Topic: Media Research Center
In a March 25 Media Research Center press release, Brent Bozell bashed MSNBC's relationship with liberal radio host Ed Schultz, calling it "eerily reminiscent of MSNBC’s Michael Savage experiment. Savage is crazy Right, and Schultz is crazy Left; the only thing they have in common is that MSNBC hired them both."
Except, of course, for the fact that Schultz and Savage aren't anything alike. The MRC could come up with only two examples of purportedly outrageous remarks by Schultz. And, of course, one is not that serious -- calling Sen. Richard Shelby “a terrorist on the American worker. He is a terrorist on wage workers” for opposing a bailout of the auto industry -- and the other is misrepresented.
According to the press release: "Just this past Friday, Schultz called Republican Senator Jon Kyl a 'spineless scumbag' for daring to criticize President Obama’s joke about how his bowling was so bad it was 'like Special Olympics or something.'" But Bozell's own employees tell a different story. In a March 24 NewsBusters post, Jack Coleman writes that Kyl criticized Obama "[n]ot because of Obama's revealing gaffe about the Special Olympics, but for schmoozing with Leno at a time of widespread economic anxiety."Coleman also pointed out that Schultz donated $100 to Special Olympics and challenged Kyl to do the same.
There is no comparison -- Savage wins the crazy competition hands down.
Further, Bozell's dismissal of Savage as "crazy right" obscures the fact that Bozell has criticized Savage only after Savage's firing from MSNBC in 2003 made it palatable for Bozell to distance himself from a fellow right-winger. Indeed, the first reference in the MRC archives to Savage is an April 2003 CyberAlert item noting that then-MSNBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield -- whom Savage recently called Banfield a "slut" after her Iraq "reports portraying the radical Arab point of view" -- "denounced MSNBC for giving an hour a week to radio talk show host Michael Savage." The CyberAlert not only didn't criticize Savage's hiring, it seemed to concur with his view of Banfield.
It was not until Savage's firing later that year that Bozell felt the need to put some distance between him and Savage. Bozell began a July 2003 column with the disclaimer, "I’ve never written about radio/TV shock jock Michael Savage. I don’t know him, nor do I know much about him." He then dismissed Savage as "Saturday-afternoon cartoon conservatism" and fretted that "the conservative movement would get tagged by his outrageousness" -- then equivocated by claiming that certain remarks by liberals were much worse than anything Savage ever said.
Bozell couldn't speak up about Savage when it would have been genuinely brave of him to do so. For him to attack Schultz as a Savage clone is disingenous and cowardly -- not to mention utterly false.
UPDATE: Rich Noyes has dedicated a "Media Reality Check" to Schultz, adding to the list of offenses that Schultz once "compared [Rush] Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler." Funny, we don't recall the MRC being offended by Limbaugh's frequent use of the term "feminazi."