Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren is not only a TV news firebrand — she is a former trial attorney.
And Van Susteren spoke with TheWrap Tuesday afternoon, where we asked her to put media coverage of Ferguson on the stand. For Greta, one anchor has stood out.
“I think Al Sharpton has injected himself way into it, and I think he has poured gasoline on the fire,” Van Susteren told The Wrap. “I’m so disappointed in Al Sharpton because he has the platform to heal, and he hasn’t done that — he actually could have done some good. He certainly hasn’t helped matters.”
On how Sharpton has “poured gasoline on the fire,” Van Susteren feels he hasn’t tried to fix tensions, but instead is inserting himself into the story through his close involvement with things on the ground.
Sharpton, who hosts “Politics Nation” on MSNBC, has joined Michael Brown’s family in repeatedly demanding justice in Ferguson. During a sermon at Brown’s church Monday, he also addressed the issue of protesters going too far after a grand jury decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson.
“Don’t confuse them [looters] with the young folk who are standing up and marching, and the old folk,” he said. ‘They are the true patriots in this country, because they are asking for the system to correct itself.”
The lawyer inside the Fox anchor feels adamantly about the Michael Brown and Darren Wilson case.
“Facts matter, that’s all that matters. People often times in very hot issues — like race or gender — they take sides; that’s so wrong. We have to wait for the facts. Facts really, really, matter. It’s painful, but people just take sides.”
In terms of the media coverage of the Ferguson issue, Van Susteren has refused to watch one network.
“I’m a friend of Rachel Maddow’s, it’s just I’m driving home at night by that time, so I miss her show, but I won’t watch MSNBC because for the life of me, I don’t understand Al Sharpton sticking his nose into it and being part of the story.”
MSNBC declined to comment to TheWrap in response to Van Susteren’s criticism.
But, Greta “tips her hat” to her former employer CNN, whose journalists she thinks have been trying to get the facts right (she says the same about her colleagues at Fox News).
Van Susteren spent a decade at CNN as a legal analyst and then as an anchor before joining Fox News in 2002. Coming up on her 13th year at Fox News, she is still kind of in shock.
“When I walked into CNN in about 1991 or something, I thought I’d stay there for three hours just to do a little legal commentary; I don’t know why my shelf life has been this long.”
“I went to law school, I was a lawyer, I was practicing and teaching law, I never dreamed I’d be doing this business — not for a second.”
And 13 years into her Fox News career, what would present-day Greta Van Susteren tell the Greta of 2002?
“You’re never going to believe it, but you’re going to still be doing this 13 year later … I’m the accidental anchor.”