April 30, 2004 Friday
HEADLINE: Interview With Al Sharpton
GUESTS: Al Sharpton
BYLINE: Terry Keenan
TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: Well, from defense stocks to getting defensive my next guest says he wants this president out of the White House. He vied for the top spot himself but now he's behind any Democratic candidate who can get it down.
Joining me now Reverend Al Sharpton. Reverend, welcome, good to have you with us.
REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Thank you.
KEENAN: You know we were just giving John Kerry some unsolicited advice to loosen up. You're a good person to help him on that. What advice would you give him?
SHARPTON: Well, I think be himself. I mean, I debated him with the others over 30 times. I think that John Kerry is not nearly as bad as some say. I think that the more he is himself the more he telegraphs well and I think he's going to surprise a lot of people.
KEENAN: Good debater?
SHARPTON: Very good debater, well informed, takes his work very seriously. I can't wait to see him debate George Bush.
KEENAN: Do you think perhaps Senator Kerry should go on "Saturday Night Live?" You did a great job there.
SHARPTON: Well, I mean he already did a good job on Jay Leno. I'm sure he could handle "Saturday Night Live," and he's-to me when you compare his performance to the president's, I watched the president after his unofficial, unrecorded, not under oath interviews yesterday.
KEENAN: Unattended by a couple of the members.
SHARPTON: And it was embarrassing. I mean, so I think that if you compare him to Bush there's no comparison.
KEENAN: Well, you know, Senator Kerry has also now said in the last couple of days that he would invite you to the convention to speak before the Democratic National Convention. Are you planning to take him up on that offer?
SHARPTON: I plan to be at the convention. I think that all of us that played a role in the primary season, it's appropriate that we play a role at the convention so that we can all rally our constituency around the winner as we committed to do so. I think that would be the best thing for the party and I intend to be part of that process.
KEENAN: All right. Moving onto something else you've been pounding the table about is a move by Nielsen to put these people meters into homes to measure TV viewing. I mean this thing has been in the works for a long time but you strongly oppose having these people meters (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
SHARPTON: Their own preliminary study showed that with African American shows their ratings went down 40 to 60 percent. That means that we would lose advertising dollars from those shows. Those shows would be cancelled.
That would mean that the public, black and white, would be robbed of the ability to see that type of programming, as well as the fact that those ancillary industries, advertising and others would suffer. There is no way they should do this without it being clear that there is no discrimination against shows of color.
KEENAN: What's the problem with the people meters in this age of Tivo and cable, having those handwritten journals that Nielsen's been (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
SHARPTON: We don't know what the problem is. We know what the results have been. The results have been across the board a reduction of the shares that are recorded for black shows.
Now they agreed that a task force was put together by a Congressman to look into it but now they're saying even before the findings of the task force they're going forward in New York on June 3rd. That's absurd.
Why have a task force if you're not going to wait for the outcome of the task force? And, I think that Nielsen must be challenged on this and we in the National Action Network are prepared to do it.
KEENAN: But how do you know that the people meters are wrong and the other numbers are correct?
SHARPTON: That's their own study shows the difference, so rather than do something that is too late once it's going, why don't we just wait since they've already waited this long and say let's be certain about this?
How do I know it's unfair? How do they know it's not unfair since their own numbers are so different? They're in charge of it. It's a monopoly.
If you were dealing with an antitrust situation here as a monopoly you could say well let's use an alternative. They're the only game in town. We have to make sure it's a fair game.
KEENAN: Well, on that you probably have a very good point. Thanks, Al Sharpton, good to have you with us.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
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