By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Confronted with these issues, Sharpton went on the offensive, appearing as the guest host on CNN's Crossfire, opposite Novak, and comparing himself to Martin Luther King and the Voice to J. Edgar Hoover. Novak expressed "great sympathy" for Sharpton, calling the charges a "smear" and "left-wing Communist tactics." But the lovefest with Novak was tame compared to his lengthy segment with O'Reilly. O'Reilly and Sharpton jumped aboard the same sex-victim soapbox, with Sharpton's e-mail to Harris about "releasing bodily fluids" rivaling O'Reilly's infamous fantasy about washing his producer "with a little loofah thing."
"When people can't beat you politically," said Sharpton, "they go into your personal life," provoking an amen from Wild Bill: "Tell me about it." O'Reilly walked the tightrope of bashing the Voice's charges without ever really saying what they were: "I don't read their paper. But they're basically all over you for getting divorced and then dating and just dopey stuff where I say what does it matter." In fact, the story details evidence of a Harris relationship four years before the Sharptons announced their separation. "Did it hurt your feelings?" was O'Reilly's toughest question, prompting Sharpton to liken himself to Nelson Mandela, who divorced Winnie. When O'Reilly had Sharpton on as his first Democratic post-election guest in November, he even indicated that he'd donated computers to NAN.
O'Reilly and Sharpton bonded back in 2001, when they both were reveling in the demise of Jesse Jackson, with O'Reilly doing 28 shows about the Jesse baby and related scandals in two months, fed by sources close to Sharpton like prominent black businessman Harold Doley Jr. O'Reilly repeatedly featured New York Post columnist Rod Dreher, who was simultaneously writing 20 columns blasting Jackson. Dreher reported that "Sharpton's associates have been dissing Jackson in the background for months," confirming recently to the Voice that Doley was one of them. "You don't have to fall for Sharpton's theatrics to admire what he's doing from a strictly Machiavellian point of view," wrote Dreher.
With the mayoral election just months away, get ready for more Machiavelli.