CNN's Howard Kurtz considers himself to be a media analyst, yet on Sunday's Reliable Sources, he spent 22 minutes discussing Politico's hit piece on Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain without once mentioning how the press handled Bill Clinton's actual sex scandals.
The program began:
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: By the standards of campaign exclusives, the "Politico" story on Herman Cain exploded like a bombshell and largely hit its targets. But what about the reliance on unnamed sources and the utter lack of detail about this decade-old sexual harassment allegations.
From there, Politico's Jonathan Martin was brought on to give his reasoning for why this story was published without any of Cain's accusers being named or the details of the alleged harassment divulged.
In Kurtz's defense, he did a decent job of questioning Martin, but it might have been nice to see one conservative guest on to present the Right's position.
This was especially important when Kurtz and his other guests - the perilously liberal Keli Goff of Loop21.com and the barely right of center Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker - ridiculed Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh for addressing the racial component of this story:
KURTZ: Kathleen Parker, what evidence is there that this was racially motivated?
KATHLEEN PARKER, WASHINGTON POST: None that I've seen. I don't understand that charge whatsoever. And I know that Ann Coulter also said, you know, our blacks are better than their blacks. I didn't realize they were ours. It's just odd to me. There are things you can criticize Cain on and, you know, independent of this issue. But none of it has any relationship what so ever to his race, and I'm surprised that he would allow that because he's not --
KURTZ: Well, he's done more than allow it, because Keli Goff, in radio interview with Hannity, Cain himself said, "They," - he didn't say who they are - "are trying to attack me to intimidate other black conservatives to not go public." Haven't we seen lots of white liberals, most recently Anthony Weiner, to face these kinds of stories? Is there a racial element to this in your view?
Is Kurtz this obtuse, or were his political leanings interfering with logic?
The racial element being expressed by the Right is that blacks are not allowed to be conservatives. We've seen this in the treatment of right-leaning blacks for decades.
As such, conservatives aren't playing the race card per se. Instead, they are rightly pointing out that black Republicans are treated extremely poorly by the Left and their media minions.
That Kurtz doesn't either see this or recognize that this was what folks like Coulter, Hannity, and Limbaugh were saying last week again calls into question either his reasoning skills or his ability to prevent his biases from interfering with them.
This is why it would have been nice of Kurtz to have one real conservative guest on the program so that viewers wouldn't have been subjected to exclusively this view:
KELI GOFF, LOOP21.COM: Well, and also, Herman Cain also did say flat-out when asked, do you think race is playing a part in this? And he said, yes, yes, I can't prove it, but yes. I mean, I think Howard, if looked up irony in the dictionary, it would be a picture of people like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and, yes, Herman Cain, people who have accused the president and, quote, "liberals" for always playing the race card, whipping it out right about now.
Nonsense. This issue isn't that Cain's black. It's that he's a black conservative.
For her part, Parker did broach the subject toward the end of the 22 minutes, but rather gingerly to say the least:
PARKER: Just to get back to the race issue, I think one of the things that these conservative commentators are working and they've kind of skewed the message, but it is a fact that African- Americans who choose to be -- who are conservative and who choose to belong to the Republican Party rather than where the majority of African-Americans reside, are definitely -- have a greater challenge and who are -- and are not embraced by their own community. And so that's -- that's harder, I think, on them. And that's probably what their point is.
Have a greater challenge? Are not embraced by their own community?
No. They're subjected to the same kind of treatment Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, and now Herman Cain have endured simply because they choose to have a different political view from the overwhelming majority of blacks.
Sadly, Kurtz seemed to completely ignore Parker's point on this subject, regardless of how softly spoken it was, and moved to whether or not these allegations will end up impacting Cain's candidacy.
But conceivably oddest about this lengthy portion of the program was that the name Clinton only came up three times, but never how one would have expected:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS: When you make a distinction between settlement and agreement, it sounds Clintonian.
HERMAN CAIN: It wasn't meant to sound Clintonian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Given that Herman Cain is not alleged to have had sex with any of these women or have touched anyone as far as we know, unlike, say, Bill Clinton -- does the past seven days amount to media overkill?
That's it. No mention of Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, or Juanita Broaddrick.
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Consider the absurdity given Thursday's NewsBusters report finding the broadcast network news outlets did a total of fifty segments about Politico's allegations in the first three days after the story broke:
In comparison, over a similar three-day period these same programs were far less interested in charges against Democrat Bill Clinton. After Paula Jones held a public press conference in February of 1994, there was only one report on her allegations.
Following Kathleen Willey's July 1997 claims of being groped by the President, there were a mere three reports. For Juanita Broaddrick, who came forward in February of 1999 to say Clinton raped her, only three stories followed charges appearing in the Wall Street Journal.
So-called media analyst chose not to address any of this.
Also conspicuously absent from the discussion was CNN's fascination with this story.
I guess Kurtz didn't want to discuss his own network giving more coverage to this Cain matter in six days than it did Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, and America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright combined.
Did I mention that Kurtz considers himself to be a media analyst?
Makes you think he's in the wrong line of work, doesn't it?