Rev. Al Sharpton is responding to a video posted on The Blaze Tuesday morning, by saying the message emphasized in the video was not indicative of the "whole rally."
The Blaze stands by the video which includes Sharpton's concerns over the 8/28 "Restoring Honor" rally in DC and his assertion on Saturday that "They want to disgrace this day." The video contrasts segments from Saturday's "Restoring Honor" rally with the "Redeem the Dream" event held on 8/28/00 in the same location. That event was co-sponsored by Sharpton's National Action Network.
The most controversial sections of the video include comments by New Black Panther activist Malik Zulu Shabazz. Shabazz would become the leader of the New Black Panthers shortly after the 2000 rally.
The video features Sharpton's affirmation of the New Black Panthers and Shabazz declaring solidarity with Sharpton.
After leading a call that has the "black jury" finding "white America" guilty of "injustice and racism," Shabazz calls on black young people, including "gang members," to unite against the "common enemy."
Shabazz goes on to articulate a "black dream that when we see caskets rolling in the black community...that we will see caskets and funerals in the community of our enemy as well."
I talked with Rev. Sharpton Tuesday evening about his concerns over the video. He disagreed with The Blaze characterization of the event as a "Sharpton rally." He explained that his National Action Network was a co-sponsor of the event along with the Southern Leadership Christian Conference.
Sharpton further explained that he disagreed with the message of Shabazz and says he expressed his disagreement at the time. I asked Sharpton how and when he made that expression. He indicated that the overall tone of the "whole rally" made the message clear. Further, he said that he was asked about Shabazz's comments at a news conference after the event. Sharpton said he did not remember hearing Shabazz's "caskets" comments. He recalled being asked if he agreed with Shabazz's view that the dream of Dr. King had become a "nightmare." He said he indicated his disagreement with that sentiment. The Blaze could not independently verify Sharpton's recollection about the news conference.
We did reexamine the video of the event. Sharpton does return to the podium immediately after Shabbaz. He makes no comment about Shabbaz's speech and simply moves on to introduce the next speaker.
I did ask Rev. Sharpton about his charge that the "Restoring Honor" rally would "disgrace this day." Sharpton said he felt that the actual event was different than how he believed Glenn Beck had originally characterized it, but that he didn't want to get into a "name calling thing with him." After he expressed some areas of agreement with Beck, I asked him for his current opinion of the 8/28 event. He said it was "fine."