MSNBC radio and cable talk show host Ed Schultz calls himself "The Nation's No. 1 Progressive Voice."
This week, he progressed to the Misogynist Hall of Fame with his radio reference to fellow opinionator Laura Ingraham as a slut. Schultz managed to use the word twice in one sentence, which is one time more than would have gotten past anybody's kindergarten teacher.
Impulse control is not one of Schultzs strengths. Last summer, the New York Post reported his meltdown in the [MSNBC] 30 Rock newsroom. Schultz was enraged that the marketing folks ran commercials that he wasnt in. When his huffing and puffing failed to win hearts and minds, he slammed down the telephone and shouted, "I'm going to torch this [bleep]ing place."
White men with microphones have likewise been on the receiving end of Schultzs verbal violence. According to The Post, Schultz once told White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 'You're full of [bleep].' And after Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck revealed a condition that may make him go blind, Schultz said, "It's a travesty he's not going to see the country he's trying to destroy."
The working people Schultz claims to champion would be fired from their factories, fast-food restaurants, and offices if they acted nuts and uncorked about sluts. But Schultz seems to have a license to behave like a bad-tempered sub-literate seventh grader. Following his Monday dump on Ingraham, MSNBC brass huddled for two days and emerged with this statement:
MSNBC management met with Ed Schultz [Wednesday] afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave for the remarks he made on his radio program. Ed will address these remarks on his show tonight, and immediately following begin his leave. Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
MSNBC accepted Schultz's "offer"? Really?
Call it zero tolerance, Orwell-style.
Schultz wont miss a weeks pay, and it sounds like he could use a few days to chill out, but it will be a long time before anyone takes his "civility" lectures seriously.
MSNBC's slogan is "Lean forward." It did ... and spit straight into our eyes.
Guest column: Florence Snyder is a corporate lawyer. She also consults on ethics and First Amendment issues. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.