Kurtz: Novak’s Report “Too Sketchy”

Earlier today, Howard Kurtz held his weekly chat where he covered such topics as the Post Chatters’ work load, Bob Novak’s claim about the Clinton Campaign, and the choice of questions at the recent Democrat debate.

    Boston: I laugh when Post reporters and columnists sign off of these online chats by saying “gotta get back to work.” Maybe they need to read your article on the Mercury News to understand that their online presence is a critical part of their work. The only time I see a copy of The Post is if I’m traveling through town. I read the online version of The Post every day and these chats enhance my relationship to The Post’s Web site (and online ads, which fund an increasing portion of reporters’ salaries than print ads). Do most Washington Post reporters understand the economics of their own company?

    Howard Kurtz: Sure, but the fact is the print edition still pays the bulk of the bills. But even if that wasn’t the case, we have to juggle multiple responsibilities these days. Or maybe those who say they have to get back to work just aren’t that into you.

    Anonymous: If Robert Novak says he stands by his report that the Clinton camp has some dirt on Obama that they are not using, but he does not know the details and offers no proof, should this even be news? Because of his track record? His nonpartisan objectivity? Does he charge the Clinton camp dug up dirt or received info they will not use (in which case I would think the Obama camp would say thanks to Clinton and you jerk, Nobak).

    Howard Kurtz: I would say it’s not news, that the report is just too sketchy. But many of us got sucked into covering it when the Obama and Clinton camps rushed out toughly worded statements on the controversy (or the non-controversy, depending on how you view it). So whether the original column item was worth anything or not, it became an issue in the presidential campaign.

    The “diamonds or pearls” question: To paraphrase Steven Colbert, dumb debate question or dumbest debate question ever? And shouldn’t CNN have to forfeit its right to host any more debates for actually planting that question?

    Howard Kurtz: As I reported this morning, CNN didn’t “plant” the question. The student in question provided a list of several questions she wanted to ask. Her top choice was about nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain, but that had already been asked, so with a minute left in the debate, a CNN producer suggested she ask another question on her list, which was whether Hillary would prefer diamonds or pearls. It was kind of a dumb question, and maybe a bad move by CNN, but the network didn’t plant the question, which was already on the woman’s list.