Howie’s Highlights

Earlier today, Howard Kurtz held his weekly char over at post.com. He covered issues such as the coverage of Mitt Romney’s religion, the Libby Trial, Diane Sawyer’s interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the coverage of presidential elections. Some excerpts:

    Brookline: Regarding last week’s op-ed by Byron York, followed by Victoria Toensing’s ill-informed screed on Sunday. Is The Post trying to tamper with the Libby jury?

    Howard Kurtz: The last time I checked the First Amendment, we’re still allowed to comment on trials that are under way. The judge has not sequestered the jurors but has asked them to avoid all coverage of the trial. I’m keenly aware of this because there was a brief uproar when one juror saw my Style section piece on Tim Russert’s testimony that federal marshals had somehow failed to excise from the morning papers, and the judge had to question the jury before the trial was allowed to proceed.

    Avon Park, Fla.: I’m concerned with the way the national press covers presidential politics, especially primaries. They base their decisions on who to cover based on national polls which don’t mean anything. There are states in which lower candidates could be doing relatively well but don’t get coverage because their national numbers aren’t good. Should fewer national primary polls be conducted in favor or more state polls?

    Howard Kurtz: The answer isn’t fewer polls, it’s reporting that ranges beyond the numbers and examines candidates beyond the so-called top tier. Howard Dean was at 1 percent when he started, and Bill Clinton wasn’t much above that. By contrast, Joe Lieberman was the early front-runner in the Democratic polls last time around, and John Kerry was written off by November of ’03 because he was sinking in the surveys. We make the same mistakes every cycle and then have to play catchup when someone not initially anointed as one of the front-runners catches fire.