In the years that I have been following - and creating - political media, I have seen many a provocative headline, but none in the same ballpark as the New York Daily News' post-New Hampshire slam on Donald Trump.
Mixing metaphors, the paper's front-page shows Trump in Joker-style clown face alongside a screaming headline, "DAWN OF THE BRAIN DEAD." Lest anyone miss the message, the subtitle reads, "Clown comes back to life with N.H. win as mindless zombies turn out in droves."
Those "droves" accounted for 35 percent of the New Hampshire primary vote on the Republican side. According to exit polls, nearly half of the Trump zombies were college graduates, and nearly 40 percent of them had family incomes in excess of $100,000 a year.
On the bottom of that same Daily News cover, however, is a headline that mentions a real Joker and describes some truly zombie-like behavior as though it were nothing out of the ordinary. It reads, "BERNIE ROLLS OVER HIL, MEETS REV. AL TODAY."
The "Bernie" is Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. The "Reverend Al," of course, is Al Sharpton. In practice, Sharpton resembles a real "reverend" about as much as Vermin Supreme - the guy with the boot on his head - resembles a real presidential candidate. Still, the anti-Semitic Sharpton had a powerful blessing to bestow, and the Jewish Sanders went hat-in-hand to seek it.
Sanders received more than 80 percent of the under-30 Democratic vote in New Hampshire. Given that many of these voters don't know who fought in the Civil War, it is unlikely they know anything at all about the man whose ring their candidate is kissing. So please share the following with the precious snowflakes in your life.
The Reverend Al first made his bones on the back of a troubled 15-year-old named Tawana Brawley. In 1987, Brawley got off a school bus and disappeared. Four days later, she showed up dazed, confused and covered in feces. As her publicist, Sharpton hawked the story that a gang of white men kidnapped Brawley, raped her and inscribed "KKK" on her body and worse.
Perhaps because she made the story up, Brawley refused to cooperate with New York State's Jewish Attorney General Robert Abrams. This made sense to Sharpton. Said he, asking Brawley to talk to Abrams would be like "asking someone who watched someone killed in the gas chamber to sit down with Mr. Hitler."
Needing to accuse someone, Sharpton and his lawyer pals singled out Assistant District Attorney Steve Pagones. Apparently, Al thought gang raping young black girls just another day at work for a respected public official.
The case was a joke. It collapsed when a Sharpton security guard testified that his boss knew Brawley was lying all along. An outraged Pagones sued Sharpton and the others. Not one to pay his own bills - according to the New York Times, he still owes $4.5 million in back taxes - Sharpton somehow persuaded O.J. Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran to settle up.
Now a public figure, Sharpton stepped up the race baiting. In 1991, lethal anti-Jewish pogroms swept the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Leading the charge was the Reverend Al. "If Jews want to get it on," he said defiantly, "tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house."
Over time the game grew deadlier. In 1995, an unrepentant Sharpton organized a protest against a Jewish merchant in Harlem named Fred Harari. The charge against this "white interloper" was that he had asked a commercial tenant to move from his building. He did so at the request of a neighboring church group. Both the tenant and the church leaders were black. So was the protester who went on a shooting spree at Freddie's Fashion Mart before burning the building down and killing eight people in the process.
Something of an equal opportunity flamethrower, Sharpton once scorched gays and Donald Trump in the same mindless blast. Said Sharpton at Kean College in 1994, "White folks was in the caves while we was building empires. We built pyramids before Donald Trump even knew what architecture was. ... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it."
The left's gripe against Trump might best be summarized in the Huffington Post headline, "NH Goes Racist Sexist Xenophobic." But Trump is Pope Francis compared to Sharpton, and no one on the right sucks up to Trump as mindlessly as leftists do to the race-baiting Reverend Al.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessary represent those of Headlines and Global News.
An independent writer and producer, Jack Cashill has written 11 books since 2000, nine of which have been featured on C-SPAN's "Book TV." He has also produced a score of documentaries for regional PBS and national cable channels. Jack has written for Fortune, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard. He has a Ph.D. from Purdue University in American studies.