On his national radio show Tuesday, Ed Schultz took a decidedly un-liberal view on the controversy over provocatively dressed Mexican sportscaster Ines Sainz being sexually harassed by players in the New York Jets locker room.
Yeah, she's going through jock strap heaven. She's in the locker room! (Laughs) There's been sexist comments in locker rooms since the day they started having sports! What does she expect?!
But when Schultz's own network, NBC, went looking for a soundbite for the "caveman" point of view on Wednesday's Today, they turned to Rush Limbaugh for scolding instead. Matt Lauer singled out Limbaugh as the sexist pig: "Everyone from Rush Limbaugh to late-night comedians are weighing in. And much of the attention is on what Ines Sainz wears instead of the football player's behavior. And is that fair? Does it matter what she had on? We're going to have more on that just ahead."
When they began the story, NBC's Peter Alexander put NFL running back Clinton Portis alongside Limbaugh in the insensitive camp:
ALEXANDER: But another player, Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins, may have revealed some of that locker room mentality, making inflammatory comments on a sports radio show Tuesday.
PORTIS: You put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest or she's going to want somebody.
ALEXANDER: Portis later apologized. And on his radio program, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who had a brief controversial stint as an NFL commentator, addressed the topic, too.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: She knows that she has an asset, depending on that part of the country you're from, boobylicious, bootylicous, whatever. She's got it. She's making no attempt to downplay it or hide it. None whatsoever.
ALEXANDER: Sainz says what she wears is part of her on-air image. Both she and her network post provocative pictures of her on their Web sites. The 32-year-old is a celebrity back in Mexico where many female reporters dress far less conservatively than their American counterparts.
It should be said that when Meredith Vieira and three female pundits began discussing Sainz (complete with lots of seductive Sainz photos), they verged on agreeing with Limbaugh that Sainz was clearly playing up her sexiness as part of her TV persona. Clearly, they agreed, Mexican media culture has a little more machismo behind it than America's. But Limbaugh, not Schultz, still became NBC's icon of insensitivity.