Video: Whoopi calls on Sharpton to apologize to the Duke lacrosse players Update: Sharpton responds

Well, Whoopi Goldberg may yet prove to be a good addition to The View after all. No, I’m not a fan. That business with the Pelosis was revolting. But in this clip, not only does Whoopi not stick to the usual comfortable knee-jerk reactions to events, but goes out of her way to look up the facts before opining. She ends up calling out Rev. Al Sharpton for getting the Duke lacrosse story entirely wrong, and for not apologizing after it became clear that they were innocent. What a concept.

(h/t Newsbusters)

Update: Sharpton responds that he never took a position on the Duke case.

But is Sharpton’s response true?

Not exactly. Here’s what he said on the O’Reilly Factor on April 19, 2006.

Al Sharpton told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on April 19 – the day after the first two players were charged – “This girl has basically had a character charged in the media. There is a lot of racism that’s in the air. Having said that, I commend a lot of the blacks and whites who stood vigil and came together in that community to stand up for this girl. So I think in the midst of this, there is some good.”

He added, “What I don’t accept is for people to act like this young lady, no matter what her profession – and I think people need to know she is a mother, a divorced mother of two and a student – that we ought to be putting her on trial rather than these two that are getting indicted.”

Sharpton also compared the Duke case to another infamous rape case.

SHARPTON: This case parallels Abner Louima, who was raped and sodomized in a bathroom like this girl has alleged she was. That’s the case and just like in the Louima case, you have people here saying she fabricated it. They said he fabricated it — two guys in jail right now for that.

As it turned out, the Duke case didn’t parallel the Louima case at all. So Sharpton had that wrong.

And in the Duke case, the accuser did turn out to be a liar. There was racism in the air as Sharpton said, but not necessarily of the kind that he meant. The New Black Panthers were on hand, for instance, and met with Mike Nifong and pronounced the Duke lax players guilty before indictments were even handed down. The NBPs are racist to the core, and judged the Duke case entirely on their racist beliefs.

Sharpton has less to apologize for in the Duke case than the NBP crowd does, but it’s clear from the O’Reilly quotes that he defaulted to defending the accuser and was quick to label any of her critics as racists, even though she turned out to be wrong and her critics turned out to be right.

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