Potential MSNBC Hire Has Explosive Temper
Will Schultz's Ego, Temper Sink Cable Talk Prospects?
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As NBC's corporate suits ponder whether to add liberal talk show host Ed Schultz to their weeknight lineup, how much do they really know about his track record?
In anticipation of his hiring, the usual mainstream media subjects are busy cooking up Maddow-style fawning press coverage. Will this come back to haunt them, however?
Already, industry blog TVNewser is calling him "MSNBC's next potential star".
Forget digging into his personal background, however, it isn't necessary to go any further than what has gone out over the airwaves, in addition to some other questionable public antics. From his hot temper to rapidly-expanding ego and sometimes muddled stances on key issues, network execs may be getting more than they've bargained for in Schultz.
From October 21 2008, for example, here's Ed Schultz mistreating a fellow liberal who dared to politely challenge Big Eddie's position. Note how the caller remains calm and reasonable while an unhinged Schultz channels the ghost of Sam Kinison in Back To School.
This meltdown occurred just a few days after Schultz walked off the set in the middle of a Fox News Channel interview:
CALLER RODNEY (Hour Three, 44:40): I'm going to have to call you out on what your response was to Congressman (Robin) Hayes (R-NC), who I do not know. I live in western North Carolina close to Asheville, I hope to see you next Wednesday night. But we cannot accomplish getting Barack Obama elected in this coming election by stooping to the level of some of the other talk show hosts. And when you came back with your comment concerning Representative Hayes a while ago and making fun of his accent, talking about that you think they want to start a civil war, I think you're taking a chance of alienating a lot of folks that are still on the fence down here in North Carolina and Obama needs North Carolina. We can't stoop to their level.
ED SCHULTZ (45:28) (with exaggerated Southern accent): Well, first of all, Rodney, you have your opinion and I have mine. The conservative movement in this country, in my opinion, completely out of material and now in the arena of being vile. For a United States congressman to claim that there actually is a political movement in this country known as liberals that *hate* real Americans, now Rodney, if you want to let that go, fine.
CALLER (crosstalk): No, I don't want to let it go, Ed, I did not say that at all. I am a liberal, I am a supporter, but there are a lot of people that are going to respond to your ...
SCHULTZ (interrupting): Well let 'em freakin' respond to it! Rodney, Rodney, let them respond to it! Let 'em respond to it! Come to the freakin' town hall meeting and respond to it! I'm not apologizing!
CALLER: I'm not, well, I guess ..
SCHULTZ: God! I mean, it amazes me, it absolutely amazes me how many experts there are out there in talk radio! You can't say this because this might happen. You can't say that because that might happen. You can't do any of that because that might happen. You know what something, Rodney? You don't know your ass from third base!
CALLER: Wait a minute now, Ed ...
SCHULTZ: No, no, no, wait a minute, you don't! How do you, what do you know what to talk about?!
CALLER: What do I know what to talk about ...?
SCHULTZ: What do you, how do you know what to talk about?! How do you know what strikes the passion of the people? Have you traveled the country? Have you talked to people in market after market? Have you looked in their eyes and seen the frustration with the conservative movement in this country?
CALLER: OK, but when you start doing things that take away from ....
SCHULTZ: That's your freakin' opinion!
CALLER: Well, and evidently you have a very strong one, but I'm concerned about your ...
SCHULTZ: Well, you shouldn't be concerned about it, Rodney! Why don't you just get off your ass and start working!
CALLER: (crosstalk) ... in North Carolina for the first time in a presidential race, it could be a very important part of this campaign, and the success of this campaign. That's my concern. It's not defending Robin Hayes. It's despicable what he said, I'm embarrassed by it.
SCHULTZ: Well, why didn't you start out with that? But instead it's an attack on me (cross talk) I mean, you started this, Rodney, I can't deal with you, you don't want a conversation. You don't want a conversation.
In addition to mild criticism of his on-air style, another way to set off our hotheaded friend is to mention the success of Rush Limbaugh's program as opposed to the continuing struggles of Schultz and other libtalkers to attract ratings and revenue. From February, here's one example that includes audio.
Far worse, in 2007, Schultz actually got into a physical conflict in a Minnesota bar when a patron mistakenly believed Big Eddie was still a conservative Republican. Schultz's sudden conversion, which coincided with the advent of syndicated liberal talk radio, has long been the source of suspicion on both the left and right. It happened so fast that many listeners were caught by surprise.
Ed has attempted to bolster his left-wing credentials through extreme rhetoric, such as calling Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives "nazis".
During another 2007 incident, Schultz made racially insensitive remarks regarding Barry Bonds and other ballplayers, including Babe Ruth. Only liberal talk radio's obscurity saved him from a Don Imus-like "nappy-headed hos" fate.
In April of last year, Schultz embarrassed Barack Obama on the campaign trail by calling John McCain a "warmonger". To prevent damage to his campaign, Obama quickly repudiated Schultz's remarks.
Ultimately, however, Schultz's anti-Hillary screeds were noted by the Obama campaign, which rewarded the talker with a front-row seat at one of Barack's press conferences. Rather than boosting Big Eddie's public standing, however, it led to public criticism and a defensive tone from the man himself. Worse, it seemed to boost his already pumped-up ego to unbearable levels.
While NBC's executives are obviously free to hire whomever they choose, we thought they might like to first consider the baggage that comes with a potential Ed Schultz television show. Is he worth it?
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