Deep down, Ed Schultz is shallow, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker.
Case in point: Schultz's trite, cliched comparison of conservative talker Rush Limbaugh's remarks before a boisterous CPAC audience with Hitler addressing a Nazi rally.
Schultz, the top-rated liberal radio host in the nation, watched Limbaugh's speech on TV last weekend -- with the sound turned down -- and was convinced he saw "striking" parallels to the German dictator.
Here's what Schultz said on Monday's show, preceding his criticism of Limbaugh with praise for the late radio giant Paul Harvey (click here for audio) --
MSNBC cable-show host Rachel Maddow shares much in common with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Both are wonkish former Rhodes scholars in their mid-30s, bright and personable. Each could be perceived as a political outsider, Maddow for being openly gay, Jindal by dint of skin hue and ethnicity.
Their politics are poles apart, however, with Maddow an unabashed liberal and Jindal a staunch conservative. And that Maddow views Jindal as a threat became clear this week.
After Jindal delivered the Republican response to President Obama's address before Congress on Tuesday, he became the recipient of withering criticism from both sides of the aisle. Maddow's critique of Jindal, however, was so over the top that it bore little resemblance to what Jindal actually said --
Top-rated radio host Rush Limbaugh has gotten some unexpected help in his campaign against the so-called Fairness Doctrine that would censor conservative talk radio -- liberal radio host Ed Schultz, though Schultz most assuredly did not intend for this to happen.
On his nationally syndicated program Friday, Schultz read excerpts from an op-ed written by Limbaugh and published in that day's Wall Street Journal, a column taking the form of a letter to President Obama.
Here's Schultz, reading from Limbaugh's op-ed --
Mr. President, we both know that this effort at regulating speech is not about diversity but conformity. You've said you're against reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, but you've not made it clear where you stand on possible regulatory efforts to impose so-called local content, diversity-of-ownership, and public interest rules that your FCC could issue ...
Regardless of their actions on the stimulus plan, Republican governors are always wrong, at least according to MSNBC talk-show host Rachel Maddow.
The ardently earnest Maddow demonstrated this on consecutive nights this week, first on Tuesday when Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, was one of her guests.
Maddow described how GOP governors are split on whether to accept money for their states from the stimulus plan. Some, such as Charlie Crist of Florida and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, want the funding while others, including Sarah Palin of Alaska and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, are "vociferously opposed to the stimulus bill," Maddow said.
Former Guantanamo prison guard Brandon Neely's account of his experiences is "remarkable," Rachel Maddow told viewers of her MSNBC cable show Tuesday night before introducing Neely.
"And tonight, for the first time, in any broadcast interview, he is here, exclusively, to describe what he witnessed and what he personally took part in," Maddow said.
But after listening to Neely's claims, and seeing how Maddow conducted the interview, I wondered if others watching felt the same letdown -- this is an example of all the sturm and drang over Gitmo?
Let's start with the first of two incidents of alleged abuse described by Neely, who enlisted in the Army in June 2000 and was assigned guard duty at Guantanamo in January 2002 as detainees first arrived. Neely now heads the Houston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
That House Democrats with barely any business experience deigned to pontificate to Wall Street executives drew criticism from an unlikely quarter -- top-rated liberal radio host Ed Schultz.
Schultz could barely contain his disgust with members of the House Financial Services Committee for their condescending treatment of Wall Street execs whose banks received TARP funds.
Here's what Schultz said on Friday's show, referring to financial sector CEOs testifying before the committee two days earlier and the dearth of business experience among its members (click here for audio) --
Obama's critics who claim the new president is a closet socialist lusting to seize profits have nothing to fear, according to liberal radio host Ed Schultz.
Look at Obama's experience as an author, Schultz suggested on Friday, for evidence that Obama is as much capitalist as the next entrepreneur.
But Schultz quickly leaped from conjecture about Obama's book deal for "The Audacity of Hope" to allowing those uncertainties to morph into hard fact. Not only that, Schultz got the title wrong and appears unaware Obama has written more than one book.
Here's what Schultz initially said (click here for audio of the excerpt) --
Salon.com blogger and author Glenn Greenwald is unlikely to become a fan of former Vice President Dick Cheney, safe to say.
But Greenwald's loathing for Cheney occasionally gets the better of him, as occurred on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" Wednesday night.
