Ed Schultz doubles down: “I am not gonna get bamboozled by reporters”

"I'm a capitalist," MSNBC host boasts -- and refuses to take sides on alleged union-busting by NBC-owned company

Topics: MSNBC, Ed Schultz, Chris Hayes, lawrence o'donnell, Rachel Maddow, Union, TV, Media, Radio, left, Media Criticism, Labor, , , , ,

Ed Schultz doubles down: "I am not gonna get bamboozled by reporters"Ed Schultz (Credit: AP/MSNBC)

For a second consecutive day, MSNBC primetime host Ed Schultz used his national radio show Friday to criticize coverage of his handling of an NBC labor dispute, but did not specifically address alleged union-busting by an NBC Universal-owned company.

“I am sorry for those of you that do believe in the big red head,” Schultz told listeners at the start of the show, “that you have to put up with some lies and deception on Twitter.”

Schultz has drawn harsh tweets since Salon printed a Thursday morning story about labor strife at the NBC Universal-owned Peacock Productions, where a unionization vote covering about a hundred workers was held but a corporate legal challenge has kept the ballots from being counted. Alleging “a textbook anti-union campaign that you would see at companies like Wal-Mart,” the Writers Guild of America – East has asked five primetime MSNBC hosts to publicly support the campaign. None so far have, though several people who were in the room told Salon that Chris Hayes held a private meeting with workers and union staff. Asked Tuesday about the campaign, Schultz e-mailed Salon, “Moveon.org has never been an ally of Ed Schultz, why should I help you with a story? Give me a reason.” He did not respond to a follow-up, or to a series of subsequent inquiries.

Following some social media pushback about that quote, Schultz announced that he was devoting the first portion of his Thursday radio show (not tied to NBC) to listener calls. As Salon reported Friday morning, Schultz told listeners that MSNBC executives already “know what I stand for,” said “I’m not going to publicize every meeting I have,” questioned whether he was “able to influence” people “of authority,” and asked “why should I put myself in jeopardy through an email?” Schultz also criticized Salon’s story, saying “there’s some people that are media wannabes,” and said he’d “become the target because I’m living good.”

Friday afternoon, Schultz’s first call came from In These Times labor reporter Mike Elk. After a testy exchange over who had instigated the call, Elk asked Schultz, “Do you or do you not support the workers organizing in the Peacock unit?”



“I support collective bargaining everywhere,” answered Schultz. Elk then said that while himself had appeared on MSNBC, he was “not afraid” to explicitly express support for the Peacock workers’ campaign, and “I think anyone that really wants to risk their neck for labor will say it, and you’re kind of evading the question now.” Schultz again answered, “I support collective bargaining everywhere,” again not mentioning Peacock Productions or the allegations there.

Elk next asked Schultz why he would invoke “class envy” in criticizing me for my story and former Salon columnist David Sirota for his criticisms following it. When Elk noted that most journalists covering labor make less than Schultz, Schultz shot back, “Why’d you bring up money? Why’d you bring money?” He noted his “long-running feud with David Sirota.”

Asked by Elk about me, Schultz charged, “he didn’t get it right. He didn’t get it right. What he wrote was totally wrong. I did not say the workers had class envy or income envy. I was talking about David Sirota.” (The story, titled “My critics have ‘income envy’: Ed Schultz unloads after backlash to his union quote,” included the term “class envy” once, in a direct quote which, as the story noted, was directed at David Sirota. It also quoted his statement that he was “not going to lower myself to people who just have got employment envy, exposure envy, platform envy.”)

Schultz and Elk then sparred over honoraria and advertising fees paid to Schultz or his show by unions, whether Schultz’s platform was open to reformers who challenge union leaders, and the relative merit of each other’s work. Schultz touted his donations to charity and, pressed by Elk, committed to bring Sandy Pope, who ran against James Hoffa for the Teamsters presidency, on his show. When Elk said he’d heard that Schultz had requested a union provide a “private jet” for an appearance Schultz shot back, “This is income envy is what it is…That’s all you’re talking about, is the money I make.” Mocking Elk’s questioning of the cash unions devoted to advertising on his show, Schultz said, “Where do you think the unions are going…You’ve only got 12,000 Twitter followers.” He also told Elk, “I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a capitalist.”

Interviewed following the show, Elk told Salon it had been a “very bizarre” experience, and that while Schultz had “done a lot of important things for workers,” he found it upsetting “that multi-millionaire progressive TV hosts won’t stand in solidarity” with lower-paid Peacock Productions workers. “What does that say about the values of the left media?” asked Elk.

Having told Elk, “the reason why I’m not calling back reporters is because I’m going to do this on a level playing field,” Schultz repeated that theme later in his show, saying people who want to “call me up and start dressing me down and asking me questions” can do so on his radio show, “where America comes to talk.” Schultz told one of several supportive callers, “I don’t want to be on anybody else’s website, I don’t want to be on anybody else’s show,” and told another, “I am not gonna get bamboozled by reporters and have a private conversation with a reporter and have it twisted the way Sirota does it and the way this last guy did it.” (Each of my stories has quoted Schultz’s two-sentence e-mail to me, the only comment he’s provided Salon this week, in its entirety.)

One caller told Schultz that she found Elk’s criticism of Schultz “amazingly arrogant,” comparing it to saying someone who doesn’t wear a pink ribbon doesn’t support fighting breast cancer. “Mike Elk and David Sirota don’t support cancer because they don’t give 100 grand to the society like I did,” Schultz joked in response. “It is envy,” he added, “It is.”

Peacock Productions workers allege that, before the company’s legal case caused their ballots to be impounded, management retaliated against union activists, tried to isolate them from their co-workers, and repeatedly suggested that unionization would spell the end of the company. NBC has not provided comment on the allegations. MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Al Sharpton have not responded to inquiries since Tuesday regarding Peacock Productions workers’ call for their support.

At the end of his three-hour radio show, on which he did not specifically address the allegations against Peacock Productions, Schultz told listeners, “I stand strong with collective bargaining folks across the country…There’s always gonna be anklebiters and there’s always gonna be a run of misinformation and unfortunately, this time it is on the left.”

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...