I am glad that there are some reliable progressive and liberal voices on the teevee, but I am disappointed that most of them are also WATB. There are exceptions like the excellent Rachel Maddow, but sadly most of the rest of them are far more concerned about their brand, their ratings and their influence than they are with policy, facts and getting actual things done.
Case in point is Ed Schultz who–for reasons that must have seemed like a good idea at the time–was given the opening speech at Netroots Nation.
And what did he do during his speech?
According to TPM Big Ed did the same thing that any speech maker at any Republican/Teabagger event would do: he went on the attack against the Obama Administration. He hit all of the talking points of Wingnutopia: Obama is weak; Obama can’t be trusted; Obama is following policies that harm America; Obama doesn’t care about you; Obama doesn’t listen to you… Etc. Etc. Etc. Of course big Ed put a so called ‘progressive’ patina on the wingnut talking points, but he still embraced them all.
And why wouldn’t he. This was a great moment for Ed to use this space to promote his brand as THE angry man of the people standing up for the little guy against weak Democrats and mean Republicans. It is a great media star brand.
Of course TPM also reported on what Ed’s anger at Obama was really all about:
He also complained that Obama hasn’t gone on his show or sat recently for interviews with Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow, adding that during the campaign, “I busted my ass for Obama.” Schultz said that instead of going on The Ed Show, Obama went on Bret Baier’s show on Fox, “in my time slot. What’s that all about?”
If Obama would just go on Ed’s show then he could count on a little support from America’s only champion of the little guy. If Obama would just put the same priority on Ed’s rating and Ed’s celebrity status that Ed requires then Ed might support him. But Obama betrayed Ed by going on another Network (FOX!!) during Ed’s timeslot and so Obama must pay the price of angry Ed’s ferocity.
And of course this must makes sense, as we all know the most important fight and issue in America is the epic battle between Fox News and MSNBC. The fight between our ‘progressive’ media stars, bloggers and pundits against our ‘conservative’ media stars, bloggers and pundits trumps all other issues. It really is groundbreaking that progressives were able to celebrate this epic struggle with Ed as the Netroots Nation began. Awesome!
As for me, I just think Ed is a windbag and I could care less about his ratings or even the existence of his show. And yes. I am aware that this must mean that I am a bad person. So it goes.
Worse than that, I find myself agreeing with Daniel from the Northwest Progressive Institute who said as he live blogged Ed’s rant:
“You are either with us or you’re against us in the progressive movement in America,” Schultz shouted, sounding very much like the last person who occupied the White House. [snip]
If we want to win over hearts and minds, we have to reframe, which is more difficult than pumping a fist and declaring war on the political establishment. (Incidentally, Ed made sure to look in the camera and direct his provocative Bushism to the White House). [snip]
We may not like the establishment, but we also don’t like dealing in absolutes. You’re either with us or you’re against us is one of the most criticized things that George W. Bush ever said, for a reason. It’s polarizing and divisive.
Anger is a powerful emotion. It’s easy to feel rage, resentment, or contempt. It’s also not difficult to express those feelings — Schultz is doing a fine job of that at the moment. But it’s difficult to channel such feelings into something positive. There’s nothing wrong with feeling determined, but people who let their fury get the best of them aren’t going to be able to accomplish much.
Angry Ed helps the Wingnuts win the day and block progress, but that must be OK because his angry media persona helps Ed’s TeeVee status shine and that gives hopes for other pundit wantabes to follow in his large footsteps. The bench of so called progressives willing to attack Democrats and the Obama Administration with Wingnut talking points is deep and Ed’s teevee network is willing to try them out as guest hosts for their shows (like this guy).
I wonder why the network of Joe Scarborough and Rove-dancer David Gregory is so excited to give these folks airtime? I’m sure it is because they want to see the Obama Administration succeed. Of course it is. I mean, what other motives could they have…