Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for May 25th, 2011

Ed Schultz — From Hero, to Goat, to . . . ?

with one comment

Ed Schultz, for the past several months, has done a great job reporting on what’s going on in Wisconsin.  Schultz was probably the first person to take an interest in the protests against Governor Scott Walker (a Republican), and he went to Madison early on during the protests to show the real Wisconsinites who were upset over Walker’s proposed “budget-repair bill.”  These protests broke out partly because the Wisconsin 14 — the Democratic state Senators — went to Illinois to filibuster the proposed legislation, because the WI 14 knew that if they weren’t there, the Senate would not have a quorum as per Wisconsin rules on financial matters, and partly because Walker’s proposal was extremely unpopular.   I gave Schultz great credit for doing all this, as he understood the story from the Democratic and Independent perspective, and he explained it accurately — one of the first, and best, to do so overall.

But then, yesterday, he said something truly inappropriate regarding Laura Ingraham, a right-wing radio talk show host.   His comment was about our current President, Barack Obama, being photographed taking a swig of beer in Ireland, and how when George W. Bush did the same thing, no one complained — and the substance of that is true.   But he took it a step further when he called Ms. Ingraham a very nasty name on his Sirius XM Radio talk show — I will not reproduce this epithet — and now, MSNBC has suspended him for a week without pay.

Here’s a link regarding the whole mess:

Schultz went from a progressive hero of sorts — someone willing to tell the truth about why people were so upset in Wisconsin (it wasn’t just in Madison; there were protests all over the state including Union Grove, a little town of 4,322, a place that usually votes strongly Republican but wasn’t having any of Scott Walker’s proposal to do away with collective bargains for public-employee unions), someone who was willing to stand up for the “little guys” who are rarely talked about by the media — to a goat.  And an extremely smelly and foul-tempered goat, at that.

Now Ed Schultz has been suspended from MSNBC.   According to what I just listened to during the first segment of his “Ed Show” tonight, Schultz offered to take an unpaid leave of absence because he recognized that his behavior was beyond the pale.   He said he tried to get a hold of Ms. Ingraham to apologize, left a message for her apologizing, and will continue to try to get a hold of her because in any context, what he said was not acceptable. 

And he’s right — it wasn’t.

Schultz also discussed how he has failed, big-time, on this issue.  That he expects better of his children and grandchildren, and how can he possibly set a good example for them when he has fallen down on the job this way.  And that he hopes to do better in the future and that he promises that he will never, ever, use the incendiary verbiage that came out of his mouth during a radio ad-lib — that he will, indeed, do better.

Mr. Schultz, I commend you for apologizing and for admitting how wrong you were to do this.   I hope you will remember this day, not because of your humiliation, but because you were right to apologize and to step aside for a week (or however long it may turn out to be) to get your head right.  Your speech tonight showed true remorse and I hope that you will remember that no matter how much you dislike someone — no matter how stupidly they may behave — they are still a human being, and they don’t deserve to be called nasty names.

An insult to one woman is an insult to all of us, Mr. Schultz; I am not a fan of Ms. Ingraham, but I believe very strongly that you shouldn’t have insulted her.  You lowered the tone of the discussion, and that was indefensible, as you said yourself this evening — and the only possible good that could come out of this is a frank discussion about why the term you used is inappropriate for anyone with taste, class, or an education. 

My advice is this: learn from this.  Become a better person.  And please, please, continue to focus on the real people who’ve been hurt by Walker’s proposals in Wisconsin,  because that is where your true gift lies.