Suspended: Is the Era of David Shuster Lashing Out at 'Nutty,' Far Right' Conservatives Over?
MSNBC on Tuesday announced that anchor David Shuster has been "suspended indefinitely" after filming a pilot at CNN. If this is the end of the liberal host's tenure on MSNBC, he'll leave behind a long legacy of viciously attacking "conservative fear mongering."
During the Obama era, Shuster, supposedly a straight-news journalist, has been quick to deride the opponents of the President. On September 10, 2009, he smeared, "Look at the image of the Republican Party, all white males with short haircuts. They look sort of angry. No women, no minorities, and it looks like they've sort of become unhinged."
On his now-defunct program, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Shuster assailed conservatives and Republicans as totally irrational: "Plus, the nutty rhetoric continues from Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele and Sarah Palin....How offensive can Rush Limbaugh be?"
One of the reoccurring segments on this afternoon program was called Hypocrisy Watch. Shuster billed the piece as going after an "organization or person who clearly seems to be doing something that makes the term appropriate." An analysis by the MRC, however, found that the MSNBC anchor almost exclusively critiqued conservative or Republicans:
Shuster’s "Hypocrisy Watch" segments are hardly a nonpartisan exercise in speaking truth to power, but rather a lazy regurgitation of Democratic talking points. Of the 48 "Hypocrisy Watch" segments since the near-daily feature began January 14, nearly all (86%) blasted Republicans, conservatives and corporations. A mere eight percent — one tenth as few — targeted Democrats or liberals.
To make Shuster’s list, it helps to be a strong conservative detested by left-wing bloggers. Radio host Rush Limbaugh has made the list twice, as have Governors Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin, Representative Michele Bachmann, and Senator Jon Kyl, all Republicans. Ex-Bush advisor Karl Rove was named five times, more than all of the Democrats combined.
On March 02, 2010, the cable journalist went after the tea party movement and "right-wing fringe candidates." On March 16, he asked reporter Richard Wolffe, "I mean, what does the White House make of the opposition on the far right?"
Shuster has worked at MSNBC since 2002. Before that, he was employed at Fox News. However, the cable channel-hopping host apparently holds no warm feelings toward his old employer. While at MSNBC, he would often mock FNC:
"Is it ever, ever a wise idea for a political analyst to essentially anoint themselves somebody’s spiritual adviser, denigrate that person’s religion, and do so on a Sunday political talk show?...Doesn’t it also denigrate Christianity when you do that on a Sunday political talk show. This isn’t church, this isn’t some sort of holy setting, this is a political talk show....I do think it diminishes the discussion of Christianity....This wasn’t Theocracy Today. "
— MSNBC Live anchor David Shuster January 4, 2010, talking about Brit Hume’s suggestion on Fox News Sunday that Tiger Woods would find forgiveness in Christianity.
"Later, the conservative fearmongering over President Obama. [Graphic headline: "Stoking Hatred"]...The inflammatory rhetoric from the wing nuts. Is it merely entertaining or seriously dangerous?"
"So how far is too far? Isn’t there a danger when the rhetoric goes off the charts?...Rush Limbaugh, it appears his ratings are up. Glenn Beck’s ratings are through the roof....Shouldn’t there be some standards at some of these other networks? That‘s a problem, isn’t it? There’s no standards."
— Anchor David Shuster on MSNBC’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, March 16, 2009.
"Look, if Fox wants to consider themselves the GOP house organ, that’s fine. They completely backed it up. When Fox starts describing themselves as journalists or a news organization, that’s where I think it’s appropriate to describe Fox as disgraceful....Their coverage on the Fox News Channel has been atrocious. The stuff that comes out of Sean Hannity’s mouth has been infuriating. The stuff that Bill O’Reilly says has been illogical. You go up and down the schedule and it’s insanity over there....The number of lies, perpetuated, promoted by Fox News is just shameful and it hurts everybody."
— MSNBC daytime anchor David Shuster on left-wing host Stephanie Miller’s radio show, April 30, 2009.
With Shuster's future at MSNBC in doubt and his possible show at CNN now uncertain, it's not clear what's next for the liberal host. But, it's likely that his obvious bias will be apparent wherever he appears.