Monday, July 17, 2006

Looks like Howie Kurtz had quite a lively on-line chat today. Here are some excerpts.
Philly, Pa.: amazes me that the media call the left side of the blogosphere angry when it is the right side of the blogosphere that is constantly calling anyone who disagrees with them "traitors and unpatriotic." ... Is it for false balance? When will you stop having these people on your show b/c that gives them credibility that they don't deserve.

Howard Kurtz: Seems to me there is considerable anger on both sides. ...


Washington, D.C.: What do you make of the anthrax scare at the NYT (where someone sent a powder in an envelope along with a copy of the editorial defending the leak of the article about tracking financial transactions)?

Specifically, are you concerned that the rhetoric against the Times and other media outlets, on blogs, talk shows, and even from Members of Congress, has heated up so much? It seems almost commonplace now to hear allegations of treason and calls for death hurled against reporters and editors. Does this concern you at all?

Howard Kurtz: Who knows why some nut sends white powder to a newsroom?


Washington, D.C.: I understand that you try to get points of view from all over the political spectrum but some of your favorite commentators, the Powerline guys and Hugh Hewitt, seem to genuinely believe that the Times, and The Post, are on the side of the terrorists. Is that a credible opinion? If its not, then why do you have them on your CNN show all the time?

Howard Kurtz: I leave it to readers and viewers as to whether such opinions are credible. And it is my practice, in my articles, blog and television show, to seek balanced opinions from different sides. You might see folks from National Review or Power Line on one side, but you will see Arianna or Josh Marshall or Kos on the other.


Harrisburg, Pa.: "Seems to me there is considerable anger on both sides". Well, yes, there is.

But only one side seems to be consistently calling for the death of the people with whom they disagree (see the Coulter quote you cited this morning).

Only one side consistently uses terms like 'treason' and 'traitor' and claim that their political enemies are on the side of the terrorists.

Have you really not noticed this? If you have, doesn't it bother you?

Howard Kurtz: Anyone who reads me knows that I am well aware of the fierce anti-press views out there, including those who say journalists should be tried for treason. But I am not going to pretend those views don't exist, whether or not I agree with them. People should be aware of them and form their own judgments.


Out there: "And it is my practice, in my articles, blog and television show, to seek balanced opinions from different sides.: ... I think you should strive for accuracy and less balance. Accuracy is not saying "left and right blogs are angry." Accuracy is saying "left blogs use vulgarity" and right wing blogs call for the hanging of the Supreme Court justices" These things do not balance each other out.

Howard Kurtz: Then you want advocacy, not journalism. I don't believe in false equivalency. If partisans on the left OR right do something outrageous, I call them on it. All opinions, of course, aren't equal, or we'd have to give equal space to the Flat Earth Society. But I am never going to please the strong partisans on either side because I am not in the advocacy business.


Philly, Pa: Howard, come on..."Seems to me there is considerable anger on both sides."

Are you serious? What lefty blogs or pundits have called for the hunting of reporters? What lefty blogs or pundits have called for the gassing of those they disagree with (Melanie Sloan), or the firing squad (Coulter)? There is definitely a difference!

Howard Kurtz: If you got the email I get, you'd know that passions run high on both sides. I don't know of any liberals who have suggested that journalists be executed, but many are plenty angry at media coverage of Bush, Iraq, you name it.

Thanks for the chat, folks.

Shorter Howie Kurtz: I hear your examples of false equivalency, but I don't practice false equivalency, so I will now ignore your examples.


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