Originally, Inside Higher Ed reported that they had confirmed with Sharpton’s office that the e-mails were real. The publication later amended the story to read, “A spokeswoman for Sharpton said he could not be reached to confirm the legitimacy of the exchange.”
When asked if he had received the e-mail exchange from the Department of Education, Inside Higher Ed editor Doug Lederman wrote in an e-mail, “I can’t talk about my sources, just as I’m sure you wouldn’t.”
Davis confirmed to TheDC early Wednesday that the e-mail exchange was authentic. “[Sharpton] sent his e-mail over to Duncan, and he didn’t expect that somebody in Duncan’s office would exploit it,” Davis said. “When I called him this morning, he was one pissed off Al Sharpton.”
But what was really bothering Davis was the possibility that Sharpton, by sending the exchange to Duncan’s office, was “breaking rank,” per IHE’s headline.
“I sent Rev. Sharpton an e-mail asking him whether it was true that he had changed his mind,” Davis told TheDC. ”His first words were, ‘That article was wrong, I never authorized it, or the [Education Department] to leak my e-mail. I am furious. I am going to have my public relations consultant call Inside Higher Ed.com to correct that I ever confirmed anything.’”
Davis said that Sharpton’s PR consultant then called him to say that the Rev. was “furious” with Duncan’s office for leaking the e-mail exchange.
“Let me be very clear: The Rev. Sharpton has been a long-time friend of mine. We have fought civil rights and other community battles side by side. I am not surprised that he has not changed his mind, and that he sees the danger of these regulations,” Davis added. “The secretary of education is showing signs of not recognizing who his friends are. Last time I looked, we’re all liberal democrats, and we’re all Barack Obama supporters. And we’re all being treated as if we’re enemies, and we can’t understand why.”
Neither Sharpton’s office nor the Department of Education returned requests for comment.
*An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that IHE had not responded to a request for comment, when in fact editor Doug Lederman responded before we published. The Daily Caller regrets the error.