On his radio show yesterday, Ed Schultz asked Rich Stockwell, executive producer for "The Ed Show" on MSNBC, about their responsibility in covering Occupy protests.
Stockwell's response (audio) -- "Well, look, as journalists we need to cover this story. We need to let people know where it is, what it means, try to understand it, get people on who speak literately about it, and capture the mood of the country." (video and audio clips after page break)
First time I can recall hearing Schultz described as a journalist (you too, right?) and apparently he believes it as well, based on what Schultz vented later that day about Donald Trump moderating a GOP presidential debate in Iowa on Dec. 27 (audio) --
Are you kidding me?! You mean to tell me that there are going to be candidates on the Republican Party that are actually going to show up and allow Donald Trump to moderate the debate with any level of seriousness? Trump just on MSNBC just a moment ago on the phone with Tamron Hall saying that I'm going to give the endorsement at some point. (guffaws) This is just, this is such a circus! This is unbelievable! There is a moderator of a debate who is going to eventually give an endorsement. He is nowhere near journalism.
Yet all of two days earlier, given the chance to engage in something approximating journalism, Schultz didn't go anywhere near it. Sen. Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, was a guest on Schultz's radio show, speaking with Schultz by phone from the Capitol on the same day President Obama was making a high-profile speech in Scranton, Pa., Casey's hometown.
Obvious question -- why aren't you with the president in Scranton today, Sen. Casey? In a seven-minute interview, this was as close as Schultz got (audio) --
SCHULTZ: What do you make, well, why is the president going to Scranton, Pa.? (chuckles)
CASEY: Well, because we've got a real jobs challenge. That's my hometown and my home county and home region and it's, as a region it's one of the highest unemployment regions, it is the highest unemployment region right now in the state. It's like a lot of places in America and I think a lot of people in Scranton are going to ask, not a question that they ask in Washington about politics, they're going to ask one fundamental question of every public official -- what are you doing about jobs?
And what we're trying to do this week is to pass not only an extension but, but a further development of the payroll tax cut so that working families have a shot to get a little break in a tough economy and put $1,500 in the pockets of the average working family. So, we'll see what the other side does, but if they're not going to vote for this, they've gotta answer the question, what are you going to do about jobs?
SCHULTZ: Well, so, I'm hearing that the president's not going where it's good, he's going where it's pretty tough right now. He's going right to the heart of the problem, is that correct?
CASEY: He is, yeah. It'd be easier for him to go to a place where it's lower unemployment and people are feeling better and he's going into a community which has had high unemployment for a long time. I live there. I know the people there better than anyone and they are hurting and we need help and one of the things, the main reason he's going there in terms of visit this week is because we're down here in Washington trying to line up votes for a payroll tax cut.
For the rest of the interview, Casey touted the benefits of extending and expanding the payroll tax cut and Schultz never did get around to asking that obvious question. No such reluctance from CNN's John King later that day in a pretty good approximation of actual journalism, right out of the gate (video) --
KING: Joining us from Capitol Hill, a son of Scranton, Pa., Democratic senator Bob Casey. Senator, you're on the ballot in 2012. The president is not only in your state but in your hometown today. Republicans say you're not there because you don't want that picture, that you're afraid to stand with the president. True?
CASEY: No. John, that's a ridiculous political argument. One thing that's abundantly clear right now is the people in Scranton that I represent, the place I live and the county within which I live in the whole state, they want us to focus on job creation and we're doing that this week, especially by working to pass a payroll tax cut bill and they want me to vote. And I've got to be here for votes whether it's on the payroll tax but today it was on the defense authorization bill. So, that's my job and I'm doing my job.
KING: And so we'll see you, time and time again, side by side with the president over the next 11 months, right?
CASEY: Oh sure, it'll be a long, it'll be a long year. It's an election year, we'll be on the road a lot.
KING: All right, we'll hold you to that, senator. The Republicans are skeptical.
... And skeptical as well of Casey's claim about the Senate voting that day on the defense authorization bill -- seeing how the vote did not take place until the following night, as did Senate votes on the payroll tax extension.
Casey's flimsy excuse for avoiding Obama's visit to home sweet home is all the more amusing considering how the politics of the two men are indistinguishable, as mocked in a hilarious "separated at birth" video (embedded in this post) from Casey's GOP opponent Steve Welch.