Olbermann is gone, Beck is going, but we still have Ed Schultz. And that’s too bad. Months after the Gabby Gifford shooting which brought forth pleas and cries for more civil discourse in the media between the Right and the Left in American politics; we still have people like Schultz using foul and inappropriate language to denigrate other media persons with whom they disagree. The national media still gives politically extreme big mouths like Schultz prime time venues from which to spew vile epithets at those they see as “wrong” through their tunnel vision enmity.
To say the other side does the same thing is a “two wrongs make a right” argument; which is no argument at all. Smarmy or petty attacks against someone are not a rebuttal to their political position. It’s just a child like attempt to invalidate their position by demeaning them; and of course it does more to embarrass the insulter than the insulted. If all one has as a defense against someone else’s political position is crude character assignation; one has nothing and thus nothing to say.
Schultz presents and prides himself as being one with and representative of the common ordinary American. I find that thought and image disturbing as well as untrue. While a few of the most extreme people on the Left may harbor the same volume of vitriol toward the Right as Schultz does and may even sometimes express it in the form of foul mouthed slander; the majority of people on the Progressive side of the American political spectrum are much more thoughtful and respectful in the way they express their political views.
The Right has Limbaugh as the trash talking mad dog of their side and now it appears that the Left has Schultz as their resident biting as well as barking angry cur. Being compared and equated with Limbaugh is certainly no compliment to Schultz or MSNBC as his platform. It’s one thing for commentators to express their displeasure or anger at the political points of view and political positions of those they disagree with in a spirited or even bitingly critical way. It is entirely something different to have network or cable personalities use foul language and lewd personal character aspersions when referring to a political position adversary. It reflects badly on the media outlet’s behavioral standards and rules for their on air performers. A suspension of a few days is just the bare minimum MSNBC can do as punishment for Schultz to make it to appear his behavior is unacceptable. Ms. Ingraham may have graciously accepted Shultz’s apology; the MSNBC audience may not be as forgiving or understanding.
In a media world often criticized as being too full of insults and personal attacks and too lacking in more thoughtful and productive analysis and commentary, perhaps MSNBC might consider replacing Schultz with less of a big mouth and more of a big mind. If the network continues in providing Schultz with a prime time show, they risk losing the more high minded thoughtful viewership people like Rachel Madow attract while failing to gain the rabid, red meat demanding, old school Olbermann crowd.
Schultz himself, no matter what his ultimate career fate, should remember the very see-through nature of the glass house he lives in. He personally and personality wise has a pretty substantial list of negatives that could be used as material with which he can be skewered; from his often too broad axe like chopping of the politics he dislikes, to his apparently overindulgent lifestyle, as seen in his physical appearance. He probably isn’t the one who should be casting the personal attack stones in the Left versus Right political battles of the day (if MSNBC thinks anyone should).
I believe MSNBC is better served by personalities like Madow, who accomplishes the disparaging of the Right through fact based news coupled with witty sarcasm or even Lawrence O’Donnell who, although as blatantly partisan as Schultz, manages to confine his contempt of the Right to his scowl while using appropriate, albeit condemnatory, language. The replacement of Schultz with a more positive versus negative, truly 21st Century progressive, political point of view would accomplish both balancing the MSNBC evening line up and broadening the audience to include more truly common ordinary Americans as viewers.