It's not often Ed Schultz earns my respect, but he did with his apology to Laura Ingraham on his MSNBC show Wednesday night, right before starting a week-long suspension.
Based on what Schultz said earlier that day on his radio show about maligning Ingraham on the program only 24 hours earlier as a "right-wing slut" and "talk slut," Schultz's mea culpa Wednesday evening was fully unexpected.
That afternoon on the radio, Schultz was defiant and defensive and claimed Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have said things just as bad and not paid a price (audio here, video clip after page break) --
I'm here (singing along to background music of David Bowie's "Fame"). ... Well, come on back in here! (in loud voice, apparently to his radio crew). OK, let me give you a classic of how this all works. This is how it works. Now in recent days, we have had Rush Limbaugh talk about, you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger and drowning the maid in relationship to the Kennedys. They get away with that, OK? Uh, Sean Hannity can refer to John Kerry's wife as a scumbag during the campaign. Fair enough? I think it is.So, uh, and I don't know Laura Ingraham, I don't hang out with the right-wing talkers, I don't even go to their conventions, I believe I told you that yesterday. I don't like being around them. I think they're trying to destroy the country. Look at what they are doing to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Look what they've called the president. Look how they've given us record number of filibusters and supported it on talk radio, I don't like any of them. I admit it! I'm guilty! I don't like 'em! But I don't think she's a slut.
So now the right wing is trying to gin up this story that I have called Laura Ingraham a slut. I referred to her as a talk slut. Which, by the way, I got some email, people agreed with me on it. It's a war out there! It's a cultural war is what we have in America. Uh, if I offended some women out there, I apologize. Now what Laura Ingraham was talking about was going after President Obama for having a beer, and she's not the only one, this other dude on Fox was talking about it too, going after President Obama for having a beer overseas when there's a tornado going on in the United States.
Now I believe it's almost becoming a tradition that when you go to Ireland, I believe it was Ronald Reagan that did the same thing. So in the heat of the moment and the passion of it all, I guess I used a term that has got the Michelle Malkins of the world upset. And we all know that she is an honest broker when it comes to fair vernacular in the arena of debate and politics. OK? But I just want to make sure that if there are any ladies out there who were offended that I used that term, I do apologize, I didn't mean to offend you. I did refer to Laura Ingraham as a talk slut.
Now, does she walk the streets? No, I know she doesn't. Is she a slut in the terms of whoring around? No, but I used it as a term that I think it's low rent for her to go down that road and describe our president when it's been paralleled in the past, the behavior of a president overseas, does just that. I thought it was low rent. My terminology was wrong, I should not have done it, and I certainly do not think that she is of that level of character, OK? I hope (makes kissing or kiss-off sound, depending on your perspective) everybody on the right wing is happy now!
But seriously, lefties, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's like there's a different standard. Now, are you going to catch Rush Limbaugh apologizing for what he said to the Kennedy, about the Kennedy family about how Schwarzenegger couldn't be related to the Kennedys because if he was he would have taken the maid and drowned her? Now that kind of stuff is fair game, right, for them. This is why the Michelle Malkins of the world have no credibility whatsoever. But they will try to bring whatever pressure they possibly can on lefty talkers! We're not allowed the license of passion of the moment. We're not allowed the license of saying something that might be somewhat off-color but not intended to be offensive to the group but maybe depicting of one.
There you have it -- rambling, thin-skinned, and at times incoherent.
What a contrast with what Schultz said several hours later on his MSNBC show, which can be heard in the embedded video. No equivocation this time -- and Schultz expressing regret for people he may have hurt, namely his family and MSNBC colleagues. Schultz apologized directly to Ingraham and took full responsibility for his remarks. He was a man who appeared profoundly chastened.
The chronology here is worth noting. Schultz made no mention of the uproar during the first hour of his radio show Wednesday. At the start of the second hour, he was late to the microphone, not taking to the airwaves until the second song of his musical intro was playing, and this rarely happens. Was Schultz contacted by MSNBC between the first and second hours of his radio show and compelled to address the issue? Sure looks like it. But what he said clearly wasn't enough.