Al Sharpton benefits more than most radio hosts by having listeners call his show. It lets Sharpton come across as sane by comparison.
The other day, for example, Sharpton wasted little time dismissing the latest bizarre conspiracy theory making the rounds (audio clip after page break) --
SHERRY IN SOUTH CAROLINA: I never got a clear understanding of Trayvon's heart. Was it actually given to Dick Cheney or was it not?
SHARPTON: No, I don't know anything, I don't think they gave Trayvon's heart to Dick Cheney, no.
SHERRY IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Did they give it to anyone?
SHARPTON: As far as I know his heart was not donated to anyone, I have not heard that from the family at all. But I know Dick Cheney didn't get it.
SHERRY IN SOUTH CAROLINA: OK, all right. Well, thank you. I'm finally cleared up on that.
SHARPTON: And that's, thank you for your call. You see, that's another thing. They put out outrageous rumors that people don't know right from wrong. That's why we need to stay right on these stations and give information, 'cause people innocently can be misinformed not trying to do anything but get the right information 'cause you get inundated by these people that just sit around just fantasizing all day long.
As conspiracy theories go, this one is so lame that even Sharpton's not getting sucked in. Martin died Feb. 26, Cheney undergoing surgery nearly a month later, on March 24. Heart transplants must occur within hours of a donor's death, not weeks later. Furthermore, the six-decade-plus age difference makes Cheney an unlikely recipient of a deceased teenager's heart.
To his credit, Sharpton also refrained from suggesting that Cheney would refuse a heart from a person of color.
(h/t, Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer)
Update -- Back in June 2009, Sharpton wasn't quite so willing to dismiss a nutty theory from a caller who claimed Sarah Palin was somehow involved in the death of Michael Jackson.