Born in Norfolk, Virginia on January 27, 1954, Ed Schultz was a sports broadcaster in North Dakota from the early 1980s through 2003. In 1992 he also started working as a political talk-show host in the city of Fargo; In 2005 he began hosting a nationally syndicated liberal-leaning radio program called Democracy Radio; and on April 1, 2009, he became the anchor of his own nightly program on MSNBC television, titled The Ed Show.
Schultz was politically conservative in his younger years, but he became a leftist in the late 1990s when, as he would later put it, “I basically got out in the world” and had “a series of grass roots experiences.” Following his political conversion, Schultz in 2000 publicly announced that he was a Democrat. He reviled Republicans and conservatives as racist elitists, characterizing them as “meanspirited and intentionally dishonest.” His commentary was often laced with vulgar language and broad-based smears.
- In March 2009, Schultz compared conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler. First Schultz showed a film clip — accompanied by audio of Hitler and cheering Nazis — of Limbaugh saying at a recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): “I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation. Why would I want that to succeed?” Then Schultz said: “Now if you watch Limbaugh with the sound down, the drugster, he looks like Adolf Hitler! His animation is amazing! It’s, the parallel is so striking. And then, of course, Rush is now the angry American. The angry American. And that’s where they are. They are so out of touch, just like Hitler was out of touch. But he was mesmerizing. So, I think it was comical. I think there are parallels drawn by some of the things Hitler was saying and some of the things that were at the CPAC convention. They are not Americans. They don’t care about the greater good of society.”
- On May 11, 2009, Schultz, on his radio show, wished death upon former Vice President Dick Cheney: “[T]hat dirt bag, Dick Cheney … is an enemy of the country, in my opinion…. It just, I just think the guy’s such a freakin’ loser. You know, Lord, take him to the Promised Land, will you? See, I don’t even wish the guy goes to Hell. I just want to get him the hell out of here.”
- In July 2010 Schultz exhorted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to do everything in his power to neuter his Republican colleagues legislatively: “[S]hove the Republicans into the ditch! Shove those bastards right into the dirt hole!” In the same tirade, Schultz shouted: “To hell with the Republicans! They’re anti-American!”
- In August 2010, when a conservative Tea Party blog (which opposed the healthcare reforms that Democrats were advocating) listed the D.C. home addresses of Democrats Tom Daschle, Anita Dunn, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, Schultz told his TV viewers: “Folks, this is what the Brown Shirts did in the 1930s in Germany. They used to target businesses, target people, target families, list names, attack their businesses.”
- In January 2011, Schultz described Republicans as “bastards” who “want to take down American workers,” “outsource jobs,” “destroy the American dream,” “concentrate the wealth to the top,” and “control minorities.”
- In April 2011, Schultz stated that “the Republican Party stands for … racism.”
- On May 24, 2011, Schultz characterized conservative talk-radio host Laura Ingraham as a “right-wing slut” and a “talk slut.”
- On August 15, 2011, Schultz used an edited video clip of Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry saying that: “[G]etting America back to work is the most important issue that faces this country, being able to pay off $14.5 trillion or $16 trillion worth of debt. That big black cloud that hangs over America, that debt that is so monstrous.” Cutting off the audio of the clip after the word “America,” Schultz said: “That black cloud Perry is talking about is President Barack Obama.” The following day, Schultz apologized for having taken Governor Perry’s words out of context.
- In the summer of 2013, Schultz said: “The only thing that satisfies the conservative movement in this country is when they can keep a liberal down, when they can keep a worker down, when they can keep a minority down.”
- Decrying what he viewed as a “conservative separatist movement that is taking grip in America,” Schultz in August 2013 charged that “some Republicans think it’s their God-given right to discriminate and their dangerously [sic] thinking is starting to spread across America.”
- That same month, Schultz condemned ABC‘s conservative commentator George Will for noting that the city of Detroit was experiencing a “cultural collapse” due, in large part, to the fact that 47% of its adults were functionally illiterate and 79% of its children were born to unmarried mothers. “Conservatives are using the most insulting language possible they can come up with,” Schultz complained, “to … blame black people, blame their culture for Detroit’s troubles…. I mean, that is about as insulting and as racist as it gets.”
