From Ann Coulter’s Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America
But the media turned to one man more than any other to discuss how rhetoric can lead to violence: Al Sharpton—someone whose rhetoric actually had inspired violent mobs. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Sharpton was interviewed on NBC’s Meet the Press, on National Public Radio, on CNN, and repeatedly on MSNBC. The Washington Post ran an op-ed on the shootings by Sharpton.
It was an in-your-face move for the media to turn to Sharpton for counsel as they were blaming “rhetoric” for the Arizona shootings. That’s right, we’re going to have Al Sharpton on to discuss ugly rhetoric that can lead to violence. Do something about it.
From 1987 to 1988, Sharpton was libeling innocent men in the Tawana Brawley hoax, falsely accusing them of a sickening rape. A long and expensive grand jury investigation determined that the entire case was a hoax. New York attorney general Robert Abrams concluded that Sharpton had engaged in “abominable behavior, deplorable, disgraceful, reprehensible, irresponsible.”
A few years later, in 1990, all was calm at the trial of the Central Park jogger’s rapists—except, according to the New York Times, when Al Sharpton arrived. Saying the proceedings were “just like the old Scottsboro boys case,” he even brought hoax perpetrator Brawley to the trial. He said she was there to “observe how differently a white victim was treated and how the accused in this case have been mishandled a lot differently from the people she [Brawley] accused."
The stunt with Brawley, the London Guardian reported, turned the Central Park rape trial into a “racial showdown.” Venomous mobs outside the courtroom destroyed television equipment and punched cameramen and reporters. Those who tried to argue with the protesters got their faces smashed. The Sharpton supporters chanted, “The jogger’s a whore!” “Slut!” “The jogger’s a drug addict!” “The jogger’s an actress!” “Lynch the boyfriend!” “Lynch all her boyfriends!” When the frail, off-balance jogger showed up at court one day to testify, the mob chased her van to continue hurling abuse at her.
In the courtroom, Sharpton’s supporters jeered and cackled at defense witnesses and screamed “Liar!” at the prosecutor. Only when Sharpton was absent for a few weeks on account of his own trial for fraud and larceny was the courthouse calm, according to the Times, with spectators consisting mostly of “young college and law students and four rows of reporters.”
The following year, in 1991, Sharpton whipped up angry rock-throwing mobs in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights after a car accident killed a black child, Gavin Cato. In the rioting after the accident, a rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, had been knifed to death.
After days of violent tumult, Sharpton gave a speech at Cato’s funeral declaring that his death had not been an accident and, indeed, that a Jewish ambulance had refused to transport the black child to the hospital. “The world will tell us he was killed by accident,” Sharpton said. “Yes, it was a social accident.… It’s an accident to allow an apartheid ambulance service in the middle of Crown Heights.” This conspiracy theory arose from the fact that the police had instructed the Jewish-owned Hatzolah ambulance to take only the Hasidim because a city ambulance had already been called for the other victims. (I thought liberals liked government health care!) Sharpton went on to denounce the “diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights” and then led the angry mob on a march through the Hasidic center of Crown Heights.
On account of Sharpton’s presence at the funeral, the city was forced to deploy “vastly” more police than there were marchers, as the Times put it. The full cavalry was there—double lines of cops on both sides of the street along the march, motorcycle patrols, and even a circling police helicopter. Sharpton would later brag that his march was peaceful.
Then, in 1995, Sharpton famously incited an anti-Semitic pogrom against a Jewish-owned store in Harlem, Freddy’s Fashion Mart, telling angry mobs, “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” There were weeks of violent protests outside the store, which finally ended in a blaze of bullets and a fire that left several employees dead.
Of course, after all this, Sharpton became a pariah—Oh wait! No, in the opposite of paying a penalty, he became famous and ran for president and Al Gore kissed his ring after these spectacles.
In light of Sharpton’s history, you’d think that, in the middle of liberals blaming the Arizona shooting on “rhetoric,” someone in his organization might have said, Hey boss, I’d keep a low profile for the next couple of weeks. We just don’t want you to be on TV right now because someone is going to say, “Hey, how about Freddy’s? What about Gavin Cato’s funeral? Weren’t you the guy stirring up the violent rabble at the trial of the Central Park jogger’s rapists?”
But liberals, being a mob, are perfectly capable of holding two completely contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time. They can believe that Jared Loughner was inspired by Sarah Palin—even though there’s no evidence Loughner liked Palin or even knew who she was. But at the same time, they can resolutely deny Al Sharpton had anything to do with inciting people who were known to have heard Sharpton, and who believed they were following him, when they assaulted, attacked, and murdered those he had denounced as “white interlopers,” “diamond merchants,” and “racists.”