Published March 6, 2011
Received this e-mail Friday morning from Tony Paglia, vice president, government affairs, of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber:
“Saw your Stirfry item on the fellow from the Ed Show. We just got word yesterday that Ed won’t be coming after all. NBC was going to let us know the reason today, but sounds like a scheduling problem. NBC is suppose to get us someone else for the annual meeting. We hope to be announcing that later today once we hear from them.”
Paglia’s note came on the heels of a posting by this writer on Thursday afternoon about Shultz’s scheduled visit to Youngstown.
Here’s what was written:
“Chamber holds out an olive branch
“Democrats in the Mahoning Valley are still smarting over Tom Humphries’ endorsement of Republican John Kasich in last November’s race for governor. And, although Humphries, chief executive officer of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, can claim vindication as a result of Kasich’s victory over Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland, this predominantly Democratic region isn’t ready to forgive, nor forget.
“Indeed, Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras has wasted no time in linking Humphries to Kasich’s and the GOP’s attack on public employee unions. A letter from the chairman could be forthcoming.
“Aware of this political bitterness, the chamber appears to have adopted an appeasement strategy. The business-oriented organization’s keynote speaker for its 2011 annual meeting and luncheon on March 24 is Ed Shultz, anchor of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show”, and a 30-year veteran of television and talk radio.
“Here’s what the chamber invitation to the event says about the guest speaker: “A progressive, Shultz is an avid voice for the middle class.”
“That doesn’t begin to describe him. Suffice it to say that if uses the transcript of his show Wednesday night — Congressman Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, was a guest — as the template for his chamber speech, there’ll be a lot of businessmen and women squirming in their seats.
“He accused the Republicans in Congress and in state governments in Ohio and Wisconsin of class warfare.
“Wonder if Shultz will get a standing ovation if he repeats his contention that Republicans are “bastards” who want to destroy the American dream. He did apologize for using the offensive language.”
Paglia is a veteran newspaperman, having served as a reporter and an editor for The Vindicator, for many years, so he’ll certainly not be surprised by this writer’s cynical response to his e-mail: Really? Ed Shultz has a scheduling conflict?
In order to accept that explanation, you have to believe the talk show host was a last-minute sign on and that the chamber knew there was a possibility of his canceling. The luncheon is on March 24, which prompts this question: When did the chamber begin planning the event?