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Al Sharpton’s Role as Host/Activist ‘Confusing’ but ‘the Way We Are Moving in the Journalism Industry’

MSNBC president Phil Griffin, is responding to critics of his 6pm host Al Sharpton for being both a activist in the case for Trayvon Martin and a chronicler of the story on his nightly program. Griffin, (right with Sharpton receiving an award from Sharpton’s National Action Network last year) tells the AP’s David Bauder, “We didn’t hire Al to become a neutered kind of news presenter. That’s not what we do.”

Griffin, talking before Monday’s show, said he hadn’t seen any conflict with Sharpton’s role on and off the air in the Martin case. He said Sharpton had fulfilled his requirement to honest and upfront about his activities, and credited “PoliticsNation” with helping to make it a national story.

Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute chalks it up to a sign of the times. “I’m not saying this is without problems,” she tells Bauder. “I think it’s very confusing. But it’s certainly the way we are moving in the journalism industry.”

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