Howard Kurtz is an excellent writer and a great source of inside baseball info regarding the media, but he has the same blindside that numerous other journalists have when it comes to his profession, where they simply can’t see the forest for the trees, no matter how many times it’s pointed out to them. Dana Milbank of all people (he of the Cheney Derangement Syndrome, which caused him to go on TV dressed like Johnny Carson’s old Floyd R. Turbo character in the wake of Cheney’s hunting accident) tried to point out to Kurtz yes indeed, there’s no such thing as an objective, unbiased media, and that the media is becoming increasingly balkanized. (And as anyone who’s read this blog for any length of times knows, to me, that’s not a bad thing.) But in response, Kurtz lowered the blinkers over his eyes. Or as Tim Graham puts it:
Out of kindness to his Washington Post colleague, Howard Kurtz dedicated a second segment of CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to the Post’s Dana Milbank to plug his new book, Homo Politicus. While Milbank wrote that the media’s split into liberal media and conservative media, Kurtz objected that CBS or the New York Times would be considered liberal or favorable to Democrats, that it’s unfair to compare conservative editorial pages or opinion journals with “mainstream” media like CBS.
This despite RatherGate, and all the evidence from previous elections, but particularly 2004. This despite the New York Times’ ombudsman’s mea culpa that year that “Of course” the Times is a liberal paper. This despite Mary Mapes’ admission that she didn’t know any of the Internet players on the right. Or the many journalists, usually at the tail-end of their careers, who come clean about their profession.
I tried to bring up a couple of these issues when Howard appeared on PJM Political this fall to discuss his book Reality Show and you could just hear the hackles going up in response. On the other hand, if I had to work every day at the Washington Post and CNN, (the latter born of original sin thanks to Eason Jordan’s multiple low points as a journalist) I’d probably take a see-no-evil approach to my colleagues as well.