Neal Conan, the former host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation from 2001 to 2013, is repenting for the fact that he had used the word “schlonged” four years before Donald Trump.
He is apologizing, not just for using the word, but for giving Trump “a veneer of respectability for yet another in a disturbingly long series of nasty, hateful diatribes.”
Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Conan relates, “On Tuesday morning while making coffee, I noticed the following tweet from @publicradionerd in my notifications feed: ‘does @NealConan know he’s (in?)famous now?’”
Conan explains that his use of “schlonged,” loosely translated as “shafted,” in describing the 1984 Reagan blowout of the Mondale-Ferraro ticket, has been used to justify Trump’s use of the word. Trump had said Hillary Clinton had been “schlonged” by Barack Obama in her 2008 race for the Democratic nomination.
On March 30, 2011, hosting Talk of the Nation for NPR, with guests Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson, Conan reported the death of Grealdine Ferraro, commenting:
Sad news to report from this past weekend; Geraldine Ferraro died of lung cancer at the age of 75, the three-term congresswoman from Queens, the first woman to run for vice-president of the United States in 1984, the first woman on a major party ticket to do so. And Chris Cillizza, that ticket went on to get schlonged at the polls, but that’s a historic moment.
Cillizza replied, “Absolutely historic moment, Neal, but as you point out, lost 49 states. The only state that that ticket won, which was led by Walter Mondale, was his home state.” Neither Cillizza nor Liasson slammed Conan for using the word “schlonged.”
Conan writes that when he was alerted of his sudden return to fame, “I sipped my coffee, sent a tweet saying I was surprised that the good and upright folks in transcripts knew how to spell the word…”. He adds, “When I picked up my phone again a few hours later, I was startled to see the number 20 next to my notifications icon. Then even more startled when I realized it was actually 20+; apparently that’s as high as Twitter can count.”
Eager to defend himself, Conan tweeted that “Trump had misused the word. Clinton, after all, came pretty close to the Democratic nomination in 2008, while the Mondale/Ferraro ticket really had been schlonged in 1984.”
In truth, Trump’s use was correct and Conan’s incorrect; as Newsmax reported in 2008, Clinton’s campaign was furious about Barack Obama’s cheating in the caucuses of Iowa, Hawaii, Nevada and Texas. Clinton had genuinely been “schlonged.”