Liberal Talk Radio Host Ed Schultz Has Rashomon Bar Feud

September 7th, 2007 8:43 AM

Reminiscent of the movie Rashomon, liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz had an encounter in a bar which occurred in different ways depending on which witness is recounting what happened. Actually there are Rashomon versions of how this former conservative became a liberal in the first place. According to Schultz, he became converted to liberalism over baloney sandwiches with his future wife at a Salvation Army cafeteria. South Dakota Politics blog in 2004 gave a more monetary reason for Schultz's "conversion":

...the Ed Schultz Show is financed purely by money from Democratic donors. Democracy Radio, the umbrella organization that syndicates the Ed Schultz Show, is led by Democratic media consultant Tom Athans, who is married to Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Last November, several Democratic senators, including Senator Daschle, "feted" Ed Schultz at a fundraiser held in Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu's home in Washington, D.C., according to the New Republic.

And now we have conflicting Rashomon versions of a bar feud involving Schultz that occurred last weekend. First the Ed Schultz version of the events as reported by the September 5 edition of the Fargo, ND In-Forum News:

Local and national radio talk show host Ed Schultz spent 45 minutes of his local show this morning defending his actions in a weekend altercation at Hotel Shoreham along Lake Sallie near Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Schultz said a man approached him inside the hotel bar and wanted to talk about their differing political views and the war in Iraq.

“The Ed Schultz Show” is a liberal national talk show.

Schultz, who was with his wife, Wendy, said the man and a woman with him would not end the conversation despite Schultz’s attempts to do so. He said everyone involved had been drinking.

“Finally, I put my beer on the bar and put my finger in his face,” Schultz told listeners to KFGO’s “News and Views” morning radio show. “I told the guy, 'I didn't come here for this.'"

Schultz said the woman with the man also addressed his wife with profanity.

“If someone comes up to you in public and calls your wife (references to expletives), what are you going to do?”

Schultz said he engaged in harmless shoving with the man. He said he knew if he hit the man, he could be arrested, and that could sink his professional career.

“That’s in my contract. I can’t be arrested,” Schultz said. “Am I now the target? I’m against the war. I think Bush is a fraud.”

Okay, we now have the Ed Schultz version of the event but thanks to the Say Anything blog we also have the input of his bar opponent, Kevin Nagle, as to what happened:

I took the liberty of contacting Nagle directly and learned a few things that are pretty shocking, and certainly didn’t make it into the Fargo Forum article about this incident (or Schultz’s accounting of it).

To wit:

  • After the altercation, Schultz talked about it on both his local North Dakota talk radio show and his national show. Apparently Schultz has given out Mr. Nagle’s phone number to his listeners, and Nagle has been receiving hordes of phone calls to the point where it is threatening his ability to serve his clients.
  • At one point Schultz asked Nagle why he and his family weren’t over fighting the war in Iraq, and Nagle responded by pointing out that some of his family was, in fact, in Iraq. Or had been in Iraq. Schultz responded to this by saying that he hates “f***ing right-wing Republicans” and threatening Nagle to the point where the restaurant security began to take notice
  • Nagle responded to Schultz’s threat by saying he and his group were going to leave, at which point either someone from the hotel/bar or one of Schultz’s party (Nagle isn’t clear on this) grabbed his arms and pinned them behind him as Schultz approached with a fist cocked as though he was going to throw a punch.
  • Before Schultz was able to throw a punch, Nagle’s fiancee stepped in and Ed’s fist grazed both her and Nagle.
  • Nagle’s fiancee has bruises from this encounter.
  • At this point things were broken up. Nagle spoke with the bar owner, named Rick, and was told that he and his party were free to stay and that Schultz had left. Nagle is unsure of Ed left because he was asked to or because he simply fled.

Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer has an interesting speculation as to what might have motivated this bar encounter:

Was Big Eddie's meltdown the result of too many "cool ones", or a stunt designed to remove persistent "progressive" doubts concerning his true political stripes?