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Ed Schultz gets it wrong: claims 1 NE Democrat signed pro-Keystone XL letter

By   /   March 8, 2014  /   No Comments

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. – MSNBC’s Ed Schultz featured a Nebraska Watchdog story on his Ed Show Friday about the Keystone XL oil pipeline – only problem is, the words that came out of his mouth didn’t match the reporting we’ve done on the issue this week.

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ED: Ed Schultz of MSNBC’s Ed Show quoted a Nebraska Watchdog story on his show Friday, but got his facts wrong.

During the opening to his show, about 9 1/2 minutes in, Schultz put on screen our May 2013 story about the $27.4 million lobbyists spent in Nebraska in 2011-2012. That figure includes $700,000 spent by TransCanada lobbying for the pipeline it wants to build across America. He then cuts to former Sen. Abbie Cornett, a Republican, saying there was heavy lobbying on both sides.

He then refers to a letter 29 Nebraska state senators sent this week to the U.S. State Department in support of Keystone XL – a number that grew to 34 by week’s end.

“Heavy lobbying on both sides, but on that letter that was sent to John Kerry from Nebraska, there was only one Democrat,” Schultz said on the show. “They’re all Republicans – only one Democrat.”

Schultz spends considerable time in the segment accusing others of lying or making up numbers. “Prove me wrong,” he says.

He got that flat-out wrong. If he’d scrolled over to our home page, he’d have seen that a number of Democrats signed the letter – nine Democrats, to be exact. Just three Democrats signed a different letter opposing the pipeline.

Perhaps he got confused by Nebraska’s unique nonpartisan Legislature, where party affiliation is not magnified or easily found. Candidates run for the office without an R or D by their names.

The pro-pipeline letter was signed by the following Republican senators: Jim Smith, Pete Pirsch, Kathy Campbell, Lydia Brasch, Mike Gloor, Beau McCoy, John Murante, John Nelson, Galen Hadley, Ken Schilz, Scott Lautenbaugh, Bill Kintner, John Harms, Dave Bloomfield, Tom Hansen, Jerry Johnson, Mark Christensen, Paul Schumacher, Tommy Garrett, Tom Carlson, Al Davis, Dan Watermeier, Bob Krist, Jim Scheer and John Wightman.

The pro-pipeline letter was also signed by the following Democratic lawmakers: Kate Bolz, Norm Wallman, Russ Karpisek, Steve Lathrop, Bill Avery, Heath Mello, Brad Ashford, Jeremy Nordquist and Burke Harr.

Former Douglas County Democrat executive director Kris Pierce first alerted us to Ed’s error, pointing out on Twitter Friday that Schultz didn’t correct his false report. Pierce tweeted that Schultz used “false facts” and “accusations of crooked Nebraska senators” being influenced by TransCanada lobbyists.

Pierce then took to Facebook to explain his concern, writing, “To those who question my integrity, you can take a long walk off a short pier. I have no real opinion either way on the pipeline, my thoughts on this project are public. But no side of this issue should report false ‘facts’ and this goes for either side. This just happened to be a very black and white fact that cannot be disputed.”

Contact Deena Winter at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org.

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Deena Winter has been a journalist for over 20 years, writing stories for the Northwood Gleaner, Bismarck Tribune, Associated Press, Denver Post and Lincoln Journal Star before joining Watchdog.