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 Media Reality Check

Thursday, March 26, 2009 | Contact: Colleen O’Boyle (703) 683-5004

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Reports: MSNBC Poised to Add Mean-Spirited Radio Lib, Further Embarrassing Parent Network NBC

Can MSNBC Get More Liberal? Yes, They Can!

 If you thought MSNBC could not possibly tilt any further to the left, you may — sadly — be wrong. According to the New York Observer, the cable network may be about to give liberal radio host Ed Schultz his own program. Schultz has already filled in three times this month as anchor of the 6pm ET 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the one-time venue of Meet the Press moderator David Gregory.

“Schultz, with his rustic delivery, blue-collar bona fides and copious hunting references, would presumably add some heartland credibility to MSNBC's wonky cosmopolitan lineup without disrupting the lefty story line,” The Observer’s Felix Gillette noted on Tuesday.

Schultz has been a favorite with the NBC/MSNBC crowd since his national radio show debuted in January 2004. NBC’s Today show quickly brought him on as a pundit during the Democratic primaries, and treated him to a gooey profile in March of that year. Katie Couric touted Schultz as a liberal version of radio mega-star Rush Limbaugh (see box), though at the time Schultz’s affiliates consisted only of stations in North Dakota, Montana, and Needles, California.

In 2008, NBC and MSNBC both pounded conservative radio host Bill Cunningham after he referred to “Barack Hussein Obama” prior to a McCain campaign event. A few weeks later, however, after the liberal Schultz blasted McCain as a “warmonger” at an Obama event (for which the Obama campaign rebuked Schultz), his friends at NBC and MSNBC helped shield him. MSNBC’s Countdown and Hardball — which feverishly went after Cunningham — were silent on Schultz, while David Gregory’s 6pm Race for the White House offered Schultz a friendly forum to explain himself.

Appearing on the April 7, 2008 show, Schultz stuck by his venomous attack: “He is a warmonger. His policies and his positions on Iraq certainly parallel that of a warmonger. And he fits the description.”

On his radio show, Schultz has polluted the airwaves with rhetoric far nastier than what liberals claim about talk radio conservatives. Last Friday, for example, Schultz called GOP Senator Jon Kyl a “spineless scumbag” for daring to criticize President Obama’s joke about bowling “like Special Olympics or something.” Other recent examples:

■ On March 2, Schultz compared Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler: “If you watch Limbaugh with the sound down...he looks like Adolf Hitler!...The parallel is so striking.”

■ On November 25, Schultz rued how after years of bashing George W. Bush, the outgoing President never extended his hospitality to left-wing talkers: “We lefties with microphones, we were never invited to the White House. Never got a chance to even urinate on the yard.

■ On November 17, Schultz blasted Republican Senator Richard Shelby as a “terrorist” for opposing a taxpayer bailout of the auto companies: “It is his mission to kill the Big Three.... Senator Shelby from Alabama is a terrorist on the American worker. He is a terrorist on wage workers.” Two weeks later, on December 3, Schultz attacked network news for not “cheerleading” a socialist bailout: “They should be cheerleading. They should. Forget all this journalist crap! I’m serious.”

Last August, retired NBC anchor Tom Brokaw refused to defend the one-sided left-wing rants that have replaced professional journalism on MSNBC, telling a forum on campaign reporting: “I think Keith has gone too far. I think Chris has gone too far.” If MSNBC adds Schultz to the line-up, Brokaw’s embarrassment will only grow.

— Rich Noyes, MRC Research Director


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