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In an exclusive interview with TheLoop.com, Rev. Al Sharpton spoke about his much talked-about absence at the 2011 NABJ Convention in Philadelphia this past weekend where he was scheduled to appear.

Sharpton, who has been in the news lately for successful fill-in role in the 6 p.m. time slot for Cenk Uygur on MSNBC, said he believed his presence at the convention would be a “distraction.”

Numerous members of the NABJ criticized the hiring of Sharpton. Many said that he’s not a “real journalist,” and that the position should have gone to someone who is.

Sharpton said the criticism wasn’t the reason for his absence.

Read more at TheLoop21

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