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.”