WHAT SCHILLER SAID! My remark was thoughtless, the NPR chief said. But that was Murrays point: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2010
Ed Schultz (also) brings on the hate: On Sunday, a Kentuckian named Tim Profitt did a dumb, unfortunate thing, stepping or stomping on Lauren Valles shoulder or head, thus interrupting her satire. (Profitt may face assault charges.) In this post, Digby quickly did one of the things she now does bestshe extended guilt for Profitts behavior and thinking to millions of other people.
In all honesty, weve never seen anyone go from some to all quite as quickly as Digby now does. Her commenters were soon snarking hard and predicting all manner of mayhem. But Big Ed Schultz really took the cake as his hot buttons started firing last night. Schultz, who has become an open hate merchant, started his program like this:
In all honesty, the tape wasnt all that shocking, thought it was of course unfortunate. Nor was it all that hard to believe, given the way people are. But Schultz is now all about firing up the rubesmaking them angry, filling them with hate for The Other. He proceeded with a 15-minute report which was long on the outrage and furyand long on the outright dissembling.
Schultzs report was especially dumband designed to make folks very angry. We wont bother running through all the ways this big loud man played the loud dumb fool, as he now routinely does. But he pretended that he didnt know why the Paul campaign issued two different statements about the incident. He pretended that Paul was somehow supposed to have seen this unfortunate incident. He kept pretending that Paul himself hadnt made a statement, although the tape and transcript of his statement, made Tuesday morning on Fox, had been all over the web. (For Steve Benens account, just click here.) He scolded Ron Paul for his sons behaviorbehavior he himself had grossly misrepresented. He even pretended that this incident was an echo of the deeply troubling disrespect to women displayed in the Aqua Buddha matter. And, as he now so often does, Big Ed played the Nazi Mayhem Card, one of his favorite toys.
Ed Schultz has become a bad person:
Big Ed was faking hard at this point, pretending that hed struggled hard about the morality of running that old Nazi tape.
The Nazis murdered six million people. On Sunday, one stupid person stepped or stomped on one persons shoulder or head. As soon as he did this, another person told him to stop. And he did.
Profitt may get prosecuted. In a rational world, Schultz would get fired. His presentation last night was very dumb, on top of being very dishonest. And people, lets get our own hot buttons firing! Just as the Nazis did in the 1930s in Germany, Big Ed spent his entire hour building a vast sense of grievance:
Schultz now moves from some to all just as quickly as Digby does. That said, can anyone believe that Schultz is sincere when he peddles this crap? If he is sincere, of course, that would be the largest problem.
During the years of the Long Liberal Silence, we liberals at least got to pretend that we are smarter and more nuanced than the other tribe. That fantasy has long since flown. Ed Schultz has become a loud rodeo clown. He seems determined to show the world that members of our tribe can make the big money enflaming dumb-asses too.
After that, the experts appeared: Before long, Democratic strategist Todd Webster came on. He offered a nuanced assessment:
How many dumb liberals exist in the land? Ed Schultz wants to find out.
PART 2WHAT SCHILLER SAID (permalink): Yesterday, liberals continued snarking about Charles Murrays new piece, which headlined the Washington Posts Outlook section this Sunday. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/26/10. To read Murrays piece, click here.)
Is there such a thing as a New Elitea group of societal movers and shakers who are largely out of touch with the values and culture of regular folk? This could be a defensible thesis, James Downie wrote at the New Republic, but Murray decides instead to prove it in as many wrongheaded ways as possible. Downie listed various alleged bungles by Murray, not failing to mention such facts as these: MMA means mixed-martial arts, and its audience is actually more well-off than the average American.
The snark has been general about Murrays piecebut we would suggest a different approach. Wed suggest that progressives skip the snark and the snide and instead pay a bit of attention to Murrays defensible thesis. In our view, he is talking about a cultural phenomenon which routinely works in ways which savage progressive interests.
Just consider the unfortunate thing Vivian Schiller said.
As the world has recently learned, Schiller is president and CEO of NPR, a post she has held since January 2009. Schiller got famous in the last week when she fired pundit Juan Williams for comments he made on the OReilly Factor. Most attention focused on Williams remark about getting nervous on planes when he sees folk in Muslim garb.
Well assume that Schiller is a bright, decent person. In our view, her network should probably have severed its ties with Williams long ago (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/25/10). But Schiller put her foot in her mouth in the course of dumping Williams, reinvigorating a long propaganda war against NPR and the liberal mediaand giving Fox a big propaganda win. And make no mistake! Her biographical profile clearly stamps Schiller as part of Murrays New Elite. Wikipedia tells the story this way, taking its basic information from a wedding announcement in the New York Times:
Not that theres anything wrong with it! Indeed, our own niece and nephew grew up in Larchmont, perhaps fifteen years after Schiller; some of our very favorite people grew up in Larchmont, New York! That said, Schillers bio is perfectly drawn from the outline of Murrays New Elite. For all we know, she may have shared an occasional nosh with Olbermann while at Cornell!
(For Schillers professional bio at NPR, you know what to dojust click here.)
Theres absolutely wrong with any part of Schillers bio. Indeed, she has even served as a senior vice president at CNN! But Murray doesnt claim in his piece that members of his New Elite are bad people. He claims that they tend to be out of touch with the values and views of regular folkout of touch in ways which might lead to a dumb remark like this, as reported by Paul Farhi in the Washington Post:
Doh! Readers of the New York Times have been spared from reading about Schillers jibe about Williams psychiatric state, for which she later apologized. (I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark.) But her remark has been bruited far and wide by various conservative pundits, offered as the latest example of the way an elite called the liberal media tends to regard the statements and views of regular people.
Schiller made a dumb remark, as we all do on occasion. She herself described her own remark as thoughtlessa diagnosis which largely fits Murrays thesis about the New Elite. This remark was just part of a larger story, the story of the firing itself; the world wont long remember what Schiller said about Williams. But her thoughtless remark helped revive a decade-long narrativea narrative which is bad for NPR, and bad for progressive interests.
Schillers remark is easily portrayed as the fruit of a sneering elite. A wide range of pundits were soon asserting that regular people do entertain thoughts of the type Williams described; some pundits recalled the time (in 1993) when Jesse Jackson described the fear he sometimes feels when approached by young black men on a dark street at night. In the Washington Post, another member of the press elite offered her assessment of Williams remark, offering the general view that Williams remarks dont make him crazy. After scolding Bill OReilly for the things he had said, Kathleen Parker said the following about Williams. In the process, she displayed how out of touch she herself may be with the lives of regular people:
Is Parker part of the New Elite? Note the assumption lodged in her analysisthe assumption that we all fly around the country so often that 99 percent of Americans have had the experience of flying with people decked out in Muslim garb.
Well only say this about Schillers remark: It helped revive a very familiar, decades-long war against NPR and the liberal media. In that sense, her remark, which she quickly renounced, was bad for progressive interests. Well assume that Schiller is a good, decent person, but well also ask a basic question:
At this late date in that long war, who is still clueless enough to jump right up and make that remark? Murrays piece suggests a possible answer. We think progressives would be well advised to ponder what he has said.
Tomorrowpart 3: An elite editor speaks