As was expected, the Reverend Al Sharpton confirmed that he will join MSNBC starting in less than a week. Sharpton will be hosting "PoliticsNation," which airs weeknights at 6 p.m.; he will be replacing Cenk Uygur, who left the network in July. And Sharpton is already spouting team-speak about the show: "I am very happy and honored to join the MSNBC team as we collectively try to get America to 'Lean Forward."
He further espoused upon leanings in his statement: "It is a natural extension of my life work and growth. We all learn from our pain and stand up from our stumbling and one must either learn to lean forward or fall backwards. I'm glad they have given me the opportunity to continue my forward lean." MSNBC President Phil Griffin called Sharpton "one of our most thoughtful and entertaining guests," and said he was "thrilled" to be able to make the union happen.
Dr. Boyce Watkins, a frequent Sharpton guest on his radio show, was more tempered in his enthusiasm at the long-awaited announcement: "One has to be concerned when black media outlets and public figures are too closely aligned with the interests that have long been a part of the oppression of African Americans. At the same time, having some access to those who control these entities may be good for the community." Wayne Barrett also raised questions about his relationship with Comcast (who owns NBC, MSNBC), who previously donated to Sharpton's organization, National Action Network.
In an interview with TheWrap, Sharpton gave some more insights into what kind of shoe he hopes to have, while jabbing at the Tea Party:
It's a natural fit for what I'm doing. I clearly understand that in the 21st century of policy America, you've got to deal with talk TV and talk radio. The Tea Party didn't come out of anywhere. If it weren't for Fox TV and Fox radio, the right wing would not have had traction. I knew the battleground would not just be on the streets but the studio as well. It worked for where I felt the movement had to go in the 21st century.
He talked about some of his current talk show idols, including Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, as well as his guiltiest pleasure (and source of inspiration): "I watch "Morning Joe" every morning. Don't tell him, 'cause I don't agree with his politics. He gets me so angry that I don't even calm down for 18 hours."