MSNBC host Al Sharpton’s ongoing struggle with the teleprompter on his show is legendary. On Monday night, Sharpton squared off against a new foe: the touchscreen display.
Sharpton attempted to control a finicky touch screen while discussing Hillary Clinton’s polling numbers against Republican presidential candidates, and the results were pretty disastrous.
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"Let’s keep going," Sharpton said, swiping a nonresponsive touch screen with increasing vigor. "Hillary Clinton … versus … Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin. In a head-to-head matchup, 51 percent to 37 percent."
The problems continued on the next screen.
"And … when we look … at the last figures we’re releasing tonight," Sharpton said during a second flurry of swipes.
"I wanted to go a few graphs down," Sharpton said when the screen finally changed. The touch screen did not appear to skip forward multiple graphs, casting doubt on Sharpton’s explanation. Despite the troubles, Sharpton did not appear to get frustrated with the
It is unclear why Sharpton and the staff at PoliticsNation decided to employ a touch screen for the segment, given his well-known issues with technology. It is possible they may have been trying to emulate Fox News’s news deck, which incorporates giant tablets. Fox News regularly defeats MSNBC in the ratings.
According to a Free Beacon analysis, Sharpton swiped the screen nine times, while changing the screen four times. That means, according to further analysis, that Sharpton swiped the screen five times in vain. In addition to fruitless swiping, Sharpton engaged in various forms of gesticulation during the segment.
In addition to the Free Beacon‘s coverage of Sharpton's apparent lack of live television skills despite being on the air for years, NBC's Saturday Night Live has had a good deal of fun at Sharpton's expense for appearing flabbergasted by cameras, teleprompters and the entire experience of TV.