Schultz: I’m a "One-Percenter" and "anyone who follows me on Twitter" can see my planes

"I am being made out to be some money-grubbing pig," host adds. "There’s all kinds of envy out there on the left"

Published December 16, 2013 8:31PM (EST)

Ed Schultz           (AP/Frank Franklin Ii)
Ed Schultz (AP/Frank Franklin Ii)

MSNBC host Ed Schultz took to his radio show for a third consecutive time Monday to slam his critics, following media attention to his show’s financial support from unions and Salon’s reporting last week on his handling of a labor dispute at NBC. Decrying unspecified “flat-out lies” and “all kinds of envy on the left,” Schultz told listeners his “one-percenter” status was no secret, and said of unnamed critics, “That was my mistake, by ever just acknowledging that they breathe air.”

“I am being made out to be some money-grubbing pig that doesn’t care about workers, which is absolutely erroneous,” Schultz told listeners. Without directly addressing alleged union-busting by NBC Universal-owned Peacock Productions, which workers have asked MNSBC prime-time hosts to condemn, Schultz said, “My position with workers is unparalleled by anyone with this position in the media … That’s the truth.”

As Salon reported Thursday, Peacock workers allege a campaign to bust their union, suppress their votes and exploit National Labor Relations Board delays caused by Republican obstruction, moves that the Writers Guild of America–East alleges undermine the values of NBC’s cable channel, MSNBC. (NBC has not provided comment to Salon on the labor dispute following repeated requests.) According to several people present, Chris Hayes recently met privately with the workers at WGA-E’s office. But none of the five hosts targeted by labor – Hayes, Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Al Sharpton – has so far directly and publicly addressed the campaign. Hayes, Schultz, Maddow and O’Donnell have not responded to Salon’s requests for comment over the past week. (The National Action Network, a civil rights group founded by Sharpton, referred Salon’s most recent inquiry to MSNBC.)

While none of the hosts have publicly sided with Peacock employees, Schultz has drawn particular scrutiny since sending a two-sentence Tuesday email to Salon: “ has never been an ally of Ed Schultz, why should I help you with a story? Give me a reason.” (MoveOn hosted a petition to the hosts.) That statement, printed in Salon’s Thursday story, spurred online criticism of Schultz -- leading him, as I’ve reported, to push back on his Thursday and Friday afternoon radio shows (not affiliated with NBC) by suggesting criticism of him was driven by “media wannabes” and “income envy.” (Since his initial email, Schultz has not responded to Salon’s subsequent requests for an interview or comment.)

On Monday, Schultz continued on that theme. Shortly after announcing that, following ownership changes, “we’ve got a big agreement so this show will continue on,” Schultz told listeners, “I have been misquoted, misinterpreted, maligned, and now it is flat-out character assassination. And I can find fault in facts in every article that has been written, OK? I can.”

Then, after describing his appreciation for his family and fans, Schultz said, “I’m not going to apologize for my success. How I live is no secret.” He noted that anyone who looked at his photos on Twitter “can figure it out.”

To rebut criticism over sums paid by unions to advertise on his show, Schultz -- after saying it was a “rather awkward thing for me to do, because it sounds rather grandiose” -- ran through a list of donations he’d made to charity. Schultz said his the donations or commitments added up to $343,000. He told listeners he would not apologize for making “a hell of a lot of money,” and that “anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I – I show pictures of my airplanes.” He added, “Back when I was in the middle class, I owned a 172.”

“There’s all kinds of envy out there on the left,” said Schultz. “I’m still there … Don’t be deterred by all of these people that are printing stuff that is flat-out lies.” He told listeners, “Well, now I’m a 59- year-old one-percenter. I’m not gonna hide it.”

A self-identified conservative radio host called in to defend Schultz taking advertising dollars from unions on the grounds that “you endorse products” and “this is absolutely no different from that … All you’ve got to do is say, ‘Of course I advertise for these guys, I agree with them.” Schultz responded, “Well, that’s the best tip I’ve ever had from a righty … There is no question about it: they’re buying the audience.”

Later in the show, when a caller referenced Schultz “talking about some other shmegegi [Yiddish for a fool] that was attacking you,” Schultz promised a different tack: “You’ll never hear their names mentioned again. Never. That was my mistake by ever just acknowledging that they breathe air.” (Full disclosure: I’ve appeared once on Schultz’s MSNBC show and a couple times, with a guest host, on his radio show.) When a Twitter user suggested that meant Schultz had “lost it,” Schultz shot back with two tweets during the show. First, “I refuse to waste my time on misinformation and lies..” Then, “is it fair to put up with lies and misinformation?”

Since Salon's story on NBC's labor dispute broke Thursday morning, Schultz has also suggested that he might not be “able to influence” someone “of authority” he disagrees with, asked “why should I put myself in jeopardy through an email?” and -- while declining to address the specifics of the Peacock Productions dispute -- said, "I support collective bargaining everywhere."

By Josh Eidelson

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Ed Schultz Labor Media Msnbc Nbc Peacock Productions Union