Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Wash Post' on Monday Excerpts New Media Book by Howard Kurtz

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Wash Post' on Monday Excerpts New Media Book by Howard Kurtz

Article excerpt

Without much fanfare, a new book by Washington Post and CNN media critic Howard Kurtz arrives week. The Post carries a lengthy excerpt Monday on how the three top network TV anchors have responded to the Iraq war dragging on.

Brian Williams of NBC, for example: "Whatever the truth, he had to admire, in a clinical sort of way, the political management of the press during what came to be known as the war on terror. It was truly remarkable.

"Williams did not enjoy looking back on the run-up to war, knowing what he knew now about the media's flawed performance. He did not want to look back on this period with the same sense of regret. He recognized how deeply the war had divided the country."

The book is called "Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Television News War," and is published by the Free Press. Kurtz's well-known book, "Spin Cycle," appeared a decade ago. Pub date is listed as October 9.

"As the U.S. occupation of Iraq stretched into its fourth bloody year, the media coverage was turning increasingly negative, and the three evening news anchors constantly agonized over how to deal with the conflict," Kurtz writes.

He describes NBC debating whether to call the conflict a "civil war" (it would be the first major news outlet to do so) this way: "It seemed a self-conscious attempt to replicate the moment in 1968 when Walter Cronkite returned from Vietnam and pronounced the war a stalemate. But that verdict from America's most trusted man, in an era when a television anchor could hold that designation, was based on firsthand reporting, while NBC's maneuver was simply a linguistic confirmation of what most Americans already believed to be the case."

UPDATE: Rachel Sklar has many other tidbits in her Eat the Press takeout today at the Huffington Post on Monday.

Part of the Post excerpt focusing on CBS's Katie Couric follows. The rest of the piece will be in The Washington Post on Monday and at www.washingtonpost.com*

Katie Couric had always felt uncomfortable with the war, and that sometimes showed in the way she framed the story. When Bush had been marshaling support for the invasion, she felt, the country seemed to be swept up in a patriotic furor and a palpable sense of fear. There was a rush to war, no question about it. …

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