Good news: North Korea to share control of Sony Pictures with Al Sharpton

A good match. One’s a far-left entity with poor English skills that maintains power by stoking grievances against America and the other’s North Korea.

Here’s this week’s reminder that there’s no situation so terrible that Al Sharpton can’t make it worse.

Hollywood ​came to the Rev. Al Thursday as embattled Sony exec Amy Pascal ​met ​privately with the ​black leader for 90 minutes ​in a bid to fix the fallout from the ​cyberhacking ​leak of embarrassing, racially charged emails.

Pascal agreed to let Sharpton have a say in how Sony makes motion pictures, in an effort to combat what he called “inflexible and immovable racial exclusion in Hollywood.”

“We have agreed to having a working group deal with the racial bias and lack of diversity in Hollywood,” said Sharpton…

He also denounced the hackers, believed to be North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s henchmen, as bullies and called pulling “The Interview” from theaters in the wake of terror-attack threats a “dangerous precedent of real concern.”

Pascal and Scott Rudin were the two Sony execs who traded jokes about which movies with black protagonists Obama might like in the now famous e-mail exchange released by the Sony hackers. It tells you a lot about media/Hollywood priorities that a person at the heart of an unprecedented cyber-sh*tstorm that’s brought her company to its knees and is rapidly becoming an international crisis with a nuclear-armed North Korea felt she’d better take time immediately to kiss Al Sharpton’s ass as penance for a tacky joke. (Trey Parker and Matt Stone, whose own movie ended up as collateral damage in the aftermath of “The Interview” being pulled by Sony, understand what public contrition for racial offenses entails.) Sharpton’s obviously enjoying it too: The money line from his presser yesterday is “the jury is still out on where we go with Amy,” a sly but probably correct insinuation that whether she gets to keep her job at Sony going forward depends on how accommodating she is to whatever demands he comes up with for absolution. If I were her, I’d cut him a seven-figure check (if she hasn’t already) and hope, in the spirit of the Christmas season, he doesn’t tell her to make it eight.

Serious question: How can Sharpton denounce the hackers while using some of the information they released for his own agenda?

The media’s supposed to publish private information only when the public interest in knowing it outweighs the rightful owner’s interest in keeping it secret. The Snowden leak is a classic example — if you think public awareness of the extent of NSA domestic surveillance is so important that it’s worth making terrorists aware of the NSA’s methods too, then you support his decision to leak. If not, not. Same goes for the Sony hack — in theory. In practice, say critics like Aaron Sorkin, the media’s abandoned all pretense that there’s a “public interest” at stake in the Rudin/Pascal e-mails, among others. There’s no evidence of serious wrongdoing that cries out for public attention. The press is publishing them out of simple prurient, voyeuristic interest in what studio execs say about other powerful people behind closed doors. It’s not journalism, it’s a peep show, and it’s a major incentive to other hackers to go on cracking into people’s e-mail accounts and releasing what they find. The point, though, is that even if you disagree with Sorkin and think there is some important interest at stake — actual racism in the form of a cheap joke shared by powerful Hollywood chieftains! — then you shouldn’t be denouncing the hackers, at least not without careful qualifications. They did a public service here, right? Sharpton wants it both ways, though, condemning the means by which Pascal’s e-mails were exposed and then turning around and profiting from it. If he thinks racism is the bigger problem, then either skip the condemnation of the NorKs or hedge it appropriately. If he thinks hacking is the bigger problem, then he should refuse to use an illegal invasion of someone’s privacy against them, however problematic Hollywood’s (well chronicled) legacy of racism is. One position gives the hackers an incentive to keep hacking, the other doesn’t. Sharpton’s made his choice. He just doesn’t want to own it.

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