Radio and cable talk show host Ed Schultz calls himself “The Nation’sÂ Number 1 Progressive Voice.”
This week, he progressed to the Misogynist Hall of Fame with his radio reference to fellow opinionator Laura Ingraham as a "slut." Schultz managed to use the word twice in one sentence, which is one time more than would have gotten past the Village Square Civility Bell.
Impulse control is not one of Schultz's strengths. Last summer, the New York Post reported his meltdown in the [MSNBC] 30 Rock newsroom. Schultz was enraged that the marketing folks ran commercials that he wasn't in. When his huffing and puffing failed to win hearts and minds, he slammed down the telephone and shouted, “I’m going to torch this [bleep]ing place.”
White men with microphones have likewise been on the receiving end of Schultz verbal violence. According to The Post, Schultz œonce told White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, ‘You’re full of [bleep].’ And after Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck revealed a condition that may make him go blind, Schultz said, “It’s a travesty he’s not going to see the country he’s trying to destroy.”
The working people Schultz claims to champion would be fired from their factories, fast food restaurants and offices if they acted nuts and uncorked about "sluts." But Schultz seems to have a license to behave like a bad-tempered seventh grader. Following his Monday dump on Ingraham, MSNBC brass huddled for two days and emerged with this statement:
MSNBC management met with Ed Schultz [Wednesday] afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave for the remarks he made yesterday on his radio program. Ed will address these remarks on his show tonight, and immediately following begin his leave. Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Accepted Schultz’ offer?Â Really?
Call it zero tolerance, Orwell-style.
Schultz won't miss a week's pay, and it sounds like he could use a few days to chill out, but it will be a long time before anyone takes his “civility” lectures seriously.
MSNBC’s slogan is “Lean forward.”Â It did….and spit straight into our eyes.
Florence Snyder is a corporate and First Amendment lawyer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo credit, Schultz pictured with Ingraham: Dan Patterson)