- In November 2013, Schultz referred to Fox News’s Steve Doocy, who had been critical of President Barack Obama’s recent diplomatic dealings with Iran, as “Steve Douchey”—a play on the word “douche,” a form of vaginal irrigation.
- In January 2014, Schultz depicted Republicans as “heartless and cruel.”
- In April 2014, Schultz said: “I think not raising the minimum wage is a racist [Republican] policy…. Not raising the wage, the minimum wage, is every bit as racist as comments made by Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. It’s just displayed in a different way.”
Taking pains to present himself as a champion of the average person, Schultz was a vocal supporter of tax hikes on the wealthy.
- On October 12, 2011, he said : “You’re damn right I’m a tax-and-spend liberal. It’s time to tax the top one percent and spend it on the working folk of America who need a job, who need a school, who need some health care — all of this. I’m a tax-and-spend liberal. I want to tax those who have had all the breaks over the past 30 years, and I want to make sure the working folk of America have a shot.”
- An avid admirer of President Obama, Schultz in September 2013 was incredulous at a poll indicating that just 45% of Americans thought Obama was handling the U.S. economy effectively. “It amazes me that people don’t love Obama,” said Schultz, who also took an opportunity to criticize former President Ronald Reagan for having “brought the philosophy [that] if the wealthy people don’t pay much in taxes, our job market is going to go nuts.”
But while Schultz was demanding higher taxes on the wealthy, the State of South Dakota hit his company, E.A. Schultz Construction, with a tax lien for $5,100. Moreover, Schultz headquartered that company in North Dakota rather than in his home state of Minnesota, so as to avoid the high corporate taxes he would have had to pay in the latter.
Healthcare reform was an issue about which Schultz felt particularly passionate.
- Enraged over Republican opposition to the type of reform that Democrats wanted, Schultz in September 2009 shouted: “The Republicans lie! They want to see you dead! They’d rather make money off your dead corpse! They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don’t have anything for her.”
- In a February 2010 discussion about healthcare reform, Schultz said “the Democrats should use” the numerous lifesaving heart operations that former Vice President Dick Cheney had undergone “as the example as to [the type of healthcare options] the Republicans have been voting against all along.” When a conservative blogger subsequently noted that Schultz had referenced Cheney’s heart problems in an effort to score a political point, Schultz angrily retorted: “You’re damn right, Dick Cheney’s heart’s a political football. We ought to rip it out and kick it around and stuff it back in him. I’m glad he didn’t tip over [and die]. He is the new poster child for health care in this country.”
- In January 2011, Schultz asserted that Republicans “have a pre-civil rights attitude when it comes to health care…. [T]hey want to openly discriminate against people because they’re sick…. This takes us back to the ’60s!… They want to deny people an opportunity to get better. They want to exclude. They want a two-class society.”
- Discussing the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) in August 2013, Schultz accused Republican critics of maliciously “lying about” a law that “saves lives,” “is good for America,” and “is the most positive thing that this country has done since the civil rights legislation that was passed back in the ’60s.”
- In October 2013, Schultz accused congressional Republicans who sought to defund Obamacare of committing “economic terrorism” and plotting a “legislative coup d’etat” against the President. Regarding Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s criticisms of the ACA in particular, Schultz said in November 2013: “Under Obamacare, people’s lives will be saved. It’s an absolute. And I think it’s fair to say that Michele Bachmann wanting to deny 30 million Americans health care is anti-American.”
- In November 2013, Schultz was one of a number of liberal and left-wing journalists and commentators whom President Obama invited to the White House to discuss ways in which they could put a positive spin on Obamacare, which had become a public-relations disaster. Other notables in attendance included David Corn and Juan Williams.
Schultz, who owned two North Dakota companies—Ed Schultz Broadcasting, LLC and E.A. Schultz Construction, LLC—commonly criticized companies that did not offer health insurance to their workers. But he himself did not provide such insurance for his employees.
In April 2013, Schultz’s weekday program, whose audience was comparatively small, was moved to weekends only, but on August 26 of that year it returned to a daily weekday broadcast schedule (at 5 pm ET).
