On paper, Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton couldn't be more different - not least of all because Beck is successful. Yet they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and according to this report by the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, Sharpton wants to imitate Glenn very much (emphasis added):
On Thursday, the day after his most visible career triumph, Sharpton worked the ballroom at Washington’s convention center, grinning for photographs. Opening up for his breakfast speaker, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Sharpton regaled the crowd with a story of how Obama invited him and Newt Gingrich to the Oval Office and asked them to launch a five-city tour promoting education reform. When Duncan took the microphone, he requested “a huge round of applause for our leader, Reverend Al Sharpton.”
The reverend is basking in the applause. “I was born with Broadway lights as a backdrop,” Sharpton told me. His model is less Jesse Jackson than it is Glenn Beck. Sharpton told me he’s aiming to do “exactly what Beck did,” using his media platform to rally people.
Unlike Beck, however, Sharpton has mellowed. While arguing that he isn’t the first civil rights leader to go from the streets to the suites, his own transformation “may be more dramatic, because I’m more dramatic. Maybe it’s the James Brown in me.”
Sharpton's strategy appears to be paying off. His ratings are currently far stronger than some of MSNBC's most established leading lights.