Can you name a single thing you ever learned from Ann Curry: Howard Kurtz is the nation’s best-known “media reporter.”
Every Sunday, on CNN, he conducts an hour-long con. During this hour, he pretends to be critiquing the press corps.
This gives us rubes the false impression that the press corps keeps watch on itself.
That impression is vastly mistaken. For our money, yesterday’s Reliable Source program was a near-perfect example of Potemkin criticism, in which the mainstream press corps pretends to be watch-dogging its own.
Kurtz started with an ersatz topic: How did CNN and Fox manage to bungle their reporting of Thursday’s Supreme Court decision, even if ever so briefly? Kurtz and several “reliable” guests pretended to be concerned by this problem—a “problem” which pops up for maybe ten minutes every twelve years or so.
Yes, it was fairly dumb when CNN and Fox bungled the ruling the way they did—though everyone knows how these bungles happen. But good God! This is a totally trivial matter—and just consider all the serious misreporting Kurtz has worked to avoid.
One obvious recent example: For roughly a month, MSNBC churned endless mis- and disinformation about the killing of Trayvon Martin. Night after night, week after night, the disinformation flowed.
We don’t know if we’ve ever seen a cable channel misbehave more thoroughly. But even when it became abundantly clear that the channel had churned tons of misinformation, Kurtz managed to avert his gaze. In this way, he kept preferred narratives about this tragic event in place—and he avoided letting the public know what this channel had done.
Kurtz gave MSNBC a pass. This has helped sustain a great deal of misinformation. But yesterday, this poor fellow was very concerned because CNN got something wrong for maybe ten minutes, in an unusual situation which happens every twelve years.
That is Potemkin press criticism. It’s designed to make the public think that the press is policing its own.
The second part of Kurtz’s program may have been even worse. In this segment, he and “media reporter” Gail Shister boo-hooed and wailed about the idea that Ann Curry may have been mistreated by NBC News.
Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo! Dear God! And oh, the humanity!
KURTZ (7/1/12): It certainly didn't look like she was anxious to embrace Matt Lauer, who was trying to be gracious, of course. Did NBC end up humiliating Ann Curry as this dragged on, and unconfirmed until finally we saw the tearful exit?They treated Meredith better than Ann! Have the bougie values of these horrible, vastly overpaid people ever been more clear?
SHISTER: I don't know how you could say anything else, how you could say they did not drag it out. It took what seemed like forever. It took a little more than a week. And Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, said about the source of the leaks.
It was like chasing ghosts trying to chase ghosts. Whether the leaks came from within NBC, we'll never know. But it seemed like every day, there was new gossip on some site of when is she going to be leaving.
It wasn't even a question of “if” at a certain point. There was a line of demarcation had been passed, that when would she leave and who would she be replaced by.
What I found interesting also is Meredith Vieira was host for five years, and they dedicated an entire show on her last day. And Ann Curry, all together on the Today show, including her tenure as news anchor, was there 15 years, and they took a total of five minutes.
("I don't know how you could say anything else!" We only wished Shister had come over here. We'd have been happy to show her!)
Curry has raked in tens of millions of dollars over the past fifteen years. Now that NBC is moving on, we’re supposed to worry about the tender feelings which had her weeping and semi-complaining on the air as she left her anchor position last week.
Question: Is there anything you know about the world because Curry worked from a very high “journalistic” platform over all those years? Did this person ever speak up about the endless disgraces which have dogged our nation and world? Or did she play along with the cloying Today show format, which requires her to read approved texts and express free-form empathetic concern?
Everyone says that Curry is a nice person. We would assume she is; most people are. But if she had an ounce of sense after all those years of astonishing privilege, she would have given a Lou Gehrig speech as she left that anchor chair:
CURRY REWRITTEN: For the past fifteen years, I have considered myself the luckiest person on the face of the earth. In fact, I have been massively overpaid. I’m embarrassed by the amounts of money I have crammed in my pockets as I sat here on this couch smiling and acting sincere.People like Curry don’t make such statements. Wealth and fame fry peoples’ brains. That's even true with folk who were decent coming in.
Beyond the astounding amounts of money, I have been made a major celebrity. You should scorn me on the street for the way I’ve behaved all these years.
When they came for Naomi Wolf, I sat here and didn’t say boo. I didn’t question the war against Gore, or the run-up to Iraq. I kept my mouth shut about the abuse aimed at Hillary Clinton down through all those years. I read the texts my producers prepared, and I acted empathetic when regular folk were involved.
I’m embarrassed by how much money I’ve kept. Can you name one “journalistic” act I’ve ever committed?
For our money, the culture of upper-end bougie entitlement dominated Kurtz’s last segment too. We’ll let you read that transcript yourself. It was massively aimed at the lives of highly privileged women—and it failed to ask the obvious question about the role being played by privileged men when such women “can’t have it all.”
Yesterday’s program struck us as one of the worst hours we’ve ever seen. Your “press corps” is a giant con—an act of giant misdirection.
Your career liberal leaders agree not to notice. They want to get rich and famous too, the way poor Curry did.