For a guy who makes his living as a so-called “media critic,” Howard Kurtz seems a bit of a dunce when it comes to using the media to promote his new book, The Reality Show, which is billed as “a freewheeling, intimate account of life atop the media pyramid.”
When he appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Kurtz trotted out a laughably simple-minded attempt at praising the major network news organizations for their gallant efforts (after about four years of complicit cheerleading) to buck political pressure and show the violence actually occurring in Iraq!
A more detailed critique of his arguments is found here, but I want to highlight a story he told at the end of the interview (with my emphasis to simulate his tone of voice):
Here‘s another quick example for you; CBS‘s Lara Logan, who just won an Emmy, in fact, for her tough coverage in Iraq; she was asked by her CBS boss ifs she could find some lighter stories or some more positive stories from Iraq. She was actually asked to do a piece on whether female soldiers were keeping cyber-pets online. She emailed back saying, I would rather stick needles in my eyes than spend one second of my time on that story.You can watch the full interview below, or simply take my word that he really thought he wowed Keith’s viewers with his dramatic punch line! OK, it was a good story. I’m not sure he proved much with it, but it was a good story – certainly one that most “non-media-insiders” wouldn’t have heard, and I figured, with six books to his credit, he’s probably got a million of ‘em!.
Howard Kurtz’ new book
So later that evening, I’m watching The Daily Show, and who turns up as a guest but Howard Kurtz? He gives a similar argument about the network news media to a skeptical John Stewart, before quickly changing the subject at the end so he can finish with a dramatic flourish that will close the deal on anyone wondering if they should run out and buy his book.
You can watch that flourish below, or simply take my word that it was the same exact Lara Logan story, practically verbatim and with the same practiced vocal inflection, that he told Keith Olbermann just a few hours earlier!
Now here’s my question: If you are presenting yourself as the Ultimate Media Insider, wouldn’t you be expected to know that many of the same people who watch Countdown would be tuning in the The Daily Show, so if you are making the rounds, you won’t get the same bang for your buck with the same “get a load of this” punch line?
Instead of looking like an “in-the-know” expert, Kurtz ended up looking like the guy who memorizes a single joke and then tells it to everyone he meets for the rest of his life no matter how many times they may have heard it . . . from him!
Any bets on whether he included the same story in his book?