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I was out Thursday night and missed Howard Kurtz’s appearance on the Daily Show to promote his new cure for insomnia, Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Television News War. Fortunately, Scott Horton called it to my attention with his delightful post about the episode, which includes a link to Jon Stewart’s interview with Kurtz.
The last time a media figure was so thoroughly humiliated on TV came when Ali G. interviewed Andy Rooney. And like Rooney, Kurtz was utterly clueless about what was happening. The highlight came when Kurtz laid out a central thrust of his book, namely that nightly news shows are “framing” the war in Iraq in a negative way and always “find ways to hammer . . . home” bad news. Sort of like Japanese newscasters after Hiroshima.
Kurtz related that Lara Logan’s bosses at CBS had once asked her “to do the lighter side of Baghdad–let’s do a story about female soldiers who are keeping cyberpets online.” I guess if Kurtz had received that request, he would have jumped from his desk and begun preparing a long segment on G.I. Jane and “Barky” the Cyberdog. Logan, because she has self-respect, refused. Indeed, as Kurtz related, she emailed back, “I would rather stick needles in my eyes than spend one second of my time on that story.” Kurtz seemed appalled by this, but Stewart clearly sided with Logan. His reply to Kurtz: “Good for her.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”