I usually glaze over while trying to muddle through the Business section in my L.A. Times, but today my eyes and brain snapped to attention when I saw an article about Ed Schultz... a big article.
What must they be thinking, including such a lengthy piece about a Kenyan liberal French commie socialist TV host like Ed? Why, the very idea gave me the vapors as I reached for my fan and smelling salts and collapsed on my fainting couch!
The article explains how he went from being a Republican (he was until 2000) to a very vocal liberal who consistently stands up for the middle class, unions, and the unemployed. His wife, Wendy, is a psychiatric nurse, and she took him to a homeless shelter on their first date. According to the Times, that "helped open his eyes to progressive causes."
Here are a few excerpts, starting with why we don't see more progressives represented in the media:
Part of the problem is that corporate advertisers are leery of buying space on liberal broadcasts that often attack corporate interests, noted Jeff Cohen, an associate professor of journalism at Ithaca College. In 2006, a leaked internal memo from ABC Radio Networks revealed a list of corporations that requested their commercials never be placed on Air America. [...]
Schultz, however, isn't content with anemic ratings. He's presenting himself as the one true advocate for the working man. [...]
Ratings suggest the tactic is working. This year through early February, Schultz's nightly viewership has averaged 608,000, a 60% increase from his ratings during the same period in 2010, according to Nielsen. He's surpassed Cooper, who airs in the same time slot, though he has more than a million fewer viewers than O'Reilly, who also airs at 8 p.m.
Michael Harrison, the publisher of Talkers, a website and magazine that follows talk radio says that "there's a rise in 'liberal' broadcasting because there are more poor people looking for someone who talks to them." Or as I like to call them, sane, caring people.
I don't believe the increase is limited to poor people, but that more Americans are hopping on the bandwagon, thanks to the Occupy movement, for one.
One woman, Kelly Wiedemer, is a 99er (someone who has surpassed 99 weeks of unemployment benefits) who says that Ed was one of the only people she heard talking about long-term unemployment. She speaks for a lot of people, apparently:
"He was our voice," she said. "He really did make a difference" in getting groups such as the Congressional Black Caucus interested in the 99ers and putting forth legislation to extend benefits.
Hey L.A. Times, how about an article like this about Rachel Maddow, since you've previously covered Keith Olbermann and now Ed? She's one of the brightest, most thorough, astute hosts out there and covers topics that nobody else touches.
That said, it was gratifying to see a major newspaper shine the spotlight on Ed today.
Ed and I follow each other on Twitter. I suggest following him at @EdShow and @WeGotEd. The Ed Show handle is his TV show account, and We Got Ed seems to be used for his radio show tweets. You can also use #EdShow or @EdShow to tweet during his TV show where they air as many tweets as they can in real time, then recycle them once or twice. I've had a few of mine appear, and many, many of my Twitter pals'; it's a nice way to get your voice out there.
You can read the whole Times piece here.