Al Sharpton explained this week that a recent story accusing his nonprofit of blackmailing companies by threatening them with accusations of racism simply isn’t true.
The reason? According to Sharpton, the company that owns the New York Post — the news outlet that first reported on his alleged shakedown tactics — gives money to his nonprofit… just like everybody else.
So that means if Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which owns the Post, gives Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) a contribution, any story the Post runs that questions his fundraising tactics amounts to nothing more than an abrogation of its parent company’s intellectual honesty… or something like that.
Amazingly, Sharpton actually spoke to conservative website The Daily Caller when it contacted him for an explanation.
“Sharpton’s central defense was that News Corp. — the company that owns the New York Post — also fills his coffers,” The DC surmised.
Some highlights from The DC’s interview with Sharpton:
“I am not going to let them get around the fact that their company has been involved, has donated money, had us on their board of diversity.”
“Why are they doing it?” he [Sharpton] asked. “Are they being shaken down?”
…“I am not prepared to do anything but to say that Rupert Murdoch has given, through News Corp, money to us and that we’re on the board, on their, have been on their diversity board. I am going to force you to use the quote I give you because that is the only quote I am giving you.”
Sharpton called back moments later with more quotes, albeit interspersed with his fixation on the alleged News Corp donations.
But when pressed for detailed comment about other businesses that shower their largesse on the National Action Network, he threatened to hang up again.
“Let’s end this because you playing games,” he thundered.
…The reverend [Sharpton] seemed to find it exculpatory that a good chunk of the [Post] article alleged influence peddling, rather than explicit race hustles.
According to the New York Daily News, Sharpton earns $241,000 a year for directing NAN.
In its original story, the Post had outlined a number of instances in which Sharpton, both personally and through his nonprofit, allegedly used the threat of bad publicity (through insinuations of racism) to coax contributions from corporations that otherwise have no business with Sharpton or his outfit.
“For more than a decade,” wrote the Post, “corporations have shelled out thousands of dollars in donations and consulting fees to Sharpton’s National Action Network. What they get in return is the reverend’s supposed sway in the black community or, more often, his silence.”
Sharpton now says the Post and Murdoch are hypocrites for donating to his network while writing articles critical of his methods.
An alternate take might be that Murdoch — like many of NAN’s other alleged corporate targets — might simply have gotten fed up with being blackmailed. And, as luck would have it, Murdoch just so happens to own a New York newspaper where a bombshell story about Sharpton would make for very interesting reading.