Maddow and Greenwald were discussing news of Cheney warning that President Obama risks letting terrorists strike with a biological or nuclear weapon if Obama reverses Bush-era policies for combating al Qaeda.
Greenwald compared protective measures ordered by Bush and Cheney after 9/11 to the worst civil liberties abuses in our nation's past (follow this link for video of the segment) --
Once again, inconvenient weather tosses a monkey wrench at enviro-hysteric claims of looming apocalypse, an alleged threat now entering its third decade.
Most recent example: Rachel Maddow's reporting on her MSNBC show Monday night --
Some big global warming news today. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named a special envoy today for climate change. His name is Todd Stern, he was the United States' chief negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol during the Clinton years. Now he will be America's point person at the next round of climate change talks in Copenhagen this December.
And if that's not big enough news on climate change, how about this -- it snowed in Dubai. Yeah, in the United Arab Emirates and it's not the fake, fluffy stuff they make for an indoor ski resort neither. These were big, chunky snowflakes falling on a mountain in the United Arab Emirates for only the second time in recorded history. The occurrence this weekend was so rare that local residents say they do not have a word for snow in their local dialect.
That falls into the rarely overlapping categories of, Wow! Neat!, and Wow! Worrying!
Say, how 'bout the news of President Obama lifting the ban on embryonic stem cell research imposed by his predecessor?
What, you haven't heard? With good reason. Former president Bush did not impose this, making it all but impossible for Obama to reverse it.
None of which prevented radio host Ed Schultz from repeatedly claiming on Friday that Obama, all of three days after taking office, had lifted a "ban" on embryonic stem cell research.
Lost on Schultz was what Bush actually did -- prohibited federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which did not affect privately funded research -- and what Obama has yet to do -- reverse Bush's ban.
Still, it made for provocative fodder to Schultz, all the better to feed the meme of Obama bringing transformative change that includes paraplegics soon shedding their wheelchairs.
Schultz's interest was piqued by news of the FDA approving an application for Geron Corporation to inject embryonic stem cells into patients with injured spinal cords.
One of the few saving graces from watching "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC? Its unintended amusement value.
Such was the case Friday night when journalist and author Carl Bernstein reined in Maddow during a segment aptly titled, "Talk Me Down."
Before interviewing Bernstein, Maddow enthused about MSNBC colleague Keith Olbermann's "extraordinary" interviews with a former National Security Agency analyst turned whistleblower. Follow this link to see the seven-minute segment in its entirety; Maddow makes this assertion at 2:14 into the clip --
Top-rated "progressive talker" Ed Schultz is concerned about possible improprieties in the Minnesota Senate recount.
At least he was a moment ago.
Almost certainly without intending to, the liberal radio host fueled at least one belly laugh among listeners while he took calls Wednesday.
Schultz talked about incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's legal challenge to the questionable results of a recount that reversed his initial narrow victory and put Democratic challenger Al Franken, formerly of Air America Radio and "Saturday Night Live," barely ahead (click here for audio) --
Among President Barack Obama's abundant initial achievements -- bringing peace to Gaza by the mere specter of his looming presidency, at least according to Rachel Maddow.
Maddow's gooey reverence for Obama was on full display Monday night as her MSNBC show was broadcast live from the Mall in Washington.
Teasing an upcoming segment, Maddow made this confident assertion --
Coming up on part two of our very last Lame Duck Watch, NBC correspondent Richard Engel will join us live with the latest news from Gaza City, for the last legacy of the Bush administration abroad may be Israeli troops pulling out of Gaza literally on the occasion and because (forefinger raised for further emphasis) Barack Obama is being inaugurated tomorrow.
The man hasn't even taken office and we're already witnessing retreat.
Look no further than New York Times columnist Bob Herbert's recent appearance on "The Rachel Maddow Show" for why its namesake should invite guests who don't share her worldview more often than the current once-monthly clip, the better to sharpen the discourse.
Herbert appeared on Maddow's MSNBC program Jan. 13 to describe why he opposes President-elect Barack Obama's plans to double US troop strength in Afghanistan from the current 30,000 soldiers.
What follows is a transcript of the conversation between Maddow and Herbert, with my criticism afterwards. Words that are italicized indicate emphasis by the speaker, words in bold represent my emphasis --
Desperately hoping to capitalize on their sole star's newfound celebrity, Air America Media has renewed Rachel Maddow's contract and given her a coveted -- and rarely seen -- single-hour radio show during morning drive.
