Ed Schultz might be the only man in America who engenders sympathy for LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling by the mere act of opening his mouth.
On his radio show Wednesday, Schultz revealed himself to be a staunch opponent of thought crime -- even when it occurs "behind closed doors" -- and quickly drew resistance from a caller who described himself as a longtime listener. (Audio clips after the jump)
First, here's what Schultz said that drew the blowback (audio) --
You know, there are stories that grab our attention, that in the long and short of it, really don't personally mean anything to us. But I think that they can be a real lesson to us. Here's a lesson for you, just as this story has been a lesson to us and the lesson is, whether you're behind closed doors or whether you're out in the open, you're going to be accountable in today's society about what you say and how you say it and what you think. You know, society is changing and people are held accountable for what they say and even how they think and that's just the way it goes. And a lot of people are disturbed by that, but I think that a lot of progress can be made in society if we keep going the way we're going.
It didn't take long for Schultz to hear a dissenting opinion, expressed by his first caller of the day (audio) --
CALLER: Hey Ed, I've listened to you for a long time and I have to say, you've shocked the heck out of me and actually you're kinda starting to terrify me, when you said a little bit ago how, you know, the right to privacy, that what you say in public and in private, you know, is no longer safe, no longer, you know, basically throwing a fundamental basis of the Constitution out the window, to the point where you said, you know, even what you think, you know, is fair game, we're talking "1984" and I have to say I'm really shocked. You know, it's one of those double-edged sword things that will come back and, you know, bite the progressives. I don't care how horrible of a person he is, you're basically willing to throw away a fundamental premise of the Constitution for, I don't know, political points and it is just completely shocking to me. I grew up in a time where I thought, you know, the premise was, you know, I may not agree with what you have to say but I'll go to my death defending your right to say it. And you've basically thrown that out. And ...
SCHULTZ: No, no, I think, I respect what you're saying, I respect what you're saying and I don't want you to take it like that. Look, Donald Sterling can saw whatever the hell he wants but he has to realize in this day and time, it's not like it used to be, there's going to be ramifications for what you say. Nobody's taking away the right to say it, you know? (We reserve the right to seize your property instead). And you can, well, this is where society's going and ....
CALLER: Ed, Ed ....
SCHULTZ: Go ahead.
CALLER: ... please don't say that. 'Cause, you know, it looks like, weren't you talking not that long ago about NSA spying? Is that the way it's going?
SCHULTZ: You see, you're taking, no that's not what I'm saying, respectfully, Brian. That's not, you're taking it the wrong way. No one is telling you how to think and no one is restricting you on what you're saying, OK?
CALLER: Well, neither is the NSA.
SCHULTZ: I don't believe that they spied on this NBA owner. He can say, he spoke his views. Now, if you speak your views and if they are that radical, judged in the public arena, there's going to be ramifications for it. That's the point I was trying to make, OK?
CALLER: But it was a private conversation and, as far as I understand, I haven't listened to it yet, but it's been like aired and you're saying that's completely OK. So if you happen in a moment of ....
SCHULTZ: No! Wait a minute, wait a minute! Once it goes public, you can't expect the public to say, well, that was a private conversation, that's OK. It's not private any more! It's been made public.
Fair enough -- but watch how quickly Schultz makes the leap to suggesting that a private conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend was public all along --
CALLER: Yes, but you haven't said anything upholding the primary concern of the Constitution. Basically it's, well this happened and so we can throw away aspects of the Constitution. You know, what happens to the right, you know, against unreasonable search and seizure? Well, it's inconvenient, let's throw it out. Oh, that's the way it is. You know, the NSA spies on everyone, well, it's the way it is ...
SCHULTZ: Well, OK, OK, so it would seem (crosstalk), you're totally taking too far what I said. I'm talking about personal responsibility, i'm talking about ramifications, OK, and society rendering judgment on someone, OK? That's what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about the NSA spying on somebody to see if they're a racist. (Although the idea definitely has potential). That's when you get into the Constitution and that's when you get into the privacy issues. This guy has made his thoughts public in this particular case. I mean, if he's talking to his girlfriend, that's public, OK?
Wrong, Ed -- Sterling's remarks, despicable though they were, were made public for him, not by him. When you talk to your wife, is that conversation automatically public?
Can you imagine Schultz saying anything remotely along these lines had embarrassing remarks been made privately by a liberal luminary -- Sandra Fluke, to cite an example -- and then publicly revealed by an estranged boyfriend?
Turns out that privacy to liberals like Schultz is sacrosanct -- but only when it comes to abortion. Otherwise, they're decidedly flexible.