Ed Schultz tells David Sirota to "go to hell" over questions about Osama bin Laden hit

AM 760 host David Sirota recently said his growing ratings were due in part to the fact that "when we do politics, it's not just 'Democrats are great and Republicans are terrible'" -- and he proved it today during a fiery on-air disagreement with Ed Schulz, a progressive favorite (and MSNBC staple) whose radio program airs on AM 760 immediately after Sirota's. The spat, over whether questions should be raised about the legality of Osama bin Laden's killing, included Schultz telling Sirota, "Go to hell."

Sirota's on the side of Keith Olbermann, Michael Moore and others on the left, who suspect that bin Laden was simply assassinated in a manner that may have violated international law. In contrast, Schultz has argued that "liberal hand-wringing" over the issue is counter-productive -- a view that infuriates Sirota, who argues in favor of more questions by journalists, not fewer.

Against this backdrop, Sirota went on the air at a little past 9 a.m. this morning to say he'd heard through the grapevine that Schultz wanted to yell at him -- and things did indeed get testy when Big Ed came on the line a few moments later.

In regard to the bin Laden killing, Schultz said, "The issue is settled. The Attorney General of the United States made a comment the day after the operation went down in Pakistan, saying that undoubtedly he was killed in a war setting -- in a war zone -- and that it was legal."

This assertion wasn't good enough for Sirota, who alluded to the Richard Nixon era, when claims of legality by administration officials regularly proved inaccurate. These references sparked a minute or so during which the two men barked over each other; that's when the "Go to hell" surfaces. Shortly thereafter, Sirota put Schultz on hold -- the ultimate insult to a yakker accustomed to doing the same thing to others. No surprise that Schultz promptly hung up.

In the interview linked above, Sirota maintained that "people are looking for something different than having partisan talking points screamed at them" -- something he referred to as "thundering-fist, angry-male radio." But while the Sirota-Schultz exchange might seem to fit this description, it's actually a more unusual hybrid -- media pros going after a presumed kindred spirit with the same passion with which they typically use against ideological foes.

To listen to the exchange, click here. You can fast-forward to Schultz's appearance, which begins just past the eight-minute mark.

More from our Media archive: "David Sirota named justice on Matt Taibbi's Supreme Court of Assholedom: Congrats!"

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts