Column: Al Sharpton's Hoary Heart-to-Heart With Kamala

March 3rd, 2021 6:05 AM

Liberals have spent the last five years fulminating about how President Trump reserved the bulk of his national TV interviews for Fox News. They would fiercely protest the protective bubble Trump would receive from Sean Hannity or Jeannine Pirro.

So what did they say when Vice President Kamala Harris granted her first national interview as the Veep to Rev. Al Sharpton for his weekend program on MSNBC? Hannity and Pirro aren’t known for racial hoaxes or virulent anti-Semitism.

No one would really consider Sharpton a journalist. He’s still running around lobbying with his group, the National Action Network. Last year, he was touting how he would “get in the door and advocate” to Harris and Biden and if the Democrats won.

So if Sharpton went all soft on Kamala, made her look good, that might help him later with his lobbying. He wasn’t bringing Harris a single hard question. He didn’t ask about Andrew Cuomo. He didn’t ask about the new administration putting child immigrants in detention centers – “kids in cages.” It was 15 minutes inside a protective bubble. Let’s review his question list.

1. “Let me ask you, what does Black History Month mean to you?” Harris replied: “It means everything to me.” This softball question was used in advertisements to promote the interview.

2. Self-involved Sharpton noted that he took Harris to his favorite soul-food restaurant, Sylvia’s, when she was running for president. “You asked me a lot of questions about Shirley Chisholm, who I worked with when I was a kid. You asked me a lot about Reverend Jesse Jackson that helped mentor me in activism. So I know you had a keen sense of history, in even my own journey. Who are the people that influence Kamala Harris to be the Vice President of the United States?...Who was important to Kamala Harris as a black historic figure?”

3. Then the  Reverend preached “You’re not only the first woman Vice President, first black woman, first South Asian, South Pacific woman. You are also the first HBCU graduate, from Howard University. And you’re the first AKA [sorority] member....How much of Howard University, an HBCU, how much of that shaped you?”

4. On coronavirus, Sharpton lectured “in the black community, we’ve had the problem of hesitancy and questioning, and given a bad history, there is no reason why we wouldn’t. But you’ve been that champion of trying to convince us, including people like me that were reluctant and you’re doing something specific. Tell us about Thursday.” She touted an event at a D.C. pharmacy that she held two days before the interview aired.

Sharpton credited Harris with convincing him to get a vaccine, which he did. But there was no question on how Harris and Biden have claimed they had to “start from scratch” on vaccine distribution, which is flat-out false. Or Harris saying last year she didn’t trust a vaccine under Trump.

5. He closed out by asking Harris how she’d like to be considered in half a century. “What do you hope they will say? You’ll probably still be around in some smart pantsuit and some Converse sneakers [at age 106?], but I'll be gone. What do you hope they will say about Kamala Harris, the first black woman Vice President of the United States, 50 years from now?”

So these weren’t so much questions as opportunities for Kamala to dwell on her biography and her influences and inspirations to celebrate Black History Month. That’s all very uplifting if you’re a Liberal Person of Color. But liberals shouldn’t try to lecture the conservatives about journalistic skepticism and independence.