Howie Kurtz held his weekly chat yesterday and addressed, among many other things, John Kerry’s gaffe, Borat, and Saddam’s trial. Some excerpts:
- New York, N.Y.: In today’s article you said the media’s overplaying of Allen’s ‘macaca’ comment might be an indication of liberal bias. Why then isn’t media’s coverage of Kerry’s botched joke, which got about 100 times more air-time then macaca, an indication of conservative media bias?
Howard Kurtz: First, because Kerry, as the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, is much more of a national figure than a Senate candidate whose gaffe affected only his race. But more important, KERRY made it a national story by not only refusing to apologize but delivering a full-throated denunciation of the Bush White House for daring to criticize him, thus setting up a rematch between the ’04 contenders that was an irresistible media story. Once Kerry apologized and went underground, the story immediately favored.
Oxford, Miss.: I heard a report this weekend on “On The Media” criticizing news orgs for giving airtime to “Borat” (i.e., the character, not the actor who plays him), insisting that journalists should not interview fictional characters even for entertainment news. I can see the point but I’m not sure it’s really worth getting riled up over. What do you think?
Howard Kurtz: I’m not sure it’s worth getting riled up about. When I interviewed Darrell Hammond on the air a couple of years ago, I spent all my time trying to get him to play Gore, Koppel, Arnold, etc.
Dobson, N.C.: Would you consider it perhaps more than a coincidence that Saddam Hussan was sentenced to be hanged two days before the US election?
Howard Kurtz: Tony Snow says those who believe Iraq deliberately timed the sentencing must be “smoking rope.” Maybe I’m high, but it does seem like quite an amazing coincidence.