Kurtz: “Dumb Idea” To Hold Debate On Friday

Earlier today, Howard Kurtz held his weekly chat where he covered such topics as media coverage of John McCain, Saturday Night Live’s portrayal of Sarah Palin, and debate scheduling. Some excerpts:

Southwest Nebraska: What does the New York Times have against McCain? From the bimbo warning in January to this weekend’s gambling coverage — I don’t get it.

Howard Kurtz: Some of the stories on Palin’s Alaska record have been very good. Some of the McCain stories have been very good, such as revealing the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac payments to the lobbying firm of McCain’s campaign manager. And I was most definitely not a fan of the female lobbyist story last February.

Long Island, N.Y.: Howard, is it possible that Tina Fey’s portrayals of Palin on “Saturday Night Live” are more damaging to her public image than her actual words? It’s almost to the point that the public thinks it’s Fey’s character who running for vice president, and that can’t be good.

Howard Kurtz: I think Fey hasn’t just been funny but that when you look at Palin, you think about Tina. (Some of the punchlines on Saturday night were lifted verbatim from the governor’s answers to Katie Couric.) This is the problem that Al Gore had in 2000, when Darrell Hammond portrayed him as a sighing, eye-rolling politician, to the point that Gore’s own aides made him watch the skits so he would see how he was coming off. Palin, weirdly, said she had watched Fey’s portrayal of her, but with the sound turned down.

Thursday? Friday?: Please explain to me why the Presidential debate was on a Friday night. I made sure my plans included the debate, but it is a difficult night for many people to be at home. Obviously, it is a low-ratings night in general. Should not the goal of the Debate Commission be to maximize the eyes and ears that see the debates? What’s next, midnight?

Howard Kurtz: I thought it was a dumb idea. Apparently it’s happened before, but it’s just not a great TV-viewing night. I do know there are often scheduling difficulties this time of year to avoid conflicting with the baseball playoffs or Jewish holidays.