Bozell: Fact-Challenged Ed Schultz
As much as liberals complain about conservative “misinformation” and incivility, they never seem to find it on channels like MSNBC, and we know there are small bands of liberals that wander over there. While many were watching the first GOP presidential debate on May 5, Ed Schultz invited on left-wing bomb-thrower (and 2010 congressional-seat loser) Alan Grayson to heap mud on George W. Bush.
Schultz asked if Bush failed to accept Obama’s invitation to Ground Zero out of personal pique. Grayson replied through a smirk, “I suspect that President Bush might've been passed-out drunk for the last three or four days, so I’m not sure he made any conscious decision at all.” Schultz found that acceptable. “Great to have you with us tonight,” he said to Grayson at interview’s end. “Thank you for your take.”
That wasn’t a “take.” It was a typical smear.
That same shameless disregard for the truth really shook the crowd at the 2011 Media Research Center Gala on May 7. Special Ed – as radio talker Chris Plante calls him -- overwhelmingly won on the applause meter for the (worst) “Quote of the Year,” which actually covered two years. On September 23, 2009, Schultz yelled this ridiculous, foam-flecked rant on MSNBC about critics of ObamaCare.
“The Republicans lie! They want to see you dead! They'd rather make money off your dead corpse! They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don't have anything for her.”
He wasn’t joking. He was serious.
Poor Special Ed. It fell on Ann Coulter to point out – with glee -- the redundancy of Schultz saying “dead corpse.” But where on the spectrum of “fact” and “misinformation” do you place the idea that conservatives want Americans dead and deeply enjoy denying health care to cancer patients?
And who, exactly, is Ed Schultz to pose as the one who most definitely does not take glee in others’ medical misfortune? This is the same hack who said on February 24, 2010 that “You're damn right, Dick Cheney's heart's a political football! We ought to rip it out and kick it around and stuff it back in him! I'm glad he didn't tip over. He is the new poster child for health care in this country.”
On June 16, 2009, Joe Scarborough asked Schultz if he felt Cheney hoped Americans would die in a terrorist attack so it would benefit Republicans. "Absolutely, absolutely," said Schultz. "I think Dick Cheney is all about seeing this country go conservative on a hard-right wing and I think he'll do anything to get it there." A month earlier, he begged for Cheney to die. "Lord, take him to the Promised Land."
Lack of civility is one thing. Lack of honesty is another.
Schultz routinely uncorks sentences that seem to have recklessly rocketed off the planet of Fact. Here’s a funny one from days ago, on April 27. “I see that Sean Hannity is now on a regular basis losing to Rachel Maddow. Hmm, interesting. Must be that liberal media that just doesn't connect with people.” In reality, Hannity routinely doubles Maddow’s audience, just as Greta van Susteren has double the viewers of Ed Schultz now that he’s at 10 pm.
That Ed Schultz, he “connects with people.”
Here’s another jaw-dropper from Special Ed. On his radio show on October 22, 2010, he announced, “I call NPR National Pentagon Radio. They're no more left wing than Fox News as far as I'm concerned. Look at the commentators they have on there, right? They're all right-wing commentators. I couldn't get in the door of NPR.”
NPR is “no more left-wing than Fox News”? Once the laughter subsides, we could ask Schultz if that were within two time zones of the truth, would we really see Barbara Boxer and Ed Markey desperately campaigning with Arthur the Aardvark to keep NPR and PBS funding alive?
Schultz mangles facts like McDonald’s grinds hamburger. Within a few days in April, Schultz bizarrely insisted that the Bush tax cuts depressed federal revenues so severely that “Even seven years later,revenues were lower than before the Bush tax cuts went into effect.” (Wrong: They were 27 percent higher.) Then he also claimed the congressional Democrats held spending in check during the Clinton presidency (wrong again, Republicans were in charge). Then he argued it’s not illegal for teachers to strike in Michigan (wrong yet again).
MSNBC flacks try to sell Rachel Maddow as the straight-A student who spends hours before each show during her homework. (That fits, if the class for all that effort was 20th Century Socialist Philosophers.) Nobody could sell Ed Schultz as a man who’s factually fastidious. “Going on air” for Ed isn’t a phrase about broadcasting. It’s about the solidity of his evidence.