Kurtz: Mitchell Gave Obama Campaign “Free Shot” At McCain

Earlier today, Howard Kurtz held his weekly chat where he covered such topics as information leaks, his vacation time, and Andrea Mitchell airing anonymous acusations from the Obama campaign. Some excerpts:

Laurel, Md.: Mr. Kurtz, with so much turmoil in the newspaper industry these days, we frequently see personnel memos and internal news about media companies leaked to sites like Romenesko and DCRTV. In your opinion, should newspaper companies just understand that this is the price of doing business in the Internet age, or should they spend company IT resources trying to track down how the information was leaked? Unfortunately, this is not a hypothetical question. Thank you for your time.

Howard Kurtz: Everything leaks these days. It’s as much of a waste of time for media companies –who, after all, thrive on leaks — to be investigating who’s giving out internal memos as it is for any White House. Plus, a lot of these memos I read on Romenesko look as though they’re written for public consumption.

South Dakota: Good morning, Howard. I am an avid daily reader of washingtonpost.com. Is it just me, or have I not seen your good work presented as often lately? What has changed?

Howard Kurtz: I took last week off. Gotta pace myself before the conventions!

Arlington, Va.: How unprofessional was it for Andrea Mitchel and NBC News to air anonymous allegations that McCain had cheated and heard the questions in advance during Saturdays’s event? Wouldn’t an unbiased discussion have included denials from the McCain campaign? Instead of being a stenographer for the Obama campaign, shouldn’t she have done some reporting on the subject (checking out the room, etc….)before spouting their spin on nationwide TV?

Howard Kurtz: Here’s the exchange:

ANDREA MITCHELL: The Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because that–what they’re putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.


ANDREA MITCHELL: He seemed so well prepared.

Mitchell’s defense is that she was just repeating a charge made by Obama aides. I would not have raised it without evidence, or at least without someone from the Obama camp going on the record. Otherwise you’re just giving them a free shot without his campaign having to back it up.