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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 10:17 AM ET, 06/13/2012

Ed Schultz kneecaps Limbaugh boycott

The Huffington Post posts video of MSNBC talent Ed Schultz criticizing attempts to target the advertisers of Rush Limbaugh after the popular radio host called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and insulted her many, many times on air. What’s clear from the video is that Schultz thinks such campaigns are bad: “If we start attacking advertisers because of what somebody said — it’s the wrong thing to do,” he said.

What’s not clear is a bunch of other stuff. The remarks, which came last week at the Talkers New Media Seminar in New York, are a mishmash of self-importance, self-righteousness and self-something else.

So remarkable is the two-minute monologue that I’ve transcripted it and broken it down:

The Contradiction:

If we start attacking advertisers because of what somebody said — it’s the wrong thing to do. I made a phone call that was not off the record. I called David Brock at Media Matters. I said, ‘David, this is Ed Schultz. I need you to know what’s happening. This is what’s happening. There’s a lot of people getting hurt. This has gone too far. It’s my opinion, you can take it for what it’s worth. Don’t attack advertisers.’

Saying “I need you to know what’s happening” and then saying “you can take it for what it’s worth” don’t fit in the same thought. The former comment suggests authority, absolute command of the situation; the latter comment suggests the opposite.

The Non-Sequitur:

It’s too hard a lift — in the spoken word. Believe me, I know what a hard lift is. Two stations, [inaudible] on the Internet, nine years later, here comes my arrogance: I don’t fly commercial anymore. I got two guys who fly for me at 45,000 feet. I’m proud of that. There was a lot people who said he couldn’t do it.

How did air travel and cruising altitude sneak into this discussion of advertisers and the First Amendment?

Man, I’m an Excellent Apologizer :

But we can do it. That doesn’t mean from year one to year nine that you’re not going to make mistakes. You’re going to make mistakes. But if you drive hard and you believe in who you are and what you do and you live by that freedom of speech and you have character and you’re willing to stand up in front of a million people and say, ‘I did a terrible thing on the radio yesterday and I need to apologize.’ That moment will stick with me for the rest of my life, for the rest of my career.

Credit to Schultz here — his apology to Laura Ingraham after calling her nasty names was epic and airtight.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Second Non Sequitur:

And, my wife and I are — I guess you could say we’re Tom Hanks, we’re an American family. This is our second marriage. I’ve been married for 15 years now. We’ve got six kids and nine grandkids. When they come to the lake, they eat everything. I always seem to be going to the grocery store when [inaudible].

So you’re moving seamlessly from Ingraham insults to barbecues at the lake? Speechwriters can be hired.

The Instructions:

Here’s my goal. When those kids put me in the ground someday, I just want them to stand around that dirt pile and say, ‘You know, the old man stood up and he said something when something had to be said.’ It’s the legacy that we leave.

If those kids weren’t already planning on saying something like that, you can bet they are now.

The Flip-Flop?

They can play that tape till the cows come home. They can play that tape forever and ever. I know who I am. People who’ve watched me and listened to me, I think they know who I am. And with freedom of speech comes the price of responsibility. Somebody’s always watching.

Price of responsibility, huh? Does that mean he’s cool with the anti-advertiser campaign after all?

By  |  10:17 AM ET, 06/13/2012

Tags:  ed schultz, msnbc, huffington post, advertisers, rush limbaugh, media matters

 
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