When conservatives complain about Al Sharpton, they usually note his relationship to NBC news or his hosting a show on MSNBC. But a new book says the racial agitator and Democratic Party politician has considerable clout with Fox News, and in fact played a role in getting conservative Glenn Beck fired from the channel.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson says “people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do not deserve to be called civil rights leaders. They are not. They are hustlers and pimps who make a living off inflaming racial tensions.”
However, The Zev Chafets book, Roger Ailes: Off Camera, has some revealing passages about the clout that Sharpton and Jackson have with the chairman and CEO of Fox News. It says Ailes took a phone call from Sharpton after Beck, then a Fox News host, staged a rally at the Lincoln Memorial 47 years to the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech at the same location. Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, designed to pay tribute to America’s military personnel and restore traditional values, was strongly attacked by figures such as Sharpton and George Soros-funded groups like Media Matters, then campaigning to have Beck fired from Fox News.
Chafets says Reverend Alveda King, a national pro-life leader, delivered a conservative “I have a dream” message of her own at the Beck-sponsored rally that was “infuriating to many viewers” and Ailes as well. “Ailes didn’t like it much, either,” he reports. However, the book doesn’t explain why Ailes took issue with the rally or the speech.
The book adds, “When Al Sharpton called him [Ailes] to complain, Sharpton was surprised to hear Ailes say he would ‘take care’ of it.” The passage is included in the context of Ailes making a decision that “he would have to get rid of Glenn Beck” and telling Howard Kurtz, then a media reporter with The Daily Beast, that “he was turning down the partisan heat at the network” and was pursuing “a more moderate tone” in programming.
Kurtz, who was recently hired by Fox News, is described by Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president of news, as “the most accomplished media reporter in the country,” despite a series of embarrassments over erroneous and controversial columns and media appearances that resulted in his firing from The Daily Beast.
While the Chafets book is considered sympathetic to the chief of the Fox News Channel, it notes that Beck’s firing followed his strong criticism of billionaire George Soros and a vigorous campaign by various left-wing groups against him.
Chafets also points out that then-Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), another liberal recently hired as a Fox News commentator, is a member of the “roster of Friends of Roger” and an old “buddy” of Ailes.
Accuracy in Media chairman Don Irvine noted that Kucinich was “one of the most liberal members of Congress until he lost his seat after redistricting in 2012,” and that he was “the latest in a string of liberals at Fox, including former Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Bob Beckel, Sally Kohn, Jehmu Greene and Santita Jackson who have joined the network in recent years.”
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