The last thing I want to do is get into a fight with sweet Rachel Noerdlinger, the spokeswoman for sour Al Sharpton.
It’s not her fault that the Rev refused to answer my questions about his bizarre bonding with Designated Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, but had Noerdlinger issue a mocking written response to my blog post shortly after it’s posted. He didn’t even send the response to me. So I’m going to pretend it’s Sharpton himself who’s saying what’s attributed to Noerdlinger…
The Rev finds it’s “amusing that one would think” that he’d “pay a favor to someone” like Charlie King “that we are already paying a consulting fee to.” My blog post revolves around the many ties over 13 years between King and Gillibrand, and King’s relationship to Sharpton’s National Action Network (he was the national director of NAN for two years, until he gave up the title in the spring to become just a consultant to the organization). The point was that King, who is known to be personally close to Gillibrand, was the intermediary for Sharpton’s latest Odd Coupling (remember GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone’s role in the Sharpton presidential of 2004?). As Tawana Brawley used to say, Sharpton is easily amused.
What’s really hilarious is that Sharpton endorsed Gillibrand for her 2010 race before he endorsed Bill Thompson for his 2009 race. He did it June 5 without the slightest idea who Gillibrand’s opponent might be. He actually praised her appointment within hours of Paterson’s announcement back in December even before she rushed to Harlem to meet him the next day. And as soon as Maloney’s n-word quote appeared in City Hall News, the Rev was juicing up a statement of dismay.
The Sharpton statement made no reference to the context of Maloney’s quote, which was an attempt to draw a parallel, citing a Puerto Rican friend of hers, between Gillibrand’s championing of anti-Latino English only laws and a racial slur. In fact, since Gillibrand has a record of anti-immigrant actions and no particular identification with any African American issues, it’s inexplicable why New York’s self-appointed “civil rights leader” is such a champion of hers. In fact, only personal relationships, and mutual backscratching or promises of mutual backscratching, can explain the timing and intensity of this joke.
Sharpton now claims — through Noerdlinger– that his “original condemnation of Congresswoman Maloney clearly disclosed that he had endorsed Gillibrand,” an assertion that Liz Benjamin is unsure about (the release on NAN’s website contains no such reference). But his endorsement is not the point. His unfair assault on Maloney — hyperventilating about her use of the term while ignoring the accuracy of her charges about Gillibrand’s anti-Latino actions — is a consequence, based on the evidence laid out in my blog post, of a much deeper relationship. King was just the bridge.
The Sharpton answer to the blog post sets up a straw man, denying that Gillibrand or anyone associated with her was “the source” of his knowledge of the Maloney statement, something I never suggested in any way. Then Noerdlinger goes on to say “even if Senator Gillibrand had been the source of his knowledge,” it wouldn’t lessen how right he was to bang Maloney for this “insult.” Having raised, rebutted and simultaneously reinforced Gillibrand’s whisper himself, he’s now convinced me I missed that one.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2009