MSNBC’s Schultz Uses Ohio Water Crisis To Attack GOP: ‘Anti-Regulation, Science-Denying Republicans’

For the past several days, the city of Toledo, Ohio has been without drinking water following an outbreak of toxic algae blooms appearing throughout Lake Erie. 

Despite the seriousness of the issue, on Tuesday, August 5, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz used the opportunity to attack the GOP as being anti-science. The Ed Show host proclaimed “this is the problem politician’s face. Uneducated anti-regulation science-denying Republicans who could care less about the environment.” [See video below.]  

Schultz began his Tuesday show by immediately politicizing the water crisis in Toledo. He wondered “if the Republicans have to drink this stuff, maybe they will have a change of attitude when it comes to climate change in America.” The MSNBC host then spent the next three minutes explaining why climate change was to blame for the algae outbreak before returning to his anti-GOP talking points:

After the algae blooms in the ‘60s and ‘70s phosphorus was banned in detergents, It curbed the blooms for a while, but they have resurfaced. This type of regulation is needed I think on a much larger scale. But apparently Republicans they love phosphorus...This is the problem politician’s face. Uneducated anti-regulation science-denying Republicans who could care less about the environment. 

The MSNBCer continued to hype how climate change was supposedly the root cause of the water shortage and then pleaded for America to listen to China on how to protect our environment: 

Even China on Monday, China announced Beijing plans to ban all coal use by the year 2020. This is a major step to fight pollution and climate change. America needs to take similar action to protect our water, our environment and of course action can be taken right now to stop algae blooms, regulate phosphorous output, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and rebuild our infrastructure.

As the segment concluded, Schultz made one last attack on the GOP, this time directed at Governor John Kasich (R-OH) over his support for the water ban in Toledo being lifted: 

This is a serious situation and the bottom line is the experts are saying that it is getting worse. There wasn't a bottle of water available in the city of Toledo, Ohio over the weekend. Is that what we have to look forward to in this country because we have science denying Republicans who are making policy?

See relevant transcript below. 


MSNBC

The Ed Show 

August 5, 2014

ED SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight folks. Thanks for watching. We start tonight with water in America. You know, when this story first unfolded and I saw it, I thought, gosh, I wonder if the Republicans have to drink this stuff, maybe they will have a change of attitude when it comes to climate change in America. This story that has unfolded in Toledo, Ohio and a ban on simple drinking water has caught the attention of a lot of people. Climate change, crumbling infrastructure, and lax environmental regulations are putting America's drinking water at risk, not only in Ohio. If changes aren't made, toxic algae blooms could threaten drinking water all across this country. I hope that has your attention now.

This week we've seen a massive algae bloom in Lake Erie. Tap water was banned for over 400,000 people in Toledo, Ohio for two days before being lifted. A lot of people are wondering why was it lifted? Is the water okay now? The consequences of drinking the contaminated water could be dire. The bacteria that is behind the blooms can cause skin rashes, burns, vomiting, and liver damage. To call this a natural disaster I believe would be a flat out lie. We know exactly what causes these blooms. A number of man made factors contribute to the outbreak. The main culprit is phosphorus runoff from farms using fertilizers.

Meanwhile, the effects of climate change certainly play a role. Rising temperatures and increased moisture during the summer provide the perfect breeding ground for these bacteria. Now aging infrastructure can also be blamed. Sludge from sewage processing plants provides food for the bacteria, leaky septic tanks and outdated storm water drains that flow directly to Lake Erie are also to blame. I mean, it's the perfect storm of events that scientists have known about for and known about for a long time. Let go back to 2011. Lake Erie saw its largest algae bloom in history. Over 1900 square miles of the lake were contaminated with the toxic algae. Scientists in Ohio say this problem is getting worse. 

JEFF REUTTER: The problem started coming back about 2000, 2002. It has accelerated. And the bloom we saw in 2011 was two and a half times worse than any of the blooms that we saw back in the 1960s and the ‘70s. 

SCHULTZ: After the algae blooms in the ‘60s and ‘70s phosphorus was banned in detergents, It curbed the blooms for a while, but they have resurfaced. This type of regulation is needed I think on a much larger scale. But apparently Republicans they love phosphorus. After Washington State banned the use of phosphates in detergents, Erick Erickson of Red State was outraged. He wrote on his blog “Washington State has turned its residents into a group of drug runners- crossing state lines to buy dish washer detergent with phosphate. At what point do we tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do we tell them on get off the couch, march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?”

Well, if that's the approach the Republicans are going to have, we’re not going to make any change. Somebody I think, named Erickson, really likes phosphates in their detergents. This is the problem politicians face. Uneducated anti-regulation science-denying Republicans who could care less about the environment. America needs a wake up call. The EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, in this country has said that toxic algae blooms are a major environmental problem in all 50 states. This week beaches on Lake Champlain in Vermont could be closed because of algae blooms. Vermont officials say the warm weather is to blame. 

UNKNOWN PERSON: Blooms are becoming more prevalent as our summers get warmer. 

UNKNOWN PERSON 2: ‘Tis the season, but it’s not the one you look forward to. Blue-green algae is in bloom in certain areas of Lake Champlain. 

MIKE WINSLOW: The places where we see them regularly, the Missisquoi Bay, the Saint Albans Bay, then you are likely to have them for a longer period of time but it doesn’t mean that they’re everywhere. 

SCHULTZ: The algae blooms in Lake Champlain will not impact drinking water in the area according to officials. Every year a similar problem happens in the Gulf of Mexico. Nitrogen runoffs from farms in the Mississippi River Valley create a dead zone this time of year in the Gulf. This year's dead zone is over 5,000 square miles, roughly the size of Connecticut. It’s hard for sea life to survive because of low oxygen levels. Meanwhile climate change is having a devastating impact on the nation wide. No question about it. California is experiencing its most severe drought ever recorded. 58 percent of the state is considered to be in exceptional drought. The dark red areas shown here are parts of the state suffering the highest category of drought.

On Saturday Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency because dozens of wildfires are threatening the state. Now no one can deny severe weather has gotten worse because of climate change. Action must be taken or we’re going to be left behind as a country. Other countries are on this, we are not. Even China on Monday, China announced Beijing plans to ban all coal use by the year 2020. This is a major step to fight pollution and climate change.

America needs to take similar action to protect our water, our environment and of course action can be taken right now to stop algae blooms, regulate phosphorous output, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and rebuild our infrastructure. But you know what that’s going to take? It’s going to take a commitment. And I think that it's important for us to listen to every single word politicians say. This sound bite caught my attention yesterday. In Ohio, Governor John Kasich said if its good enough for his family then he’s going to have to open it up and that’s the barometer he’s using. Listen to this.  

JOHN KASICH: I want to make sure that I would be comfortable with my family, my daughters, my wife drinking the water. And when I'm comfortable with that, then I think we’re in a position where we can say to the people here in Toledo that we feel good about it. And we can move forward. 

SCHULTZ: Well, governor, I'm glad you feel good about it. Are you willing to call a press conference and drink some of that green stuff in front of everybody to show us your commitment or are you just going to tell us about it? This is a serious situation and the bottom line is the experts are saying that it is getting worse. There wasn't a bottle of water available in the city of Toledo, Ohio over the weekend. Is that what we have to look forward to in this country because we have science denying Republicans who are making policy? 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.