MSNBC Reins in the Reverend; Sharpton Hired On, Can't Endorse or Contribute

MSNBC officially hired the Reverend Al Sharpton this afternoon to host “PoliticsNation,” during the network’s 6 p.m. hour.

“I’m thrilled that he’s now reached a point in his career where he’s able to devote himself to hosting a nightly show,” said MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a statement that called Sharpton one of the network’s “most thoughtful and entertaining guests.”

Sharpton has been standing in for the last few weeks, after the network’s prime time line-up was shaken up by the departure of Keith Olbermann. Olbermann left the network shortly after he was disciplined for contributing to three congressional candidates, in violation of network policy.

A spokesman for MSNBC  said Sharpton would be bound by the same rules as every other host, and would not be allowed to endorse candidates or contribute to their campaigns.

That marks the end of a particular era in New York politics, in which Sharpton served as a polarizing figure who could help deliver black votes, but one that came with the possibility of turning off voters who saw him as divisive. Most recently, he figured heavily into the attorney general’s race, after the future A.G., Eric Schneiderman, promised Sharpton an “annex in Albany” during an endorsement event.

Sharpton recently declined to participate in the anniversary of the Crown Heights riots, and admitted he “played to the extremists” and that he made “mistakes.”

In his portion of today’s announcement, Sharpton referenced his own personal evolution, and worked it into the network’s “Lean Forward” catchphrase.

“We all learn from our pain and stand up from our stumbling and one must either learn to lean forward or fall backwards,” Sharpton said. “I’m glad they have given me the opportunity to continue my forward lean.”

MSNBC Reins in the Reverend; Sharpton Hired On, Can't Endorse or Contribute