Earlier today, Howard Kurtz held his weekly online chat where he covered such topics as Helen Thomas being snubbed at President Bush’s final press conference; Barack Obama’s appearance in Spiderman; and the continued decline of print newspapers. Some excerpts:
Winnipeg, Canada: What do you think of President Bush refusing to take a question from Helen Thomas at his last press conference?
Howard Kurtz: He’s the president(for another week, that is). He can call on whoever he wants.
York, Pa.: Mr Kurtz, I was rather disappointed when I saw you on “Reliable Sources” today. In referring to the upcoming Marvel Comics Spiderman issue that has President-elect Obama as a featured storyline, you stated that this was evidence of the media being in the tank for Obama, since he’s portrayed as a superhero. I knew right away that you had not done your homework, because if you had, you’d know that Obama is not a superhero in the Spiderman comicbook…he is SAVED by Spiderman from being taken out by a clone. Please try and be a more “reliable source” next time.
Howard Kurtz: You’re serious?
I was being tongue-in-cheek in accusing Spider-Man comics of being in the tank for Obama. I’m a Marvel fan from way back. Why shouldn’t Spidey capitalize on the inauguration like everyone else?
Baltimore, Md.: Re papers raising their price: I agree that daily newspapers are a great bargain. But many of them (not the Post) are raising their price while reducing their product. The Baltimore Sun, part of the crumbling Tribune empire, went to 75 cents and has done nothing since then but make ridiculous economic moves. My favorite? Moving the Sunday comics into the TV section, so you need an electron microscope to scan the panels. Molly Ivins said it best: newspapers are the only industry that reacts to economic stress by making its product less useful.
Howard Kurtz: The combination of raising prices while cutting the product is not an attractive one. But some papers are running out of options.
Speaking of the Tribune Co., the Chicago Trib just announced that it is switching to a tabloid format for newsstand sales. I don’t see how that is going to help.