Kurtz: Animal Videos = Good Television

Yesterday, Howard Kurtz held his weekly chat where he covered such topics as a runaway kangaroo, the performance of the fledgling Fox Business Network, and the Post’s holiday chat schedule. Some excerpts:

    Critiquing the Press: Howie, I was just watching CNN U.S. Can you explain why a runaway kangaroo in Australia is news?! If there were a kangaroo in Arkansas or somewhere in the U.S., that might be news, but I would think if there weren’t a runaway kangaroo in Australia, that would be news. So please enlighten me, otherwise I would think it was just a filler so as not to report anything serious like, say, the intelligence guy who says we can kiss privacy goodbye. Thanks.

    Howard Kurtz: Well, there was good video! Good video of an utterly unimportant story. Then again, remember all the coverage of that whale who made it into a river in London? Television seems to have a weakness for these runaway animal stories.

    New York: How is the Fox Business Channel doing? I know they launched under the premise that CNBC is somehow anti-business, and they plan to report mostly good news. I seriously doubt that approach will work on savvy business people. Then again, I never thought Fox News would be as big as it is.

    Howard Kurtz: It’s hard to say because there are no ratings and won’t be for several months. I’d say the channel debuted to mixed reviews — a number of critics said it was fun to watch but at times descended into triviality (unless you think an interview with Times Square’s Naked Cowboy is a hot business story). But Fox executives told me in interviews that it would take a considerable amount of time to successfully challenge CNBC, which is in three times as many homes. So it’s a bit early to judge.

    Post Chat Schedule: Why does the Post cancel its discussion schedule for Labor Day, but not for Veterans Day? Is it because the Post honors and appreciates union members more than veterans?

    washingtonpost.com: Our holiday decisions are based on anticipated traffic. We believe more businesses give their workers Labor Day off than give their workers Veterans Day off, and so we expect traffic and question numbers to be better today than they would be on Labor Day.

    Howard Kurtz: There’s your answer.