On August 24, 2013, during MSNBC’s live coverage of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the historic March on Washington, Schultz praised Al Sharpton, who organized the event and served as its keynote speaker. Said Schultz: “There’s no doubt that Reverend [Al] Sharpton is the contemporary civil rights leader of our time….”
In December 2013, it was learned that Schultz, who had repeatedly criticized wealthy Republicans and conservatives for owning private jets, himself owned a number of private jets and routinely concealed his flight data from the public. Specifically, Schultz owned, at that time, a Cessna 560 (worth approximately $5 million), a Cessna 208B (worth over $1.5 million), and a Piper Cheyenne turboprop (with an estimated value exceeding $2 million). Moreover, he had previously sold a Cessna 560 to Lakin Tire West, Inc. in 2011.
According to Labor Department records, Schultz received no donations from labor unions between fiscal years 2000 and 2004—when he was not yet a passionate advocate for unions over the airwaves. In 2005, however, he became an outspoken defender of organized labor, and in the years that followed, he received hundreds of thousands of union dollars:
- In fiscal 2005, he received $5,000 from Laborers’ International.
- In fiscal 2006, he received $21,820 from unions—including $8,820 from AFSCME, $7,500 from Laborers’ International, and $5,500 from Air Traffic Controllers (for “political activities”).
- In fiscal 2007, he was paid $8,616 by the the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or IBEW (for “representational activities”).
- In fiscal 2008, he was paid $22,304 by unions—including $10,000 from United Steelworkers, $7,304 from Air Traffic Controllers, and $5,000 from Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189.
- In fiscal 2009, he received $42,500 from unions—including $17,500 from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, $10,000 from AFSMCE, and $7,500 each from the Building and Construction Trades union and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. (All of those donations were for “political activities.”)
- In fiscal 2010, he was paid $37,350 by unions—including $15,000 from AFSCME, $14,850 from the IBEW, and $7,500 from the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
- In fiscal 2011, he received $190,000 from the CWA (for “representational activities”) and $9,900 from the IBEW.
- In fiscal 2012, he received at least $177,000 from unions.
- In fiscal 2013, he was paid $75,000 by unions.
In a December 12, 2013 statement to Politico.com, MSNBC spokesperson Lauren Skowronski said that the union payments to Schultz were for advertisements on his radio program and website, as well as for speaking engagements. Skowronski also said that all funds from speaking engagements had been donated to charity, in keeping with company policy.
On July 30, 2015, MSNBC president Phil Griffin announced that Schultz’s television program was being cancelled; the show aired its final episode the following day, with Schultz absent from the set.
Schultz subsequently began airing a daily, half-hour podcast in which he commented on news and current events. During one episode in December 2015, he condemned Republicans for allegedly obstructing stricter gun-control laws that, in his opinion, would decrease the incidence of mass shootings and other gun crimes. In the process, Schultz also derided the U.S. Constitution, particularly its Second Amendment:
“So what has to happen here, folks, and this is political tough talk — if the Democrats don’t want any silence, then they have to speak up and just tell the American people we can’t get anything done on gun violence because Republicans are in the way. Put it on the obstructors. Put it on the people who always defend a piece of paper [the Constitution] that was two hundred and twenty-five years old or whatever, back in a society that doesn’t even exist today, the Second Amendment. There has to be rules and regulations for a contemporary society…. Then maybe you might strike a nerve with the American people to get rid of some of these jackasses who live by an old document that is just totally outdated.”
In January 2016, Schultz took a job as the anchorman of a prime-time political news program, titled The News With Ed Schultz, with the Kremlin-backed television organization RT America — a branch of Russia Today TV.
Schultz, who had a history of heart problems, died at his home in Washington, D.C. on July 5, 2018.
