Say what you will about the Rev. Al Sharpton, his presence during a matter of racial discontent tends to get things moving.
Sharpton is often referred to (mainly by white people) as a “race hustler” or accused of otherwise stirring up racial tensions, and the civil rights champion was present and vocal early on in the matter of the death of Trayvon Martin. Indeed, it was not just Sharpton who felt the civil rights of Martin and his family may have been violated in the Sanford Police Department’s failure to arrest George Zimmerman- the Department of Justice launched and investigation into the matter shortly after the case went viral.
It seems almost vulgar that a boy is still dead, and here we are worrying whether Al Sharpton is somehow getting attention he does not deserve. As a civil rights defender, what does one expect Sharpton to do in such a situation? Nevermind the fact that many within his community are likely to have requested he get involved to draw attention to the fact that Zimmerman walked free for weeks following the death of Trayvon Martin and had their not been intense nationwide outcry, he might never have been tried for murder.
But an arrest has been made, and Martin’s mother Sybrina Martin appeared on The O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly shortly after the news broke that Zimmerman was in custody. Fox’s narrative has been strongly insinuating that Martin was “asking for it,” with commentator Geraldo Rivera blaming the hoodie the teen wore the night he was killed as being “as responsible” for his death as George Zimmerman. Which is totally reasonable, you guys.
So when Fulton got on his show, of course, O’Reilly sought a proxy apology for Al Sharpton’s existence from Fulton. Because if anyone has suffered in the Trayvon Martin case, it is white people who have had to see Al Sharpton on their tee-vee sets asking for justice. You cannot imagine, Ms. Fulton, how put upon we have been, seeing Mr. Sharpton marching at marches next to signs bearing your son’s face and people wearing hoodies. Hopefully, our long national nightmare is over.
O’Reilly urged Americans to have some compassion for what the Zimmerman family is going through during this whole ordeal, saying during the segment:
“We’re all Americans here. No one wants a 17-year-old son shot down on the street… Mr. Zimmerman doesn’t want to see his son’s life ruined because of this. This is a tragedy all the way around. And we have to handle it with the utmost respect.”
It should be noted that no disrespectful situations have occurred in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s shooting, but the insinuation is interesting. When Fox covered the deaths of Natalee Holloway and Chandra Levy ad nauseum, did anyone urge people who were distraught over them to “act right?” O’Reilly also implored Fulton to address Al Sharpton’s role in general, to which the grieving mother replied:
“We’ve never asked for anyone to do anything out of the ordinary… You want me to comment on that? I don’t know everything that’s behind it. I haven’t been watching a lot of the news. And I haven’t been watching what everyone was saying. So I’m not sure what response you want.”
In actuality, as news broke that an arrest was forthcoming in Trayvon Martin’s murder, Al Sharpton released a statement affirming calls for justice were made within a peaceful movement, calling it a “love campaign.”