Ed Schultz, MSNBC’s ‘Fiery Populist,’ Gets Profiled

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By Alex Weprin Comments

The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz profiles MSNBC host Ed Schultz today. Schultz is a rising star at MSNBC, with his 6 PM time period the only one to be up over 2009 for the network.

Kurtz explains Schultz’s conversion from right-wing radio host to die-hard liberal activist, as well as how he was discovered by MSNBC president Phil Griffin.

Schultz also has a reputation for being incredibly passionate, which can turn into anger on a dime. In August, Schultz was called out for a temper tantrum he threw after not being included in election night promos.

Kurtz brings up the subject by discussing the attacks on Schultz by Rush Limbaugh:

Turns out the Rush grudge is personal. After the Today show did a story on him in 2004, Schultz recalls Limbaugh dismissing him as a $4-an-hour Fargo guy who would never make it. But in constantly carping on Limbaugh’s past addiction to painkillers, Schultz can sound as intolerant as any opponent.

“There are times I tell him he goes over the top and that TV is different than radio,” Griffin acknowledges. “A couple of times he’s crossed the line. I said, ‘Ed, you ran down the field 100 yards and you spiked the ball. Don’t spike the ball!’”

Of course, anger is not a bad trait to have on television, and while Schultz is still a distant second behind the suddenly-hot Bret Baier on Fox News, he has been improving MSNBC’s ratings significantly. In the TV business, ratings are what matter, not egos, and so far, he has been delivering.