MSNBC’s Al Sharpton got nasty on Wednesday’s episode of his program PoliticsNation, comparing Republican-backed legislation to common household pests. The reverend’s remark came at the end of a conversation with Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) on the House GOP’s proposed agriculture budget. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Sharpton and Fattah took particular issue with the budget’s proposal that only rural areas are to receive federal funding for a program to help low-income children get meals during the summer. After thanking the congressman for his time, Sharpton added this metaphor to illustrate what he thinks he’s doing on his show:
I grew up a urban youth in the inner city and we had roaches. And one thing I found out about roaches, if you turn the light on, they run, and we try to chase roach legislation here every night on PoliticsNation.
Clearly, he’s talking about conservative-leaning Republican legislation. Sharpton never criticizes Democrat-backed legislation on his show. This comment, by the way, came after Fattah expressed hope that Sharpton’s show might actually cause the Republicans to change course. The congressman asserted, “I think you're going to be able to chalk this one up as a victory for your show, because I think now that the spotlight's on it, you're going to see them running full retreat to get this fixed.”
Sharpton’s show by itself hardly constitutes a very big spotlight, but that’s beside the point. The reverend should try inviting on guests who disagree with him every now and then, not merely guests who will fluff his pillow like Fattah did. A stronger guest would have pushed back on Sharpton’s ugly roach metaphor. It’s hard to have a productive debate when both participants agree on comparing one side to vermin.
Below is a transcript of the segment:
AL SHARPTON: You know, but I think that the questions that we must all deal with is, yes, there's politics, yes, there's Democrats and Republicans, but there ought to be some things that go above partisan politics and taking care of children, feeding children, should be one of those things. How do you exclude children based on their zip code?
REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D-PA): Well, I think you're going to be able to chalk this one up as a victory for your show, because I think now that the spotlight's on it, you're going to see them running full retreat to get this fixed.
SHARPTON: And you mentioned the first lady's program. They don't like that either, about telling people, children particularly, to eat healthy. What can be wrong with that?
FATTAH: Well, we had a major reduction in obesity among children in my hometown directly in response to this effort to get more nutritious food to our children. We know that if only candy's available, they are going to eat candy, but if you provide fresh fruit, they'll eat fresh fruit and they'll enjoy it. So, you know, we need to provide more healthy choices and the federal government can be an impetus for it and the first lady has done an extraordinary job of getting the country to focus on trying to raise a healthier generation of Americans.
SHARPTON: Well, Congressman, I thank you for being on tonight. I thank you for what you said about what we're doing here with the show. I grew up a urban youth in the inner city and we had roaches. And one thing I found out about roaches, if you turn the light on, they run, and we try to chase roach legislation here every night on PoliticsNation.
FATTAH: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Thank you.