We now know that MSNBC’s David Shuster has been suspended over the Chelsea ‘pimp’ comment. It seems to me there are a couple possibilities for what is happening here.
What Shuster said was tasteless and crude. And even the logic behind it, let alone the way he said it, didn’t really make sense to me. I don’t come close to defending it. And he should apologize for saying it, which he did — though perhaps he might have done so more fulsomely. I do not think the comment played to specific stereotypes about women in general or about Hillary in particular as it would if you refer to a black man as “lazy” or “shiftless” or a woman as “shrill” or a “shrew.” Nor am I aware that Shuster has any history of such comments — unlike some other MSNBC TV personalities.
Unlike pretty much everyone else on the chat shows he’s a reporter who consistently does pretty solid investigative pieces. But regardless of that, who can name me the last political chat show host or reporter who was suspended over anything? To say that he’s being held to a different standard than TV chatters normally are is probably a farcical statement in itself since I’m not clear that there are any standards.
Does anyone watch Fox News?
On the other hand, many have rightly criticized Chris Matthews for his repeatedly degrading, often sexist and consistently clownish comments about Hillary Clinton. The most logical way for me to understand this development is that MSNBC is under a lot of fire for Matthews — but Matthews is untouchable — and Shuster’s easier to can or suspend.