Howard Kurtz Bashes CNN for Naming Walker Prank Caller 'Most Intriguing Person'

As NewsBusters reported, CNN on Thursday named the blogger that prank called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker its "Most Intriguing Person of the Day."

On CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday, host Howard Kurtz noted the hypocrisy here saying, "If anybody who worked for CNN did what this guy did, they would have been fired" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: Let me move on to the coverage of what has been this prank call. This was Ian Murphy, of "The Buffalo Beast," which is an alternative news site, getting a call through to Governor Scott Walker, pretending to be one of the billionaire Koch brothers. And it was really striking to me the way this was covered.

We're going to show you part of that call, and then an interview with Ian Murphy with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell. Let's roll it.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Sooner or later, the media stops finding it interesting.

IAN MURPHY, "THE BUFFALO BEAST": Well, not the liberal batters on MSNBC.

WALKER: Oh, yes. But who watches that? And I went on "Morning Joe" this morning --

MURPHY: Joe's a good guy. He's one of us.

WALKER: Yes. He was fair to me. I mean, the rest of them that are out there --


LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: The governor seemed very comfortable and eager to talk to you. Were you surprised that it went as smoothly as it did?

MURPHY: Just getting on the line with him with was a feat in itself, I think. And I think he's just oblivious, generally. So it didn't surprise me.


KURTZ: Amy Holmes, MSNBC led with this hour after hour. The focus was on the embarrassment of Scott Walker. Nobody seemed to mention that this guy lied, that he committed a journalistic fraud, pretending to be someone else. Why?

AMY HOLMES, CO-ANCHOR, "AMERICA'S MORNING NEWS": Right. Well, I think because it fits their ideological framework. And I looked at this, and he was hailed as "Most Intriguing Person of the Day" by CNN. And you didn't see the hand-wringing over journalistic ethics like you did, say, in the ACORN case, when those two young people used the same sorts of tactics of being an impostor and sort of -- some people would say tricking people into participating in this. And there, there was a huge discussion about journalism and is this fair, is this right?

In this, it was, like, he's a hero. He accomplished a feat, as you just heard.

KURTZ: I was also struck by CNN saying he was the "Most Intriguing Person." If anybody who worked for CNN did what this guy did, they would have been fired.

Kudos to Kurtz for raising this subject and pointing out the hypocrisy of no media outlets questioning the journalistic fraud employed by Murphy.

On the other hand, as his focus initially was MSNBC, would he have mentioned CNN's role if Holmes hadn't brought it up?


Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.