I can imagine Howard Kurtz, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, was pretty excited about the prospect of an on-air confrontation (primarily between Washington Post writer Dana Milbank and Huffington Post blogger Nico Pitney … with the highly-conservative TownHall commentator Amanda Carpenter present to eagerly assist Milbank with a double team Pitney). Sunday was the day that Reliable Sources turned into a cable news television version of MTV’s The Real World. It did not work well for television as it just sounded like two guys who didn’t like each other arguing about something that is little more than a nontroversy. Back to Nico Pitney. Personally, I commend this man for his work to build sources in Iran and his work to try and understand the conflict in Iran from those who were on the ground in a country in such historic turmoil following a disputed presidential election. Instead of us applauding Pitney for his work to build sources, grind out information and present it to people, he gets bashed by a right winger who probably can’t stand Huffington Post (Amanda Carpenter) and a mainstream media, big newspaper snob (Dana Milbank) who probably (perhaps out of some sort of jealousy) enjoyed taking such a shot at Pitney and (as probably an added bonus) President Obama’s White House to try and portray both in the most negative light possible.
Yeah, I wonder if Kurtz knew what Carpenter, Milbank and Pitney were going to discuss when they came onto the program?
Is it reliable when you know two people are going to double team one person on a show that is supposed to be about (among other things) fairness, balance, objectivity and accountability in the media?
OK, Milbank and and Pitney had a lively exchange (the video is below) that became rather heated (more so than you would expect for Reliable Sources).
After the confrontation heated up, Milbank left Pitney with this thoughtful nugget from inside his head (according to Pitney):
The only thing that surprised me was when Dana turned to me after our initial sparring and called me a “dick” in a whispered tone (the specific phrase was, I believe, “You’re such a dick”). Howie Kurtz wrote on Twitter that he didn’t hear it, which is understandable — he was doing the lead-in for the next part of the segment on the ABC White House special. But it happened (I urge Howie to watch the video of the panel during the ABC intro) and it was frankly pretty odd.
I find the entire issue odd and stinking of partisanship and snobbishness. Pitney asked a better question and probably did more research than some of the snobs who are trying to throw him under the bus. You know, I suspect many people who watched that segment, and got a feel for Milbank, would hardly be surprised to hear him say something along those lines.
I’ll end with some impressions of the Sunday-morning confrontation:
Crooks and Liars (this entry, among other things, debunks a claim of alleged favoritism for Pitney in terms of his positioning in the room):