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It’s hard to tell if Ed Schultz’s fans missed him.
After a two-week absence from MSNBC – a punishment for calling conservative radio talker Laura Ingraham a “slut” – the audience for The Ed Show on Monday trailed the average that he attracted throughout May.
MSNBC said 921,000 people tuned in to Ed, 20,000 fewer than he averaged in May, suggesting the suspension didn’t generate extra interest in Schultz the way a suspension helped Keith Olbermann late last year when he was with the cable news network.
In November, Olbermann returned to MSNBC after a few days away, and his audience shot up to 1.3 million a night in his first three days back, up from an average of 1.1 million during the month prior to his suspension.
Schultz’s total audience fell despite attracting 326,000 viewers ages 25-54, up from 298,000 in that demographic during May, and despite the good fortune to return in the midst of a big political story: Congressman Anthony Weiner admitting he had spent several days lying about tweeting a sexually explicit photo of himself to a 21-year-woman he had never met.
“Well, I left on an apology, and I come back watching an apology,” Schultz said.
For the record, Schultz’s advice to Weiner during the show was that he “take one for the team” and resign.
“Put yourself in the congressman’s position,” he told his audience. “He’s tweeting pictures to a girl half his age on company time and lying about it to the boss – and, by the way, you’re the taxpayer. You’re the boss. Do you think you would survive that in your workplace?”
(Video is below).
“There has to be more restitution than just stepping up and saying, ‘I’m sorry, and I’m not going to resign.’ That’s a little too arrogant for me,” Schultz said.
Then he asked his guest, The Rev. Al Sharpton: “Does he need counseling?”
Sharpton didn’t give a direct answer.
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