Former MSNBC host Ed Schultz opened up in a recent interview about why he believes he was fired in 2015.
Schultz, who’s now anchor of a show on RT, told National Review‘s Jamie Weinstein that he believes it was because he supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), which was problematic, he charged, because the network was “in the tank for Hillary Clinton.”
He described how MSNBC chief Phil Griffin was a "watchdog" who closely managed which stories were covered, and relayed one incident where his story about Sanders’s launch of his campaign was bumped in favor of other news.
Sanders gave his official campaign launch speech in Burlington, Vermont on May 26, 2015, and Schultz said he was the only cable news host planning to air it live. He had also taped an interview with Sanders at the lawmaker's home ahead of the speech.
However, he said Griffin called him five minutes before air time at 5 p.m. EST, and he said, "You're not covering this."
"It got rather contentious," Schultz said.
He said he was forced to cover something "totally meaningless" in Texas—it involved devastating flooding in Texas and Oklahoma that had killed a dozen people—as well as the unrest in Baltimore over the death of Freddy Gray. Ultimately, "The Ed Show" did air Sanders' launch speech live when it began a little after 5:30 p.m. EST.
When Sanders' speech broke into the 6 p.m. hour hosted by Al Sharpton, he was cut off to go to news about developments on a police case in Cleveland. Sharpton covered Sanders' announcement later in the hour. Schultz aired his interview with Sanders the following day. (WFB)
"I think the Clintons were connected to [NBC News chief] Andy Lack, connected at the hip," Schultz said. "I think that they didn't want anybody in their primetime or anywhere in their lineup supporting Bernie Sanders. I think that they were in the tank for Hillary Clinton, and I think that it was managed, and 45 days later I was out at MSNBC."
"I thought it stunk," he continued.
“The Ed Show,” which ran from 2009 to 2015, was canceled in July—the same week the network spiked two other programs, “The Cycle” and “Now With Alex Wagner.”
According to a memo Griffin sent staffers about the cancelation of the shows, the changes were part of the network’s “plans to create a new look and flow for our dayside programming, our 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. hours will begin the pivot towards live, breaking news coverage — with interim hosts from among our very talented ranks.”
Schultz said he’s very happy at RT, the Russian state-run network he joined in January of 2016.
"I'm doing real journalism. It's not opinion," he said.
"There was more oversight and more direction given to me on content at MSNBC than there ever has been here at RT," he added. "I think that it's very sad that story is not getting out."