How do you know when Ed Schultz is way off the mark? Aside from the high likelihood of this whenever the man opens his mouth, it becomes nearly certain when what he says drips with bellicose certitude.
A classic example came on "The Ed Show" March 7 when Schultz was discussing efforts to lobby Nebraska state lawmakers to support the Keystone XL pipeline. (Video after the jump)
No sooner had he bravely stuck his finger in the wind at MSNBC and discovered it was blowing staunchly anti-Keystone, thereby requiring a craven flip-flop by him, Schultz was hard at work misleading viewers on the extent of support for the project among Nebraskan state lawmakers --
SCHULTZ: The reasons to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, they're very clear. Unfortunately, many Nebraska lawmakers, well, they've been bought out by the oil company. They're just not on the same page. Is that an inflammatory statement? Prove me wrong.
Today, 29 Nebraska state senators sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry -- have you noticed lately we've got a lot of letters floating around ever since we've been covering this? -- urging of course support for the pipeline. These 29 Nebraska state senators are telling Secretary of State John Kerry, hey, let's go, let's do it. It's over half the state senate. Now, the report shows that TransCanada might be buying a little bit of influence right here. According to the website NebraskaWatchdog.org, TransCanada has spent over $700,000 in lobbying over the last couple of years. Seven hundred thousand dollars in a small-media state? Gosh, that buys a lot of time and a lot of influence. There's no doubt TransCanada has a deep wallet and I believe that they're buying influence. That's the sense I got on the ground in Nebraska. When I was in Nebraska, one former state senator told me lobbying over the pipeline was rampant.
SCHULTZ (talking to former Nebraska state senator Abbie Cornett): You were in the legislature, 49 representatives in a ....
CORNETT (helpfully, sparing Schultz potential embarrassment): Unicameral.
SCHULTZ: ... unicameral, was there heavy lobbying on this?
CORNETT: There was heavy lobbying on both sides.
SCHULTZ (back in the studio): Heavy lobbying on both sides, but on that letter that was sent to John Kerry from Nebraska, there's only one Democrat. (raises one finger for emphasis). They were all Republicans. Only one Democrat.
Not so -- according to the very website cited by Schultz.
In a March 8 post titled "Ed Schultz gets it wrong: claims 1 NE Democrat signed pro-Keystone XL letter," Deena Winter of NebraskaWatchdog.org wrote this --
If he'd scrolled over to our home page, he'd have seen that a number of Democrats signed the letter -- nine Democrats, to be exact. Just three Democrats signed a different letter opposing the pipeline.
Perhaps he got confused by Nebraska's unique nonpartisan Legislature, where party affiliation is not magnified or easily found. Candidates run for the office without an R or D by the names.
Perhaps Schultz got confused, Winter diplomatically suggests. Or maybe he's just not a stickler for accuracy, especially when the error will impugn Republicans and not Democrats.
"Prove me wrong," Schultz demands. You've been proven wrong, Ed, and by the same website you cited to bolster your argument. Will you man up and admit your error?
Schultz wonders if TransCanada is "buying a little bit of influence" through its lobbying of Nebraska lawmakers. Just as it is entirely reasonable to wonder if unions aren't buying influence at MSNBC through Schultz.