"Rachel is a unique talent with an unlimited future," said Air America CEO Bennett Zier in an email press release. "We are delighted that Air America remains her radio home."
Maddow's morning show starts Feb. 2, its time unmentioned in the press release, simultaneous with "The Ron Reagan Program" expanding from one to three hours weekdays from 6-9 p.m., where it will absorb Maddow's current two hours in the Air America lineup.
"We're elated with Maddow's continued commitment to Air America," said Air America senior vice president Bill Hess. "As millions of Americans now know, Rachel has become a breakout star and our affiliates and listeners will continue to benefit from her wit, intelligence and insight."
You know the type -- the runner who tags early on a sacrifice fly. The pitcher who scuffs the ball for better break in his curve. The base-stealer out by a mile who spikes the shortstop.
In the ballgame of political punditry, Rachel Maddow is that kind of player. And apparently it matters little to Maddow that her team, with Obama as its captain, is way ahead in the score.
Most recent example: Maddow twice making a demonstrably false claim about remarks by President Bush in his final press conference on Monday. In previewing a segment during her MSNBC cable show that night, Maddow said this --
Today, still-President Bush insisted the federal response to Hurricane Katrina wasn't slow and that he inherited the recession.
Back in the summer of 2003, members of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater on Cape Cod sponsored a public forum with the memorable title, "Dissent=Democracy: A Teach-In on the 'New McCarthyism' ".
Speaking as panelists were historian Howard Zinn, authors Norman Mailer, Sebastian Junger and Marge Piercy, actor and playwright Eric Bogosian, director Andre Gregory and other left wingers. The event was organized by Jeff Zinn, son of Howard and a director at the Wellfleet theater.
Yet for a public gathering devoted to "dissent" and one equating it with democracy, something was conspicuously absent when it came to the panel -- dissenters.
Here's how it was described in a story that ran in the Cape Cod Times on Aug. 8, 2003 --
The high-wattage panel of writers, artists and performers (Jeff) Zinn pulled together for the forum, the proceeds from which benefit the theater, purposely does not include people from the political right.
"They've got their own forums," Zinn says. "I'm not required to provide balance; I'm not PBS."
During her screed last night about Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., MSNBC's Rachel Maddow made an unintentionally revealing comment --
Accountability -- every one of us who lived through the Bush administration has a measure of it as an American. Those of us who lived through it as Americans who were also members of the United States Senate, we have a big measure of it to contend with.
Yes, mon ami -- "we."
Last I checked, Maddow fulminates at MSNBC and Air America Radio but has not been elected nor appointed to the US Senate. Then again, Maddow is not a duly designated spokeswoman for the incoming Obama administration either, but this doesn't prevent her from acting as such.
OK, so Barack Obama isn't really the political Messiah of critics' caricature, despite the fervor of his supplicants. But according to liberal radio talk show host Ed Schultz, Obama qualifies for the less lofty but still impressive description of Hub of the World.
Schultz offers an unlikely theory for the renewed fighting in Gaza, one more revealing of the person suggesting it than the subject at hand --
Listening to Rachel Maddow's criticism of Israel for the conflict in Gaza, I was reminded of a cartoon I saw years ago when World War II was still vividly within memory for many Americans.
The cartoon showed a German having built what he expected to be a toy, with the empty box and its assembled contents beside him and a friend standing nearby. The man turned to his friend in exasperation and said -- No matter what they send out, it always ends up a machine gun.
Maddow is like the postwar German industry of the cartoonist's premise -- not much versatility in the product line. Regardless of circumstances leading to renewed conflict in the Middle East, her deconstruction of reality places only Israel on the trigger end of a smoking gun, and guilty for whatever actions led to its use.
Here's what Maddow imparted to her Air America Radio listeners on Monday --
For a left winger who loves the word "nuanced," Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and Air America Radio struggles with simple analogies.
The unacknowledged Democratic agitprop mouthpiece seized on news of Toyota projecting its first operating loss since 1938 as evidence that unsustainable labor and legacy costs are not to blame for Detroit's malaise.
Here's what Maddow said on her radio show Dec. 22 --
The only things certain in life are death and taxes, Franklin famously observed.
