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March and Rally Lead, in Part, by MSNBC Host

MSNBC host Al Sharpton is among the civil rights activists leading a rally at this hour in Sanford, FL calling for an escalation in peaceful civil disobedience and economic sanctions if George Zimmerman is not arrested in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Sharpton’s role as both cable news host and activist has been debated in media circles for weeks. But Sharpton’s continued call for action now has the local NAACP chapter distancing itself from Sharpton. “We hope that the citizens of Sanford will govern themselves accordingly,” Seminole County chapter president Turner Clayton tells the WKMG-TV. “We are not calling for any sanctions, against any business or anyone else. And, of course, what Rev. Sharpton does, that’s strictly the [National] Action Network,”

While CNN & HLN correspondent George Howell reports from Sanford this morning, and “Fox & Friends” has covered the lead up to the march, MSNBC has not reported on it much, except during Alex Witt‘s news hour at 7amET, with a report from NBC’s TheGrio.com.

On “The O’Reilly Factor” last night, Bill O’Reilly continued to tie Sharpton’s roles as activist and MSNBC host: “I have been doing this 37 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said O’Reilly during a discussion with Mike Huckabee. “Sharpton works for NBC, not MSNBC. He works for NBC News. He answers to NBC. To let this guy go crazy and what is going to happen is if it doesn’t come out the way that he wants it to? Sharpton will accuse racism and everything else and some people are going to do damage.”

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