracked down Tawana Brawley and attempted to get her to pay the $430,000 she owes him. (She was assessed $190,000 in damages resulting from the defamation suit; the rest is interest.) The account here seems to make a mistake. Harry Crist committed suicide before being falsely identified as Brawley’s attacker. When Pagones attempted to clear Crist’s name he was then slandered by Shaprton and company.
Yesterday, on Meet the Press, Rich Lowry efficiently dismantled Sharpton’s arguments. Sharpton, by the way, looks and sounds terrible. With his weight loss he no longer projects the pomposity he used to and now just looks old and malnourished. White, Hispanic ex-Gov. Bill Richardson, unfortunately followed with a long, turgid speech about the racial injustice inherent in the verdict.DONATE
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