Liberal MSNBC anchor Ed Shultz incurred the wrath of his left-wing audience when he publicly came out in support of the construction of the Keystone pipeline. The host on Wednesday took the step of reading angry tweets on the Ed Show and responding to them. Aware that he was daring to leave the liberal reservation on this one issue, Schultz called the pipeline "controversial" and began, "Now, I know a lot of my viewers are surprised at my position on this." [MP3 audio here.]
The anchor quoted one tweet from a viewer who demanded, "We need to stop all oil and gas extraction." Schultz retorted, "Well, my response to that is the hard cold truth is the United States is an oil and gas dependent country and we're going to be for the foreseeable future." In the unfamiliar role of fending off liberal rage, he continued, "And I think it really is a disservice to the conversation and the debate to take an all-or-nothing approach to this." In a final jab at his critics, Schultz concluded, "We're not really confronting reality here."
Schultz attempted a liberal defense for his audience: "And I don't go along with this pipeline because it's going to be a big job creator. I go along with it because we're putting too much pressure on rail...There's going to be spills everywhere, but they won't be as big and it will reduce the risk if we have this pipeline."
The anchor then brought on two left-wing guests, Joe Romm of ClimateProgress.org and Josh Fox, producer of the movie Gasland, to spar with him.
It was an actual left-right debate on MSNBC. Who would have thought?
MSNBC journalist Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday worried that supporting Keystone could "ruin Obama's climate change legacy."
A partial transcript from the February 5 show can be found below:
ED SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show, folks. Tonight, we continue our conversation here on the Ed Show over the Keystone pipeline. And as you just saw, It's a controversial topic and it has some very different political bedfellows in all of this. Now, I know a lot of my viewers are surprised at my position on this. So, I wanted to take a moment tonight to directly address some of your questions and concerns. And we'll do this again on the Ed Show as well. On Twitter, Deborah on Twitter wrote, "it's about climate change. We need to stop all oil and gas extraction." Well, my response to that is the hard cold truth is the United States is an oil and gas dependent country and we're going to be for the foreseeable future. And I think it really is a disservice to the conversation and the debate to take an all-or-nothing approach to this. We're not really confronting reality here.
The State Department report did find that oil derived from the tar sands generates 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than crude. But you need to weigh the alternative, folks, as I see it. According to the same report, continuing to transport the oil by rail would release 28 percent more greenhouse gases than a pipeline. Another viewer wanted to know "Ed, if the pipeline is built, will it increase the rate of extraction?
Well, the State Department study says it is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction or the continued heavy demand of crude oil at refineries. And I think this is key here. If this is built, it doesn't mean that you and I going to be consuming more. We the consumers have to do something here. Here we can do something about safety with the pipeline.