Las Vegas — MSNBC’s Ed Schultz tonight slammed President Obama’s White House for its handling of the Shirley Sherrod debacle, suggesting that Obama and his team are afraid of Fox News and don’t use progressive media enough.
Speaking to a roaring opening night crowd at Netroots Nation at the Rio casino here, Schultz cursed through a spirited critique of Obama. Schultz pointed to the camera and said he was glad the speech was being recorded and wanted the White House to hear his message. Schultz also leveled insults at conservative Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln (AR), Ben Nelson (NE) and Mary Landrieu (LA), along with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who the netroots helped boot from the party in 2006. Schultz said he didn’t care if Democratic Senators boycott his show because he doesn’t need them for ratings. He also said that MSNBC “did a hell of a job fighting for health care.”But Schultz’s specific criticism was that the Obama administration reacts to controversies sparked in and furthered by conservative media.
“They must have a war room at the White House. I think they’ve got a sissy room too,” Schultz said. “I didn’t vote for that.”
Schultz said Democrats have failed to live up to their own platform passed at the Democratic Convention in 2008 and he challenged the activists and bloggers in the crowd: “If I’ve got the balls to say it, you better have the balls to write it.”
He said he supports primaries as needed to keep the party’s moral compass. “We have to do our vetting process. You’re either with us, or you’re against us in the progressive movement in America,” he said.
He also complained that Obama hasn’t gone on his show or sat recently for interviews with Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow, adding that during the campaign, “I busted my ass for Obama.” Schultz said that instead of going on The Ed Show, Obama went on Bret Baier’s show on Fox, “in my time slot. What’s that all about?”
Schultz said he’s “not anti-Obama” but wants to “change some plays” to help the Democrats win in November. Schultz said when former President George W. Bush was in trouble, he talked to the base. “You know what this outfit does? They react to Fox,” he said.
He said progressives should realize they are warring against a win-at-all-costs conservative media, saying that Fox News is out to “destroy the progressive movement.”
TPM is on the ground at Netroots through Sunday morning. Follow our coverage here.
The full speech is likely to be posted online later, but I shot a bit of the speech from the press riser. Watch: