It Reminded Me Of Mr. Ed, The Talking Horse

For a guy in the broadcast industry for 30 years, one would expect Ed Schultz not to be conned by a politician. That’s exactly what transpired in Monday’s launching of “The Ed Show” on MSNBC.

Politicians are notorious for not answering questions directly. President Barack Obama is the best of the best. His Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is in his boss’s league.

Mr. Ed, as I shall call him until he gets his act together, asked what safeguards are in place so small businesses can compete for federal stimulus funds to build roads and bridges. A great question.

LaHood sidestepped the question. He stuck to his talking points saying how many millions of dollars were allocated for projects determined by state governors. We still don’t know if small business has a chance in hell to compete against the big guys.

It was a great question because the theme of “The Ed Show” is advocacy of the middle class, the blue collar guys who are the grunts of our economic system. If mega firms are the only ones to compete for rebuilding our infrastructure, then the middle class once again takes it in the shorts.

MSNBC’s press release says Schultz emerged as the foremost “progressive” radio talk show voice in America with a number of prestigious awards honoring his work.

He joins the network’s Eastern time zone prime time stable of Chris Mathews (the political wonk), Keith Olbermann (the opposition’s hatchet man) and Rachael Maddow (left-wing flame thrower).

The cable network remains the lowest rated in most survey categories of its competitors CNN and Fox News and unashamedly gears itself to attract a niche audience of progressive viewers.

The ratings battle between MSNBC’s David and Fox’s Goliath is rather amusing and entertaining. My personal formula for credibility of each network is to take what each says and divide by two.

At any rate, Mr. Ed is probably a decent addition to the MSNBC political team but for the life of me cannot imagine how he will catapult the network’s ratings. His competitors are Fox’s Brett Bair and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. One of his problems is that on the West Coast at 3 p.m. the very corps of listeners he hopes to corral are still working.

I like the format and theme of “The Ed Show.” Schultz has a long way to go to finesse and fine-tune it. The opening editorial or commentary segment is entertaining with room to grow on substantive issues. But, he cannot be Mr. Nice Guy and allow guest answers to circumvent his questions.

What concerns me most about both MSNBC and Fox is that unless you channel-surf the viewer is left with a warped, biased impression of what is going on in the world. One can take only so much in a single sitting listening to the delivery of news with an attitude.
Cross posted on The Remmers Report

Author: JERRY K. REMMERS, TMV Columnist

Jerry Remmers worked 26 years in the newspaper business. His last 23 years was with the Evening Tribune in San Diego where assignments included reporter, assistant city editor, county and politics editor.