Bozell Column: Ed Schultz's Wisconsin Campaign
Ed Schultz is the kind of shameless liberal hack who can go on air standing in front of screaming labor-union crowds in Madison calling for Gov. Scott Walker’s head on a platter, and then turn around and announce that “Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party.”
Let’s put this canard to rest. In coverage of the leftist effort to drain the taxpayers of Wisconsin for an unnecessary and doomed recall election, Fox looks much more objective than Ed Schultz. There is no question about that.
A new Media Research Center study shows “The Ed Show” guest count tilted against Walker by 237 to 1. Think about this. One person supporting Walker, two-hundred and thirty-seven against. Contrast this with “The O’Reilly Factor’s” guest count on the subject: twelve guests for Walker, eight opposed, seven neutral.
This is really only a fraction of Schultz’s full-throated advocacy of the Wisconsin union agenda. After all, he blasts away on the radio for three hours a day. It’s his right to advocate – but not to participate in character assassination. Both on radio and on TV, Schultz asserts that anyone who votes for Walker “may be voting for a criminal.” Prosecutors are investigating potential campaign improprieties while Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, but let’s be clear: Walker has in no way been implicated in the scandal. Schultz is slandering.
Of course, Schultz is not alone. The national news media trashed Gov. Walker in 2011 for getting a bill passed that forced public-employee unions to make a modest payment toward their own health insurance and pension plans instead of having the overtaxed public foot the entire bill. Union protests against this proposal were compared to the Arab Spring. “Cairo moves to Madison,” cooed Diane Sawyer. The New York Times suggested Wisconsin was “the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights.”
I could state that the unions are behaving like Gestapo thugs – but that would be uncivil wouldn’t it?
But the bill became law, and how has the Badger State fared? The Weekly Standard humbly asked Walker’s challenger Tom Barrett – the same guy Walker defeated in 2010 – for specifics on which school districts were harmed by Walker’s policies. Barrett couldn’t name a single one. He babbled about his discussions with prison guards, and couldn’t provide any specifics at all. And they said Sarah Palin wasn’t ready for the spotlight.
Now that Wisconsin isn’t collapsing, and in fact is seeing a dramatic economic improvement, it’s somehow no longer Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, and the liberal networks have pretty much stayed away. But Schultz keeps pounding away in a panic, lamenting that not only is Walker “the worst governor in the country,” but that those evil Republicans and their capitalist funders like the Koch brothers are “trying to make it so Barack Obama doesn't get re-elected and no Democrat ever will be elected into the White House.” Schultz warned, “There'll never be a Democratic president in our lifetime again. And when I say in our lifetime, I'm talking about a long, long, long, long, long time.”
Scare tactics, anyone? This guy is to talk radio what the Bill Moyers "daisy ad" was to political advertising.
Schultz will go to any minuscule point to beat up on Walker. One of my favorites is discussing Walker’s selections for art in his home. Schultz was all over this scandal-ette: “He reportedly has removed a portrait of low- income children from the governor’s mansion. And he’s replaced it with a picture of a bald eagle.” Mayday! Mayday!
Naturally, Schultz turned to one of his favorite leftist guests, Madison writer John Nichols of The Nation magazine. Nichols claimed the Walkers “made it quite clear to the staff that they didn’t want this picture of these kids from Milwaukee in a prominent place in the mansion.” Why? Nichols claimed “a lot of other folks have asked why doesn’t this governor want to have pictures of low-income kids in the governor’s mansion? Is it because his budget and his policies are doing so much damage to kids like that?”
Last year, when the Democrats failed to retake the state Senate in recall elections, Schultz didn’t wait until the returns were final on Election Night before he hailed several times how Democrats were “brilliant at the basics” of turning out their voters. This time, one hopes Schultz knows that his side is doomed. The predictors at the website Intrade are giving Walker a 95.9 percent chance of victory.
Schultz is already scheduled to join Democratic Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz as a sour-grapes speaker at the Wisconsin Democratic Convention on June 8, just as he spoke to a House Democrat retreat in Maryland in January.
Now we return you to your regular programming, and the charge that Fox is the most partisan news channel.