NYT TV Critic: Sharpton’s Show Could Use More Misinformation

New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley has a piece (8/31/11) about Al Sharpton’s debut as an MSNBC host. It seems his show, like others on the channel, could use more of a debate:

On Monday Mr. Sharpton followed the patented formula, bringing in two experts who agreed with him that recent efforts in North Carolina and other states to stiffen voter-identity requirements and restrict early voting would mostly affect the minorities and younger voters who turned out in record numbers for Barack Obama in 2008. Mr. Sharpton called it a “poll tax by another name.” It’s an interesting issue, and not one that other MSNBC talkshows have addressed with the same degree of passion, but it would also have been helpful to viewers to learn how proponents of voting restrictions justify the legislation.

While diversity of viewpoints is a nice goal, this is one of those issues where the “other side” doesn’t have much of a case. Voter ID laws are, in theory, supposed to protect against voter fraud–which is an almost completely nonexistent problem. Stanley’s paper has written a couple of editorials about this, citing the Brennan Center’s excellent work on the issue.

There are obviously plenty of things you can say about Al Sharpton or MSNBC. Wishing that his show would feature more guests spewing misinformation is hardly “helpful.”

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.