The Black Cloud of Ed Schultz


MSNBC deep thinker Ed Schultz, who recently had a little enforced vacation after calling Laura Ingraham a “slut” on the air, is back in hot water for deliberately doctoring and misrepresenting a quote to slander presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry.

Schultz is very eager to demonstrate that Perry is a racist, or at least a crypto-racist… you know, the kind of sinister mastermind who keeps the white sheets safely tucked on his bed, and communicates with his hateful followers by sending coded messages.  Such “racist dog whistles” can include using words that only liberals are certified to use safely, or even the stealthy night rider’s choices of automobile.  Don’t laugh – Schultz’s former MSNBC colleague, Keith Olbermann, seriously suggested that Massachusetts senatorial candidate Scott Brown’s use of a pickup truck was a coded signal to racists.

I mean it.  Stop laughing.  People who think like this are running the country.

Anyway, Schultz couldn’t find anything to use as a “racist dog whistle” against Perry, so he decided to invent one.  Addressing a crowd at the Iowa State Fair on Monday, Perry was ribbing President Obama about his “listening tour” on job creation when he said, “That big black cloud that hangs over America, that debt is so monstrous.”

Using the editorial judgment of a highly trained and reliable news man, Schultz simply chopped off the last half of that sentence and bluntly told his audience that Perry was calling Obama “a black cloud.”

Even if Schultz had not lied shamelessly in a desperate attempt to slander Perry, this would be a ridiculous line of attack.  One of the reasons liberalism should be heaved onto the garbage heap of history is that it cannot survive without mutating the thoughts of the populace through controlled, and ultimately deformed, speech.  Asserting that the word “black” cannot be used in even the most oblique reference to Barack Obama is tantamount to insisting that he cannot be spoken about, or thought about, clearly at all.  Language is the expression of thought, and no one – least of all a dishonest hack like Ed Schultz – should have the power to control thought.

Are we also forbidden to observe that Barack Obama’s ominous “listening tour” buses are black, or that black smoke emerges from their mufflers?  Or would it be OK for liberals to make that observation, but not conservatives, especially if they come from Texas?  This is the dissolution of discourse, with the end game of reducing us to children, by taking away all the adult words. 

It’s also an attempt to construct a slander from which there can be no defense, because only a telepath can testify to what Rick Perry and his supporters are really thinking when they talk about “black clouds”… and whaddya know, all the telepaths are liberals.

Schultz’s clumsy standard was picked up by far-Left bloggers with slobbering speed.  Tommy Christopher at Mediate made an absolute fool of himself, writing a long piece filled with the really deep thoughts of liberals castigating Perry for his encrypted racist telemetry, and then inserting a one-sentence “update” noting that “video of Perry’s remarks shows he was referring explicitly to the debt.”  No, Mr. Christopher, the update should say “this entire story was based an absolute lie, sold to me by an MSNBC hack that has no business being in front of a camera, and I should have known better than to take him seriously.”

 Schultz eventually offered a tepid apology for the slander, in which he didn’t retract his scurrilous racism accusations, but merely acknowledging it was a mistake not to offer “the full context” of the clip – by which he means “accurately reporting what Perry actually said.” 

There is absolutely no reason Ed Schultz should be allowed in front of a camera again, and if MSNBC doesn’t fire him for this, they’ve flushed whatever journalistic integrity remains to them down a distressingly well-used toilet.  This was not a mistake, a little “oopsie” caused by an itchy finger on the video editing button.  The moronic “point” Schultz was trying to make depended entirely on doctoring the clip.  Not even those who adhere to the “racial dog whistle” theory would have bought into this hoax if Perry’s full remarks – the bottom half of a single sentence – had been related accurately by Schultz.

This incident boils down to a major “news” network creating a “news” story based on something a Presidential candidate didn’t actually say.  That’s the opposite of “journalism,” isn’t it?

If his career survives this, then the very concept of “journalistic ethics” has absolutely no meaning to MSNBC.  They might also reflect that Schultz’s mendacity caused an awful lot of energetic liberal bloggers and writers to beclown themselves yesterday.  If Perry wins the White House, he should make a point of calling Ed Schultz to thank him.

Update: i realize pointing this out undermines my totally serious and heartfelt call for journalistic integrity at MSNBC, but a certain other member of their on-air talent roster fell hook, line, and sinker for the Schultz hoax…