Howie Kurtz Chats It Up Again

Earlier today, Howard Kurtz held his weekly online chat where he covered such topics as the difference of political coverage in Europe and the U.S., the political leanings of the Politico, and the coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. Some excerpts:

    Culpeper, Va.: When I look at the presidential campaign recently conducted in France, I can’t help but compare it to our own such campaigns. Not that I followed it word-for-word, I don’t recall hearing a single story on whether or not Segolene Royal uses Botox on her wrinkle-free forehead, as I’m sure would have been the case with an American election. That’s the kind of trivialization of democracy to which the American news media has reduced our elections. Any comment?

    Howard Kurtz: I don’t know about the appearance issues — didn’t some French magazine run a photo of Sego in a bikini? — but the French must be doing something right. Yesterday’s turnout was reported to be 84 percent, while the U.S. has trouble cracking 50. Maybe it’s because the French election hasn’t been going on for two years, as ours will be by the time November of ’08 rolls around.

    Anonymous: Hi, Howard. We hear incessantly about how this group or that group is funded by George Soros, as though that fact, by itself, proves the group’s political affiliations. But those groups do not purport to be nonpartisan newspapers or sources of news. The Politico claims exactly that. Surely it is notable that those who created The Politico, who are funding it, and who are in charge of its operations, are long-time Republican operatives and those firmly implanted in right-wing circles. What do you think?

    Howard Kurtz: If John Harris, Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roger Simon are longtime Republican operatives, somehow it’s escaped my notice.

    New York: Is there some sort of directive at The Post requiring a story about Cho every single day? Enough is a enough already. Take a day off.

    Howard Kurtz: You’re not going to get me to criticize original reporting on the worst gun massacre in U.S. history that took place in one of the three jurisdictions we cover. I was glad that the media mob moved on from Blacksburg, Va. after the first week, but it’s increasingly clear that there was a complete systems failure in how Cho was handled, such as the Virginia gun loophole involving those previously committed to mental institutions, which the state’s governor has now closed.