Howie Chats

Earlier today, Howard Kurtz held his weekly weekly online chat where he covered such topics as declining newspaper circulation, the Post giving space to administration officials, and female news anchors. Some excerpts:

    Re: Murdoch Empire: Howard — today you cite several newspapers slashing staff because of plunging circulation, while Murdoch’s Fox Network and newspapers continue to thrive. All the papers you mentioned are left-leaning. Murdoch properties are right-leaning. Could the secret of Murdoch’s success be that he is more in touch with how the majority of Americans think than the slumping newspapers?

    Howard Kurtz: Murdoch’s only U.S. newspaper at the moment is the New York Post, and while its circulation has been growing (fueled by a 25-cent price that the paper recently tried to boost back to 50 cents but abandoned when sales went down), Murdoch loses millions of dollars on the tabloid each year. So while it’s a great example of Murdoch being willing to write checks for a media outlet that reflects his views, it’s hardly a shining symbol of the marketplace at work. Most publishers, after all, are in business to make money.

    Barrington, R.I.: Congrats to The Post for one of the most amusing columns on Sunday! Who wrote the J. Paul Bremer opinion piece justifying the horrid failure of the CPA and its hacklings in Iraq? No one could imagine a major news media outlet printing such pathetic rubbish with a straight face, so one can only assume it was meant as a parody. Any plans for a Cheney, Bush or Barney piece?

    Howard Kurtz: So newspapers should not publish op-ed pieces by people you disagree with? I thought the purpose of an opinion page was to showcase different points of view. If Bremer has a weak argument in defending your tenure, wouldn’t other people be smart enough to see that as well?

    Re: MSNBC lineup: Is written somewhere in the broadcast journalism rulebook that show hosts should be male and the newsreaders should be pert pretty females? I realize there are exceptions, but it appears to me this formula still is adhered to. Any hope for a little more variation?

    Howard Kurtz: Well, MSNBC did have Rita Cosby and, earlier, Deborah Norville, but let both of them go. Elsewhere, there’s Fox’s Greta Van Susteren and CNN’s Paula Zahn.