Sharpton Plans Charter Protest

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The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network will show its displeasure with Charter Communications Inc., which refused to carry urban gospel channel Word Network.

NAN -- which recently staged several protests against EchoStar Communications
Corp. -- said it will rally in front of Charter's St. Louis headquarters Tuesday
morning.

What really set off NAN was an electronic mail Charter vice president Patty
McCaskill sent last April to Word VP Betsy Kellman. NAN claimed that the e-mail
was racist.

'We don't do `window-dressing' contracts unless we have systems interested in
launching. So far, that hasn't occurred, and quite honestly, I am not convinced
that the network has enough truly differentiated original programming to warrant
carriage,' McCaskill wrote.

Charter spokesman Andy Morgan said the MSO met with Word representatives
twice within the past two years, and Thursday's announcement of the rally was a
surprise.

'It would be more effective if they came back to us and scheduled a serious
follow-up meeting, instead of coming out with an inflammatory press release,' he
added.

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