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The Rev. Al Sharpton's controversial MSNBC gig praised by NAACP

August 25, 2011 |  3:53 pm

Sharpton naacp

The NAACP is applauding the Rev. Al Sharpton for being named as the host of MSNBC's new show "PoliticsNation." But the civil rights group is remaining mum on the controversy surrounding the hiring and Sharpton's qualifications for the job.

A statement from NAACP President and Chief Executive Benjamin Todd Jealous congratulated Sharpton and characterized the move as "a positive step toward addressing the dearth of African American voices in prime-time news."

The organization in June issued a statement blasting the lack of African American journalists in prime-time news, both on cable and national network news shows.

Said Vic Bulluck, executive director of the Hollywood Bureau of the NAACP: "The addition of Al Sharpton to the prime-time lineup adds a much-needed, unique perspective and is an important step toward diversity in news programming."

However, spokespeople for the NAACP declined to address the fact that Sharpton, who is a renowned civil rights activist, is not a journalist. They also declined to address speculation in various media circles that Sharpton is being rewarded for supporting the merger between NBC and cable giant Comcast, which was opposed by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) and other polticians due to what they called NBC's historically poor record in including African Americans in front of and behind the camera.

RELATED:

The Rev. Al Sharpton's new MSNBC gig stirs speculation

NBCUniversal knocked for lack of diversity after Comcast merger

— Greg Braxton

Photo: The Rev. Al Sharpton at a recent NAACP rally. Photo credit: Danielle Robinson/Associated Press.

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