Perhaps this will make things a bit clearer for Ed Schultz.
On his radio show Wednesday, Schultz lashed out at Fox commentator Eric Bolling for saying on "The Five" earlier this week that he had bumped into Schultz at a Manhattan steakhouse, bought him a drink and a chintzy Schultz did not reciprocate (audio) --
SCHULTZ: I want to say, can we play cut 13 to start this thing out? Let's just play cut 13. This is off Fox News yesterday, here it is.
BOLLING: I went over to Del Frisco's over there and I met Ed Schultz by accident, bumped into him, and I bought him a scotch. You know, you'd think, being a successful TV guy, you'd think he'd buy a drink back. Greg (Gutfeld), never once offered to buy a drink back.
SCHULTZ (emphatic): That -- never -- happened. I don't know Eric Bolling. I have never bumped into him before, to my knowledge. No one has ever bought me scotch and anybody that knows me knows I don't drink that garbage. Look, Eric, if you ever do run into me and if you do get my attention, uh, because I don't drink with conservatives, nor would I buy a conservative a drink! I don't, I have no reason to, my God, you people have had all the tax breaks, now you want me to buy you booze?! It ain't gonna happen!
A few minutes later, after talking about exchanging pleasantries at the White House Christmas party with Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly, Schultz maligned Bolling as a liar --
Now this is not very pleasant, Eric Bolling, for you to tell an absolute lie on the air. I, I, I don't remember ever meeting you. I don't remember anyone ever ordering me a scotch at Del Frisco's. And I want to hear this audio again (whereupon Schultz replayed Bollings comments)
Later that night on "The Ed Show," Schultz revisited Bolling's criticism of him. By then, Schultz had toned down his response considerably, as described by Brian Maloney at the Radio Equalizer. On his radio show, Schultz was "adamant the encounter never took place," Maloney writes, "but then seemed to leave plenty of wiggle room on MSNBC. Schultz had this to say on "The Ed Show" --
Sorry, dude, I didn't realize you were looking for a handout. But for the record, now for the record, first of all, I don't drink with Republicans. But I do not remember meeting Eric Bolling ever! Yes, I do go to Del Frisco's, it's a nice restaurant, I love going over there. And I do enjoy Crown Royal and a diet Coke. And, the people who know me, c'mon, they know that I'm pretty good at picking up the tab. Heck, it's the holiday season, so let's not call it "Psycho Talk" tonight (referring to that specific "Ed Show" segment). But, just do me a favor, Eric. If you do see me out any time, just identify yourself and if it really bothers you, I'll give you a handout and I'll buy you a cool one.
Operative phrase from Schultz -- "I don't remember." Unfortunately for Schultz, Bolling does.
Contacted today by NewsBusters, Bolling said the encounter at Del Frisco's took place last summer, early in the evening, and that after he saw Schultz and recognized him, he asked the bartender to send Schultz a drink.
"He came over to thank me and we talked for about 15 minutes," Bolling said, about, among other things, Dylan Ratigan, Bolling's former CNBC colleague who now works at MSNBC with Schultz.
"There's no way he cannot remember this," Bolling said. "Unless he was drunk. Maybe he got a few more drinks from other conservatives at the bar."
For the record, Bolling said he did not order scotch for Schultz, but asked the bartender to send over what Schultz was drinking. Bolling's reference to scotch on "The Five" was to a generic cocktail, not a specific drink.
Maloney has his own theory about Schultz's memory lapse. "If there had been a fistfight," Maloney writes, alluding to Schultz's involvement in a barroom altercation in 2007, "it might be easier to recall."
Consider me among those relieved that Schultz works in media and not heavy machinery.