Kurtz on Russert: One Plus For The Media

The Libby trial exposed the dark underside of Washington’s press corps and their incestuous relationships with the subjects of their coverage. But Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post has managed to find a sliver of hope for the restoration of the media’s honor:

The one plus for the media in Libby’s conviction involved Tim Russert, NBC’s Washington bureau chief…The jury believed Russert.

I think this requires a conclusionary leap the width of the Grand Canyon. There is no evidence that the jury’s belief in Russert rested on his veracity. It is far more likely that Russert just looked good in comparison to Libby and the weasels that came to his defense. And that’s no small feat considering what we learned about Russert during this trial.

Kathie Martin, Vice-President Dick Cheney’s director of communications, revealed her notes that listed “message control” as a positive reason for having the VP appear on Russert’s Sunday program. She expanded on that in her testimony:

“I suggested we put the vice president on ‘Meet the Press,’ which was a tactic we often used. It’s our best format.”

Russert can hardly be considered a “plus” for the media if the White House considers him a pawn for controlling their message. And since Kurtz characterized him as the “one” plus, by my count the media is back to zero.


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