Howard Kurtz Chats Away The Lunch Hour

Earlier today, Howard Kurtz held his weekly online chat where he handled such issues as “M.C. Rove”, the “heckling” of John McCain by a CNN Reporter, and Katie Couric’s interview style. Some excerpts:

    Chicago: The video of “MC Rove” “rapping” at the Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner was the most disgusting thing I have seen in a long time. I wanted to gouge my own eyes out after viewing it. Media outlets should play this on a split screen with the scenes of bloody horror, bombings, and devastation in Iraq. Also, David Gregory should hang his head in shame and abasement. Seriously Howard, it was disgusting and shameful. I know you people in Washington think this is funny, but White House correspondents should not be dancing and “rapping” with the officials they cover.

    Howard Kurtz: I’m not a big fan of these dinners, but I guess I don’t understand what was “disgusting” and “shameful” about it. You seem to regard Rove as the enemy and feel there should be absolutely no fraternization at any time under any circumstances. As for David Gregory’s role, he was plucked out of the audience by these two not-terribly-funny comedians, as was Brian Williams. I doubt they would have volunteered for this distasteful duty.

    Washington: Dear Mr. Kurtz: I’m a big fan of your work — I believe that you are among the most objective of all reporters. Your Media Notes Extra mentions reaction to Sen. McCain’s trip to Iraq but does not include coverage of CNN reporter Michael Ware’s purported heckling during the senator’s press conference, nor of Mr. Ware’s subsequent explosive diatribe against the senator’s impressions of the Iraq situation. Given that this is not the first time Mr. Ware has demonstrated such poor judgment, can CNN continue to retain Mr. Ware and maintain its integrity? Thank you very much — I know it is a difficult question to answer because also you are employed by CNN.

    Howard Kurtz: Not difficult at all. The “purported heckling” is described by one unnamed official quoted by the Drudge Report. That’s it. If that person wants to put his name to it, or provide video or other documentation, I’m more than happy to report it. Ware says it’s ridiculous and that while he raised his hand he did not get to ask a question at yesterday’s news conference.

    Washington: So you think Katie Couric is good at what she does? Good at interviewing serious people? Whether she makes funny faces or not, her follow-up questions tend to be something that implies “I don’t believe you,” forcing the interviewee to repeat themselves. I’m all for challenging people on what they say, but it’s nice when interviewers do so by presenting countervailing evidence rather than saying something along the lines of “come on, really?!”

    Howard Kurtz: I have reached the conclusion that you’re not a Katie fan. But how exactly did she remain No. 1 as co-host of the Today show unless a lot of people liked to watch her? Conducting interviews, in fact, is widely considered to be one of her strongest skills. I have to conclude that some of this reaction has to do with strong feelings about cancer and families and the Edwardses, and that some people just aren’t willing to give Katie Couric the benefit of the doubt.