by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Setting aside the previous beef the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) had with Rev. Al Sharpton over his job offer on MSNBC, the NABJ invited him to speak on a panel at their annual convention held in Philadelphia this year. Despite the NABJ’s kind gesture, Sharpton cancelled his panel engagement with them at the last minute.
When asked if he cancelled his appearance because he was disturbed by the MSNBC show controversy, Sharpton said no. What he did say, however, is that he felt it would be a distraction detracting from the productive atmosphere of the convention. He proceeded to share with Loop21:
“The NABJ members have the right to criticize and do whatever they want to do. However, [the MSNBC controversy] would have been a distraction for what I was invited to come speak about. I was invited to come speak about politics and the upcoming presidential election. If they had invited me to talk about whether advocates and activist organizations should host talk shows, I would have considered coming to discuss those kinds of things. But to put me on a political panel and then for it to go into something else about MSNBC, that wouldn’t have been good.”
If Sharpton is being completely honest in his reasons for not attending the NABJ convention, one would wonder what took him so long to notify the organization of his decision. The fact that Sharpton proceeded to mock the NABJ about their stance on his MSNBC job offer does not facilitate one believing he is not simply trying to get even. Sharpton proceeded to say of the NABJ, “What is a little humorous to me is that journalists don’t understand what the format is for what it is they are talking about. Look at the MSNBC evening lineup — if I took a hosting job, I would be replacing a guy from YouTube. The ‘Young Turks’ are not journalists. Rachel Maddow was a radio talk show host before she got her MSNBC show. So it’s laughable because the format they are talking about is not a news format. We had other activists host shows before, like Jesse Jackson.”
Sharpton’s actions appear to counter his words that his failure to attend the NABJ convention had nothing to do with him being upset over the MSNBC job controversy. That said, all we have and can know for sure are his words.
Ayvaunn Penn is the founder of Your Black Poets and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. To inquire about her freelance editing services, click here. To like Ayvaunn on Facebook, click here.