Schultz on new job for Russian government-owned network: ‘Nobody is going to tell Ed Schultz what to say’
Editor's note: This story was originially published on Jan. 15, 2016.
WASHINGTON – Former MSNBC progressive pundit Ed Schultz has found new television comrades.
The former Fargo area television and radio personality said Thursday that he’s now working for RT America, formerly called Russia Today.
“I’m back in prime-time at 8 o’clock where I belong,” Schultz said.
Schultz will host a half-hour broadcast called “News With Ed Schultz,” which will air at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Monday through Thursday starting Jan. 25.
“This is a great career opportunity. It’s an international news organization that functions on all continents. It’s something that I have never had the opportunity to do, and that’s anchor a nightly news program,” he said.
RT America, based in Washington, D.C., is part of the RT network, a global multilingual television network that runs cable and satellite channels and Internet content. It is based in Moscow and funded by the Russian government. RT says the English-language channel has more than 700 million viewers worldwide.
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Schultz will work out of RT America studios in Washington, D.C., the network said.
Schultz, who was critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin while at MSNBC, said he doesn’t anticipate any problems with his new employer.
“Nobody is going to tell Ed Schultz what to say,” he said in an interview with The Forum.
Schultz announced the new job Thursday in a YouTube video.
“For decades the American middle class has been railroaded by Washington politics,” Schultz says while standing next to a railroad track. “Big money corporate interest has drowned out a lot of voices. That’s how it is in the news culture in this country now. That’s where I come in. I’m Ed Schultz, I do the news on RT America. I’ll make sure you don’t get railroaded and you’ll get the straight talk and the straight news. Question more.”
Schultz’s “The Ed Show” was dropped from MSNBC’s daytime lineup along with two other programs last July. The move ended the tenure of one of MSNBC’s longest-serving hosts. Schultz had been on the air since 2009. He was a prime-time fixture on the network from 2011 to 2013.
“I could have retired. That’s not Ed Schultz; I’m not ready to do that. I got a lot of tire left. I have a lot of desire. This gives me a chance to do something that I haven’t had an opportunity to do in my career,” Schultz said.
Schultz got his start as a sports broadcaster for Fargo-Moorhead area television stations. He later moved to talk radio in the 1990s and took his radio show nationwide in 2004.
Schultz is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, where as a football quarterback he was named an All-American.
In October, Schultz said he would focus on giving the middle class a boost as president of a super PAC called Americans for a Strong Middle Class.
Schultz said the super PAC was created just as he was first approached by RT.
“I haven’t given it anywhere near the kind of effort that it needs. I’ve got to evaluate that as I move forward,” he said.
He said RT agreed to let him work on the super PAC and to run his firm, wegoted.com.