To which I'd add a third possibility, one qualifying at least for the status of near-certainty -- liberals condemning what they consider revisionist history, followed by them engaging in it.
It's gotten to the point that I can set my watch for examples of this, weeknights on MSNBC during "The Rachel Maddow Show."
On Tuesday's show, Maddow once again criticized what she perceives as President Bush and Vice President Cheney rewriting the rationale for the US-led invasion of Iraq. Helping Maddow along was author Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize winner who has written three books on the Bush administration.
Here's where Suskind makes the most ludicrous claim about Iraq in recent memory --
Democrats in Congress say the darndest things, don't they?
My favorite recent example -- 10-term Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York talking with liberal radio host Ed Schultz on Tuesday about why she voted in favor of bailing out Detroit (click here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: The Big Three, how did you, you voted in favor of that.
SLAUGHTER: I did, because one in 10 jobs in the United States is tied to what happens to them. I've been on their back as long as I can remember. When I was in the state legislature in the '80s, we passed a seat belt law in New York. And they fought us tooth and nail and (said) if they had to put in seat belts in cars they would surely go broke. And I remember that just before I went down to vote an ophthalmologist from my district called and said, please go down and tell them how hard it is to dig glass out of eyes. But they fought every thing in the world that we ever tried to do, always at the same time that the foreign automakers were doing it and cleaning their clock. I've never understood their reluctance really to do things to help themselves. I guess their political situation was just so good in Washington they didn't have to worry about it.
Must have been that full moon. Or "fool full moon" as Rachel Maddow stumbled in referring to it.
If the Newseum is accepting suggestions for exhibits, a possibility comes to mind -- the Pantheon of Unfortunate Punditry. First submission -- Maddow's hilarious revisionism of Herbert Hoover on her MSNBC show Friday. I've watched the segment several times, each time in awe at Maddow's supreme confidence, unrivalled since Ted Baxter in his heyday. I plan to preserve it for posterity, to share with my children as a cautionary tale -- This is what happens when a person makes an utter fool of herself in public.
Maddow told of Vice President Dick Cheney visiting Capitol Hill earlier in the week and warning congressional Republicans that if the GOP blocks the auto bailout, "... We will be known as the party of Herbert Hoover forever," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Maybe there's hope for some of those immersed in left-wing media.
Liberal radio host Ed Schultz has been decidedly skeptical about claims emanating from the Obama inner circle about whether contact was made between Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Obama or his surrogates on filling Obama's Senate vacancy.
Schultz hammered away at this on Wednesday's show, focusing on what could be Obama's Achilles' heel in the affair, senior adviser David Axelrod's statement on Nov. 23 that Obama and Blagojevich had spoken about the vacancy (after the scandal broke, Axelrod claimed he "misspoke").
After playing a clip of Axelrod's statement on Nov. 23, Schultz had this to say (audio) --
Well, OK, how can any fair-minded American say, well, that's OK, we're done with that angle of the story. Wait a minute. This is a clear, admitted discrepancy and it makes people wonder what the hell's going on here.
Yes -- "perhaps." Hard to believe there are people who harbor doubts about this. Not so shocking to learn they dwell on the left side of the aisle.
Former "Wonkette" blogger Ana Marie Cox, a contributor to Time magazine and The Daily Beast, appeared on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show last night to discuss, among other things, a Los Angeles Times story about Bush cabinet members receiving talking points on accomplishments they can cite from the 43rd president's tumultuous tenure.
Two of the achievements cited are that Bush has "kept the American people safe" since 9/11 and the president's work to curb AIDS in Africa. Maddow and Cox take it from here --
Rachel Maddow is on a mission -- to stop what she perceives as egregious revisionism when it comes to the war in Iraq. And if Maddow has to engage in the real thing to indulge her outrage, all while airbrushing away the ominous decade between the Persian Gulf war and 9/11, so be it.
The media's fave lefty mouthpiece of the moment has been in high dudgeon, her indignation initiated by Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard describing the so-called "Bush Legacy Project."
On her MSNBC show Dec. 3, Maddow showed a clip of Bush's interview with Charles Gibson of ABC News where Bush said "the biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq." Many people "put their reputations on the line" that Saddam Hussein's suspected possession of WMD justified an invasion, Bush said, and "it wasn't just people in my administration." This is "not a do-over," Bush added, but "I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess."