FLASHBACK: MSNBC Host Confused Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton

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Earlier this week, CBS Evening News journalists apologized for embarrassing themselves as the program used a picture of Congressman Elijah Cummings in a story on Congressman John Lewis. Both are African Americans. Discussing the sad news of Lewis’s pancreatic cancer on Monday, reporter Mark Strassmann highlighted a photo of Cummings. 

On Tuesday, guest host Major Garrett blamed a “production error” and offered a brief retraction: “We deeply regret the mistake and sincerely apologize.” This isn’t the first time members of the liberal media committed such a gaffe. On October 21, 2009, then-MSNBC host Contessa Brewer introduced Jesse Jackson this way: “Joining me now to talk about this and the nation’s real problem of joblessness, the Reverend Al Sharpton....” 

 

 

After awkwardly waiting through the introduction, Jackson corrected, “I’m Reverend Jesse Jackson.” Brewer sputtered, “Right, I don’t —  you know, I’m so sorry, the —  the script in front of me said Reverend Al Sharpton. I’m looking at your face, I know who you are, Reverend Jackson, we all do. I’m sorry.” 

Later in the interview, Brewer made sure to use the proper name: 

“Reverend Jackson, you wrote an article about this...”

“Reverend Jackson, it’s good of you to join us, I appreciate your time today.”

For more examples from our flashback series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.

A partial transcript is below: 

MSNBC Live
10/21/2009
2:32 PM ET 

CONTESSA BREWER: A Goldman Sachs adviser has an interesting theory about those exorbitant salaries given to the company’s executives. He says inequality helps everyone. Specifically, Brian Griffith says, quote, ‘we have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all.’ He says in return for those big salaries and bonuses, well, bankers should just turn around and give more money to charity. He made that statement in London yesterday during a discussion of morality in the marketplace. Well, tell that to the guys making ten bucks an hour. Joining me now to talk about this and the nation’s real problem of joblessness, the Reverend Al Sharpton. What’s your reaction to hearing someone say, you know, when it comes to income inequality, all’s well, the rising tide floats all boats?

JESSE JACKSON: I’m Reverend Jesse Jackson.

BREWER: Right, I don’t – you know, I’m so sorry, the – the script in front of me said Reverend Al Sharpton. I’m looking at your face, I know who you are, Reverend Jackson, we all do. I’m sorry.

...

BREWER: Reverend Jackson, it’s good of you to join us, I appreciate your time today. Thank you, sir.

JACKSON: Thank you.

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