Ed Schultz Claims He Suspended Himself From MSNBC After Maligning Laura Ingraham

Whatever delusions it takes to get you through your day, Ed.

Nearly six months after he smeared Laura Ingraham as a "talk slut" and "right-wing slut," liberal loose-cannon Ed Schultz still harbors a grudge about it. (audio clips after page break)

Schultz's demeaning remarks resulted in a week-long suspension from "The Ed Show," his weeknight cable show on MSNBC -- and Schultz wants you to believe the suspension was self-imposed.

He claimed this on his radio show Tuesday while comparing the uproar that followed his comments about Ingraham to conservatives defending Herman Cain from allegations of sexual harassment (audio) --

I'm sure many of you know about the 15- or 17-second piece of audio that I delivered on this program earlier this year about Laura Ingraham, which I wish I hadn't said it and I shouldn't have said it, I apologized for it, I took myself off the air on MSNBC, there was restitution. All of the people that were outraged about what I said about Laura Ingraham are now defending Herman Cain. Have you noticed that everybody's a liar? It's either a racial overtone or a racial slur or our blacks are better than their blacks. I mean, it is amazing to me.

Laura Ingraham, so offended by a talker, but all of a sudden, oh no!, now this woman (Cain accuser Sharon Bialek) is baseless! Now the accusations are absolutely baseless! You know, I knew this moment would show up. I knew that their outrage back when was phony as can be. And I don't change my position whatsoever. And if you'll notice, I have been a very good boy since that day. I have minded my p's and q's and restrained myself on numerous occasions because we certainly don't want to offend the right wing or anyone out there. We have to be very careful about what we say.

For those who missed it at the time, here is what Schultz said about Ingraham on his May 25 radio show, initially referring to the deadly tornadoes that struck Missouri (audio) --

I mean, we're in this severe weather pattern right now -- rain, severe thunderstorms, winds getting whipped up to tornadoes of horrific proportions, hot weather, all of that stuff! And what are the Republicans thinking about? They're not thinking about their next-door neighbor. They're just thinking about how much this is going to cost. President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, but you know what they're talking about?! Like this right-wing slut, what's her name, Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she's a talk slut. You see, she was back in the day praising President Reagan when he was drinking a beer overseas, but now that Obama's doing it, they're working him over.

The reaction to Schultz's vitriol was immediate -- from MSNBC, even though Schultz made the comments on his radio show. Less than 24 hours later, MSNBC posted a story headlined "Msnbc Suspends Schultz over Ingraham remark."

The story -- from the Hollywood Reporter, not MSNBC -- read in part as follows --

In a statement released Wednesday, the cable channel said: "Msnbc management met with Ed Schultz this afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave for the remarks he made yesterday on his radio program. Ed will address these remarks on his show tonight, and immediately following begin his leave. Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

This was the template used across the media -- stories that included the face-saving claim that a suddenly ennobled Schultz offered to take unpaid leave from MSNBC, while headlines for the stories conveyed the more likely truth -- "MSNBC Suspends Ed Schultz."

It wasn't only MSNBC that did this -- so did Politico, Mediaite, and  Talking Points Memo. Others, such as the Washington Post and Newser, didn't bother mentioning the corporate boilerplate from MSNBC about Schultz's purported offer.

Why am I skeptical about this months later? I was at the time as well, but remarks made by Schultz since have bolstered my suspicions.

For example, shortly after Schultz returned to MSNBC in June he made another dubious claim. Once again, Schultz said he did something voluntarily when it came to "The Ed Show" -- temporarily shelving its all-too-aptly-named "Psycho Talk" segment.  Here's Schultz from his radio show on June 17 (audio) --

Now, we had a congresssional member shot in the head and six people were killed earlier this year in Tucson. And we had a big discussion in this country about rhetoric, about hate talk inciting violence. In fact, I gave "Psycho Talk" a rest. You know, I mean, you know, we all have to understand the climate, the moment, and understand the severity of what's out there.

Back on Jan. 27, Schultz gave his radio listeners a different version of events when it came to MSNBC sidelining "Psycho Talk" (audio) --

Dan from Milton, Wisc., wants to know if I abandoned "Psycho Talk" now that your show has been moved to 10 o'clock (following Keith Olbermann's abrupt departure from MSNBC), I miss it. Dan, so do I. But you see, I come to work every day and if you have the Ed cam on, you'll see that I come to work every day because I have it on right now, I have a tag around my neck. This tag, this card, allow me to get into the building and work. I work for somebody, I don't call all the shots. But the, the decision has been made that "Psycho Talk" was better at six o'clock and not at 10 o'clock. Now look, there's probably people in positions that are a helluva lot smarter than I am and have decided that that's what the way it's going to be. So, that's what's happening.

Clearly someone at MSNBC decided it was time for a breather from "Psycho Talk" -- and that someone wasn't Schultz.

Which leads me to Schultz's remarks on his radio show Tuesday comparing the controversy over allegations against Cain to the reaction from his slander of Ingraham --

All of the people that were outraged about what I said about Laura Ingraham are now defending Herman Cain. Have you noticed that everybody's a liar? ... Laura Ingraham, so offended by a talker, but all of a sudden, oh no!, this woman is baseless! Now the accusations are absolutely baseless! You know, I knew this moment would show up. I knew that their outrage back when was as phony as can be.

Ingraham wasn't outraged by what Schultz said -- it hardly warranted a shrug from her, as shown by what she posted on Facebook, followed by her graciously accepting Schultz's on-air apology. And Schultz's comparison here is absurd -- his remarks about Ingraham were publicly made, beyond dispute and leading to prompt action by MSNBC. Cain vehemently denies the allegations against him.

Moreover, if Ingraham and others who found offense at what Schultz said are  "as phony as can be," why did Schultz apologize and allegedly take himself off the air for a week? Is Schultz referring to conservatives -- or to MSNBC, which was more outraged than anyone, to his still-simmering chagrin.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts