David Zurawik Makes Fools Out Of Chip Reid and Frank Sesno on Reliable Sources

August 1st, 2010 6:55 PM

The Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik on Sunday made fools out of CBS White House Correspondent Chip Reid and former CNNer Frank Sesno.

Ironically, this happened during a "Reliable Sources" segment on CNN dealing with today's "Poisonous Press."

With host Howard Kurtz leading a discussion about how news outlets today are spending a great deal of time bashing each other, the conversation predictably led to Fox News.

Both Reid and Sesno tried to make the case that FNC is irrelevant because nobody watches the network.

Zurawik marvelously clued them both in (videos and transcripts follow with commentary):

CHIP REID, CBS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not to be a Pollyanna again, I do believe that we can and probably are overstating this, though, because if you did not have Fox News, you could not have made that clip you just made. The average American doesn't watch Fox News. Yes, they make money in the world of cable TV --

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: Many viewers watch Fox News...

DAVID ZURAWIK, BALTIMORE SUN: Bill O'Reilly has an audience of three million.

A bit later after a commercial break:

FRANK SESNO, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: They say. OK. But look, just as Chip said, what are the numbers at Fox? What are the numbers at MSNBC? They are miniscule compared to "The CBS Evening News."

We have to be careful that we don't throw fuel on the fire by jumping to all these conclusions that the country has thrown overboard any sense, any desire for rational conversation. It has not.

KURTZ: Five seconds.

ZURAWIK: Frank, in fairness, the numbers at Fox are not minuscule compared to CBS News. I have to be honest. Just for the facts --

SESNO: What is your nightly news?

REID: Oh, I don't know.


REID: Although I think it's a wonderful corporation.


KURTZ: We're talking six or seven million for "CBS Evening News." And Bill O'Reilly gets three million.

And on that point --

SESNO: It's not miniscule. You're right.

Well, actually Howard, it's been a long time since the "CBS Evening News" got seven million viewers. As TV By The Numbers reported on July 20, it is now averaging only about five million.

As such, O'Reilly's three million, as well as the two-plus million Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Sustern normally garner are by no means minuscule even when compared to Katie Couric's show.

Of course, what could one expect from someone like Reid who early on in this program actually referred to the "CBS Evening News" as "a little island of sanity." 

As a truly delicious aside, I'm sure Reid and Sesno will be thrilled with the news that FNC was just awarded a front row seat in the White House briefing room.

Now THAT'S entertainment!