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Al Sharpton on MSNBC: ‘After 5 p.m., the format doesn’t call for a journalist’

MSNBC’s new 6pmET show, “PoliticsNation” hosted by Al Sharpton premieres tonight. And Sharpton has been doing a few interviews lately ahead of the launch.

Andrea Peyser, New York Post:

Sharpton’s newfound hunger for being taken seriously has had the odd effect of turning the wildly gifted speaker into a soggy milquetoast. Last week on MSNBC, Sharpton dutifully bashed Republicans, but looked lost, suffering from painful pauses as he struggled with the dang TelePrompTer. His most wicked line was a Freudian slip. Thursday, Sharpton disputed the claim that drug-testing welfare recipients “would SLAVE Florida.” Ouch! “Would SAVE Florida — money,” he persisted. The Al I know would have stuck with “slave.”

Eric Deggans, St. Pete Times:

“I think people would have to look at the format and understand that after 5 p.m., the format doesn’t call for a journalist,” Sharpton said, noting that hosts [Rachel] Maddow, [Ed] Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell have not worked primarily as journalists. Indeed, Sharpton sees his hire as breaking another color line; allowing a radio host of color to make the

same transition to cable television news that others have. “Those of us who have been in advocacy and those of us who have been in radio have seen they are taking people from radio – (Fox News host Sean) Hannity and Schultz – why can’t they take us?” he said.

Lloyd Grove, The Daily Beast:

Sharpton, an Obama loyalist who has spent much airtime defending the president, claims PoliticsNation will not be an Obama-criticism-free space. “Not at all,” he says. “Last night I talked about how I disagree with him on Libya. It’s been overstated—I feel free to disagree with him. It’s true I’ve been generally supportive.”

NPR’s “Weekend Edition” Sunday also reported on Sharpton’s new show.

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