- “Ed Schultz, Blunt-Spoken Political Talk-Show Host, Dies at 64” (NY Times, 7-5-2018)
- “Man of the Month: Ed Schultz” (Esquire, 1-29-2007)
- “Ed Schultz — A Progressive Voice from Norfolk to America’s Heartland” (The Virginian-Pilot, 3-13-2004)
- “Ed Schultz, Who Compared Limbaugh to Hitler, Slams Hitler Comparisons” (NewsBusters.org, 1-13-2015)
- “MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Calling Dick Cheney an ‘Enemy’ of America ‘Not Uncivil,’ Says … Richard Dreyfuss” (CNS News, 1-28-2011)
- “Ed Schultz Meltdown: Harry Reid ‘Ball-less’ – Won’t Shove GOP Bastards Into Ditch” (NewsBusters.org, 7-15-2010)
- “MSNBC’s Schultz Compares Tea Party Movement to Nazi ‘Brown Shirts’ to Demonize Beck Rally” (NewsBusters.org, 8-25-2010)
- “Ed Schultz Calls Republicans ‘Bastards,’ Apologizes” (Huffington Post, 1-6-2011)
- “Ed Schultz: ‘The Republican Party Stands For Racism’” (NewsBusters.org, 4-27-2011)
- “Libtalker Ed Schultz Calls Laura Ingraham A ‘Right-Wing Slut’” (Real Clear Politics, 5-25-2011)
- “Schultz Regrets Perry Remark about ‘Big Black Cloud’” (MSNBC, 8-16-2011)
- “MSNBC’s Schultz Charges Conservatives Want to ‘Keep a Minority Down’” (NewsBusters.org, 7-1-2013)
- “Ed Schultz Rails Against ‘Conservative Separatist Movement,’ Compares GOP to White Supremacists” (Media Research Center, 8-27-2013)
- “MSNBC’s Schultz Slams George Will for ‘Racist’ Attack on Detroit” (Media Research Center, August 2013)
- “MSNBC’s Schultz Calls Fox News’ Steve Doocy ‘Steve Douchey’” (Truth Revolt, 11-25-2013)
- “Ed Schultz to ‘Heartless and Cruel’ Republicans: Extend Unemployment Because of Cold!” (NewsBusters.org, 1-6-2014)
- “Year-End Awards: The Ku Klux Con Job Award for Smearing Conservatives with Phony Racism Charges” (NewsBusters.org, 12-25-2014, re: “not raising the minimum wage is a racist policy”)
- “Ed Schultz: Employee-Stiffing, Tax-Dodging Man of the People” (Daily Caller, 12-17-2013)
- “A Puzzled Ed Schultz Marvels: ‘It Amazes Me That People Don’t Love Obama’” (Media Research Center, 9-13-2013)
- “Ed Schultz: Republicans Want You Dead!” (NewsBusters.org, 1-23-2009)
- “Ed Schultz Uses Cheney’s Heart Attack To Push Healthcare Reform” (NewsBusters.org, 2-23-2010)
- “MSNBC’s Schultz Derides NewsBusters, Urges: ‘We Ought to Rip Out’ Cheney’s Heart” (NewsBusters.org, 2-25-2010)
- “Race Card: Schultz Claims Republicans Have ‘Pre-Civil Rights Attitude’ On Obamacare” (NewsBusters.org, 1-19-2011)
- “Ignore Republican Lies: ObamaCare Is Best Thing in 50 Years” (Media Research Center, 8-26-2013)
- “Unhinged Ed Schultz: GOP Committing ‘Economic Terrorism,’ ‘Coup d’Etat’ With Shutdown” (Media Research Center, 10-15-2013)
- “Ed Schultz, Judge of Patriotism: Michele Bachmann ‘Is Anti-American’” (Media Research Center, 11-20-2013)
- “Obama Woos Liberal Journalists With Another Off-The-Record Meeting” (by Ben Shapiro, 11-21-2013)
- “Populist Blowhard Ed Schultz” Secretly Flies on His Own Fleet of Private Jets” (Daily Caller, 12-14-2013)
- “Ed Schultz [Was] Paid Nearly $200,000 By Unions in 2011, According to Labor Dept.” (NewsBusters.org, 3-9-2012)
- “MSNBC’s Ed Schultz paid $252,000 by unions in last two years” (Politico, 12-12-2013); “Ed Schultz Absent for Final MSNBC Show” (Mediaite.com, 7-31-2015).
- “Ed Schultz: Constitution is Totally Outdated Piece of Paper” (Truth Revolt, 12-8-2015)
- “Ed Schultz heads to Russia Today” (The Hill, 1-14-2016).