Attempting to offer a defense of Ed Schultz, CNN's Randi Kaye told guest Howard Kurtz Thursday that "there are mixed interpretations" of the term "slut," which Schultz called conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham Thursday. Kaye also referred to Laura Ingraham's response to Schultz as "biting," proving that she possibly was harder on Ingraham than on tyrant Sadaam Hussein back in 2006.
"Yeah, but you know when you hear the word 'slut' – I mean I hate to even say it on our air, to be honest with you – but there are mixed interpretations about the word," Kaye told Kurtz. The media critic didn't buy it for a second.
[Click here for audio. Video below the break.]
Slightly taken aback by Kaye's bizarre statement, Kurtz called the word "clearly a sexually-derogatory term," when used in the context Schultz did, and added that "he realizes what he did."
"I think [Schultz] was lucky to get away with just being off the air for one week," Kurtz remarked. "A lot of broadcasters might have lost their jobs by saying something so stupid, offensive, and misogynistic."
Kurtz added that "this is not the first time that Ed Schultz has talked his way into trouble." Indeed, it is not. Kurtz referred to when Schultz called New Jersey governor Chris Christie a "fat slob" and when he repeatedly labeled Rush Limbaugh "the Drugster," an obvious reference to Limbaugh's drug abuse in the past.
NewsBusters has documented many instances of when Schultz crossed the line with his words, and this arguably is not his worst moment, though Kurtz thinks so. Just last February, Schultz joked that Dick Cheney's heart should be ripped out and kicked around like a "political football." He also ranted in the fall of 2009 that Republicans want to see sick patients dead and "make money off your dead corpse."
For more Schultz hysteria, click here.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on May 26 at 2:44 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
RANDI KAYE: Howard, Schultz has come out, he's apologized to Ingraham, calling what he said, quote "vile and inappropriate language." And to be fair, he offered to take himself off MSNBC for an indefinite period of time without any pay. What's your take on this?
HOWARD KURTZ: Well I think he was lucky to get away with just being off the air for one week. A lot of broadcasters might have lost their jobs by saying something so stupid, offensive, and misogynistic. And I agree with Ed Schultz, it was vile and offensive. I give him credit for apologizing, and I give MSNBC credit for moving quickly and not letting this thing fester.
KAYE: Yeah, I mean he says he's embarrassed himself, he's embarrassed his family. Meanwhile, Ingraham has some biting words of her own. Her relationship with Schultz – I mean, how would you describe it?
KURTZ: Probably non-existent after this point. But look, I mean, she's a conservative who works for Fox and has her own radio show. Ed Schultz is a passionate liberal who works for MSNBC. I don't expect them to like each other, and he's entitled to beat her up over her views every day of the week. But to go where he went, into the gutter with that kind of language, it's really hard to understand.
But I have to tell you, Randi, this is not the first time that Ed Schultz has talked his way into trouble. In fact, MSNBC management has talked to him before about toning things down, because he's been very personal in calling, for example, New Jersey governor Chris Christie a "fat slob," refers to Rush Limbaugh as "the Drugster." He used to have a segment on his show called "Psycho Talk." MSNBC got rid of that. So he knows the power of words to wound. He has gone over the line in the past, never like this. This is the worst thing he's ever said, by his own admission.
KAYE: Yeah, but you know when you hear the word "slut" – I mean I hate to even say it on our air, to be honest with you – but there are mixed interpretations about the word.
KURTZ: Well, I think that it is a word that stings, in a – it's a word certainly you would never apply to a man. Sometimes we kid around and say "Oh, you're a media-whore, you'll go on anything." But when you just say "she's a slut, she's a right-wing slut," I mean you know, it's a clearly a sexually-derogatory term. And you know, Ed Schultz is smart not to try to defend it by saying "Well, what I really meant to say, and this is the meaning," he realizes what he did. That was a very emotional and full-throated apology that he delivered, that indeed he had to deliver on the air. So I give him credit for that, but this is a guy who makes his living broadcasting every day on the radio, on television. He should know better. And as I say, other people – Don Imus comes to mind, making fun of the Rutgers women's basketball team – have lost their jobs over slurs like this.
# # #