Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Ed and Jon Show

It’s a rule of thumb that’s often holy writ: Company takeovers often mean a new broom sweeps clean. The new managers at MSNBC have selectively enforced that in their shuffle of the network’s prime-time lineup, and ardently aggressive progressive Ed Schultz, host of “The Ed Show,” is still standing after last month’s management shakeup.

Schultz, it seems, is still girding for battle, but with the wrong people.

The Huffington Post reported Friday on a minor dustup he had with Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

Stewart mocked Schultz on the Thursday "Daily Show," in his "Olbertunity Knocks" segment. Lamenting the departure of Keith Olbermann from the MSNBC lineup, Stewart did a quick rundown of MSNBC show hosts in search of find a suitable replacement for Olbermann’s presence.

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Claiming there was an "Olbermann-shaped hole" in the national discourse, Stewart said Rachel Maddow (of the “Rachel Maddow Show” wasn’t confrontational enough (this from a man who launched a “Rally to Restore Sanity” in American life?), Chris Matthews (of “Hardball”) wasn’t creative enough in his jabs at conservatives, and Lawrence O'Donnell (“The Last Word”) was too oratorically slow.

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Then Stewart went after Schultz, taking issue with his sometimes over-the-top nature, alluding to the problems with a "heavy-set man shouting at you" on television, and saying that Schultz could play the on-air role of "Olbermann's id."

Ed got all ... Ed on Stewart in a tweet he hurled at Stewart the next day:

Schultz is clearly feeling his oats. You’ll recall what happened back on August 12, according to The New York Post and other news outlets, when he found out that he apparently wasn’t to be included in MSNBC’s election-night promos. Schultz is said to have gone ballistic, going on a rant in the newsroom at 30 Rockefeller Center and threatening to “torch this fuckin’ place” if he wasn’t added to the pundits’ promo roll for the November election.

On the one hand, you can’t blame Schultz for sticking up for himself in the face of a clearly exclusionary situation. No one wants to be left behind when the sweeteners of such a high-profile job in television are being doled out. If that’s what really happened, give Ed credit for standing up on his hind legs and calling BS on a situation that deserved it. Even if he wasn’t exactly, uh, linguistically politic about how he did it.

Schultz got his place in that promo lineup. And he’s in the latest round of promos that came out last week, dovetailing with the ascension of Comcast in the executive suite. Schultz speaks his truth to power:

“I’m kind of a normal American, and I get passionate about issues when I see jobs that are being shipped out overseas! Do we care about people that lose their jobs in this economy? Do we care about outsourcing? This is about now and this is about jobs! Isn’t it time to do something for the American worker?

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Amen, sir. Twice. But this thing with Stewart … You may be a little thin-skinned on this one. You really should be a little more selective about targets of opportunity. It’s not exactly a wise strategic move to threaten to commit (rhetorical?) arson at your place of employment.

And the Stewart thing? Let the outrage fit the crime, man. No more cheap cracks about sending to Jon to China. We need him here — with his urbane, sporadically manic rapier wit — just like we need your vein-popping, over-the-top populism.

And Jon? Lay off that “heavy-set” stuff. S'over the line. You’re not talking about Rush Limbaugh here.

Come on, guys, play nice. Back to neutral corners. You’re both on the same team. And the sandbox of national woes is more than big enough for both of you.

Image credits: Schultz and Ed Show promo: MSNBC.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Schultz you speak the truth you tell it like it is and disgusting people like ASS Hole Hannity and his followers calling the protesters Hippie Radicals that need to go home and take a bath. I pray that President Obama go another4 years and rub it in the Republicans face I will always be a Democrat.


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