Ed Schultz, the country's most widely syndicated progressive talk radio host, went into a lengthy diatribe on Tuesday over the refusal of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden to come on his show.
The Fargo-based talker, whose weekly audience is more than 2.5 million, saved much of his scorn for Clinton, who he claimed either does not give "a damn," or is "afraid" to answer his questions. The rant, which lasted nearly eight minutes, was prompted by a caller who accused Schultz of having an unfound bias against Clinton.
"How many times do we have people call in complaining about the main stream media not reporting this and not reporting that," the talk show host declared. "We give them a microphone and they don't even freaking use it. I am done with the Clintons. I'm done with the cheap shots. I'm done with the innuendos. I'm done with the blaming it on the Des Moines Register. Hillary I do not want you to be the nominee. Biden I do not want you to be the nominee. I'm taking a stand here..."
A producer at Schultz's show told the Huffington Post that Clinton has gone on the program only a few times in the past year, compared to more than half a dozen appearances by Sens. John Edwards, D-NC, and Barack Obama, D-IL. Both Schultz and his team have, he said, worked tirelessly to book the New Yorker. Usually they are offered either thinly veiled excuses or promises that an interview could happen down the road.
"She is," the producer said, "the most difficult person to deal with in progressive talk radio."
Schultz, it should be noted, generally refuses to put surrogates on his program without the candidate appearing first. But he has hosted Clinton supporters such as Paul Begalla, Sen. Evan Bayh, and former DNC chairman Terry McAuliff.
"Does Hillary Clinton think that I am going to nail her," Schultz asked his inquiring caller. "Does she think that this is some kind of torpedo thing or something? Every time the Bush white house gets in trouble they don't run, they sprint with a stopwatch to Fox News."
Schultz's rant underscores what is, at times, a tepid if not acrimonious relationship between Clinton and the press. A day after the radio segment, the Washington Post's media reporter, Howard Kurtz, authored a column detailing how the Clinton campaign has "grown convinced that the media deck is stacked against them." Kurtz went on to note that at least several journalist agree that Clinton draws harsher scrutiny than other candidates, a point that Politico's Ben Smith examines even deeper.
Roughly a month ago, Kurtz filed another Clinton-media story, this time detailing how reporters often find themselves fruitlessly chasing the presidential candidate from campaign stop to campaign stop.
On Tuesday, Schultz echoed this complaint. He also lumped his snubbing at the hands of Clinton - and, to a lesser extent, Biden - into a larger criticism; that Democratic politicians, unlike Republicans, don't feel the need to feed their progressive media base.
"We're in this fight together," he said. "I am absolutely perplexed about how Hillary Clinton can stand up and say that 'we're so concerned about the right-wing sound machine and Rush Limbaugh and Hannity and all these other people with microphones, where's our people.' Well you know what Hillary, here we are, here we are."
The back-and-forth take with the caller ended on an accusatory note. Schultz asked whether Clinton was "concerned" about him discussing the campaign funds she received from Rupert Murdoch. "Maybe that is the question that she doesn't want to answer," the host said.
The caller responded by questioning whether or not accepting Murdoch's money was "against the law."
To which Schultz replied that he, the caller, was a "Hillary plant."