Can two grown men really be this dumb, or is their hatred for conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh so blinding they wouldn't know sarcasm if it punched them in the face?
As tough as it might be to believe, Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton actually took seriously Limbaugh's joke that media outlets criticizing President Obama's tax compromise plan did so because they are racist (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: And the Drugster is now accusing me of being a racist. He says only racists would oppose the President and this tax bill.
That was in the opening tease. The actual segment came near the end of the program:
SCHULTZ: And finally tonight, an update on Rev. Al Sharpton's fight against Rush Limbaugh's racist rants which are pretty well documented. Rev is trying to get the FCC to step in, and the Drugster is feeling the heat. On his radio show yesterday he lashed out by trying to turn the tables and call folks like me racist.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Man, oh, man, oh, man, ladies and gentlemen, the left, what a bunch of racists! I mean they're all over MSNBC. They are all over the New York Times, the Washington Post. I have never seen such a collection of racists, all these liberals criticizing Obama on this compromise on the tax bill. Well, every bit of criticism of Obama's always been said to be racist, hasn't it?
For some additional clarity, there were a couple of sentences from Limbaugh's opening on Tuesday Schultz omitted:
LIMBAUGH: What a bunch of just undisguised racism we are seeing in America today. Normally they camouflage their racism pretty well, but I mean they can't, they're so upset. It's there for one and all to see.
On Tuesday, Limbaugh posted his elaborated comments on this subject under the title "Media Racists Attack Obama." In that segment, Limbaugh went after ABC's Jake Tapper, NBC's Chuck Todd, and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough for their criticisms of the President's compromise tax plan.
Any person with even a room temperature intelligence quotient would know that Limbaugh was claiming racism because any time anyone on the right has criticized Barack Obama since the moment he threw his hat into the presidential candidacy ring in February 2007, said person has been accused of racism by the Left. Now that liberal media members are speaking negatively about the President, it therefore has to be because they're racist as well.
Schultz clearly didn't get the sarcasm, and neither did Sharpton:
SCHULTZ: Joining me now for an update on where this fight stands, Rev. Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network. Reverend, you got people, journalists in the industry who cover radio are following this. What's the update?
REVEREND AL SHARPTON: We are, as I have informed you, we're going to Washington this week to meet with the FCC. We're also going to unveil a petition that we're going to challenge members of Congress and the Senate to sign on to and release on National Action Network's websites who signs on, who doesn't or who ducks, because it's very important for federal officials to take a position, not necessarily just on Limbaugh, but on whether or not they agree that anything whether you're doing it explicitly or implicitly against people based on race or gender should be allowed on federally regulated airwaves. I think we have to press those that have made Senate votes condemning people in the past, that have demagogued on this. Now it comes down to an area that government can be called upon, and we want them on the record. So we intend to escalate this fight. We don't intend to back down at all. And for, for people like Rush to talk about people like you are racist is absolutely absurd. You compare that to people that like he's doing singing "The Good Negro" song on his show and trying to insult the statue of people like the House Majority Whip, Congressman Clayburn [sic]. This is the kind of America we can’t stand by and allow to continue to happen.
Yes, Sharpton did get the name of Majority Whip Clyburn wrong. But this segment demonstrated something far more important.
If these folks don't know when someone like Limbaugh is joking about a person being racist, how can they possibly know when his racially oriented comments are similarly tongue-in-cheek?
Either these folks are too intellectually challenged to understand sarcasm - in Schultz's case, even when he's the subject of it! - or they are astonishingly dishonest with their viewers.
Whichever the answer, neither of these folks should be in the position of determining anyone's racist intentions, for they both clearly can't be trusted to accurately discern such.