It was nearly three years ago that libtalker Ed Schultz demeaned conservative radio host Laura Ingraham as a "talk slut" and "right wing slut" after she had the gall to criticize President Obama during his May 2011 trip to Ireland. Even though Schultz's outburst came on his radio show, he was suspended from his MSNBC program for a week, allegedly at his behest, though the claim is dubious as I wrote at the time.
On her radio show Monday, Ingraham was the first to broadcast an incendiary clip of Schultz arguing with a caller, disparaging him as an "a**hole" and bellowing at him to "get the f*** out of here!" (Audio clips after the jump)
"It was pretty good before that," Ingraham remarked after playing the clip. "Is that the new rule, the new FCC rule is you can use those words? Is that the new world of Obama?" (audio)
The incident occurred on Schultz's radio show April 1 and did not involve, as one might presume, a conservative caller at odds with Schultz's liberal views. In fact, the caller was to the left of Schultz and described Obamacare as "fascism."
What makes the exchange particularly amusing is how it began and ended. The conversation between Schultz and the caller actually lasted about eight minutes, split in halves by a commercial break. Schultz held the caller through the break, then at the start of the next segment, said this -- "He (the caller) thinks I'm going to get pissed at him. I'm not, I just disagree with you." (audio)
So much for that -- within minutes, the vow was abandoned. The exchange between Schultz and the caller quickly grew heated, the caller describing Obama as a corporate lackey beholden to the insurance industry --
SCHULTZ: You had to do a deal with the insurance industry or you would have never gotten ...
CALLER (becoming agitated): You had to move the political spectrum farther to the right! You had to play with the fascists to do anything. Guess what? You shouldn't have done anything in that case. You should have held your ground. I'm stick of trying to make up for all the space we've given up to the center of the political spectrum because Democrats keep pushing Republican values!
SCHULTZ (wearily): OK ...
CALLER: ... and of course those in the Republican platform!
SCHULTZ: All right ...
CALLER: ... and privatization is one of the biggest ones out there, man!
SCHULTZ: John ...
CALLER: We just enabled the next Republican president to come in and use that tool to privatize Medicare! That is not hard to understand! This is fascism!
SCHULTZ: OK ..
SCHULTZ: Wake up and stop capitulating to the people who are (Schultz laughs), who created the problem and it continues to make them wealthy!
SCHULTZ (talking over caller): I am, I am going to feel very, very bad if you have a stroke on this radio show. Settle down! First of all, you jump three steps ahead (brief disruption here in recording, also heard in Ingraham clip, apparently created during original broadcast), is that what you want to reduce this conversation too? (crosstalk) Well, you're a frickin' a**hole! How about that?! Get out, get the f*** out of here!
A pause of several seconds, Schultz then asking his crew if the vulgarities went out over the airwaves --
How about that? (pause) I mean, give me a bre-, I'm sure they hit the seven-second delay on that one. (another pause, Schultz giving out call number). I just lost it on that guy. I mean, I can take the conversation, I'm not going to take the personal insults. (pause) You know? And so I hope that that didn't go out. Did we catch that one? (Schultz asking this of his radio crew, who include his wife Wendy). I need some direction (testily), did we catch that one? Yes or no? All right (Schultz sounding deflated; apparently the answer was no, followed by false bravado laugh from Schultz, and him going to the next caller).
No, they clearly didn't catch that -- but oddly enough, it appears Schultz's crew may have hit the seven-second delay after the caller swore. There is a discernible catch in the audio, in the clips aired by Ingraham and as recorded by Media Research Center, right after Schultz says "first of all, you jump three steps ahead." Just as Schultz says "ahead," the word morphs into one that sounds a lot like "a**hole," followed by Schultz saying to the caller, "is that what you want to reduce this conversation too?," which Schultz could be expected to say had the caller sworn.
What may have occurred here is that a vulgarity from a caller was kept from airing on Schultz's radio show, but not two more right after it from Schultz himself.
Characteristically of Ingraham, she asked a relevant question after hearing Schultz's meltdown -- "Is that the new rule, the new FCC rule is you can use those words?"
Clearly not, at least according to the Federal Communications Commission website, which states --
It is a violation of federal law to air obscene programming at any time. It is also a violation of federal law to broadcast indecent or profane programming during certain hours. (See definitions). Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the responsibility for administratively enforcing the law that governs these types of broadcasts. The FCC has authority to issue civil monetary penalties, revoke a license or deny a renewal application. In addition, violators of the law, if convicted in a federal district court, are subject to criminal fines and/or imprisonment for not more than two years.
The FCC vigorously enforces this law where we find violations. (emphasis added). The Commission has also toughened its enforcement penalties by proposing monetary penalties based on each indecent utterance in a broadcast, rather than proposing a single monetary penalty for the entire broadcast.
We'll see how "vigorously" Obama's FCC enforces the law when it is broken by one of his biggest apologists in media.