Glenn Greenwald – Political Blogs and Opinions – Salon
Glenn Greenwald
Saturday October 20, 2007 06:59 EST
Howie Kurtz, Shailagh Murray, and the vapid, petty Beltway media mind
(updated below – Update II)
The job of Howard Kurtz as the “media critic” for The Washington Post and CNN is to shed light on how our media functions. Kurtz actually did a superb job of this in his column yesterday, although it was completely unintentional.
Kurtz responded to a post by Digby, in which Digby explained the perfect coordination between the right-wing gossip-mongers who feed the gossip-hungry press an endless supply of petty, vapid personal smears that dominate our political discourse — all in lieu of any meaningful coverage of anything that actually matters. As Digby wrote, quoted by Kurtz:

And after watching them for the past two decades very closely, I think it’s obvious that what interests the media more than anything is access and gossip and vicious little smears piled one atop the other. And why not? They are easy to report, require no mind numbing shuffling of financial reports or struggling through arcane policy papers. In fact, the press has made a virtue of the simple-mindedness by calling what used to be known as gossip, “character issues”, which are used to stand in for judgment about policy.

The press, therefore, will go to great lengths to protect the people who give them what they crave, most of whom happen to be Republicans since character smears are their very special talent. There was a reason why Rove and Libby used “the wife sent him on a boondoggle” line. Stories about Edwards and his hair and Hillary and her cold, calculating cleavage are the coin of the realm.

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