Issues of ugly and unflammatory rhetoric continue to dog MSNBC even as it appears the cable channel is trying to move toward the center following its takeover by Comcast.
Wednesday night, MSNBC announced that talk-show host Ed Schultz would be suspended for one week without pay starting Thursday for calling conservative commentator Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut" on his radio show Tuesday.
Here's the statement from the cable channel: "MSNBC management met with Ed Schultz this afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpiad leave for the remarks he made yesterday on his radio program.... Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
The action came after conservative groups and at least one women's group denounced Schultz for the remarks and called on MNBC, which operates as part of NBC News, to make it clear that such language was unacceptable.
This is not the first time Schultz has said something coarse, crude, ugly and offensive. In September, he was reprimanded by the channel for calling New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a "cold-hearted fat slob."
See that in the video above. But the "slut" remark is far nastier and loaded with gender issues that suggest Schultz needs counseling -- or a new job where his inability to control his impulses and tongue don't offend mass audiences.
There is something else that I find problematic: The statement that he volunteered to take a week without pay. Doesn't this sound like the chronic abuser who loses control and is then contrite and asks for a some form of punishment that will allow him to symbolically atone without really being punished by banishment?
Schultz has anger management issues, and there really is no place for a guy like this in live media -- or any kind of media.
MSNBC once tried to bottle and package the kind of partisan rage Schultz exhibits. But it's clearly not being controlled effectively.
Let's hope the adults from Comcast now running this place see the problem and deal with it in a socially responsible manner.