Howie Takes a Hike on Wolf's Weakness
"CNN's 'Reliable Sources' is one of television's only regular programs to examine how journalists do their jobs and how the media affect the stories they cover." -- from CNN's "Reliable Sources" website [emphasis added].
When it comes to "how journalists do their job," the story of the week was Wolf Blitzer's spectacular failure to do his. Going into Thursday's debate, the big question was how Hillary was going to deal with the inevitable grilling over her flip-flopping on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. But when Blitzer finally got around to the issue, well into the debate, he didn't bother to ask a single follow-up question to Hillary's terse "no" answer.
So surely Reliable Sources's host Howard Kurtz would put that question squarely on the table on today's show, right? Wrong. Incredibly, he never raised it. Instead of focusing on the issue of Blitzer's glaring failure to ask relevant questions, Kurtz played a medley of questions that Wolf and the other moderators did ask. The closest anyone came to the mystery of Wolf's dog-that-didn't-bark was WaPo's Chris Cillizza, who observed "the first question was sort of about Hillary's position on driver's license and illegal immigration, but not really. She was able to not really answer that."
And that was that. Just as Blitzer failed to follow up with Hillary, Kurtz displayed an astounding lack of curiosity about Cillizza's comment. We were never even shown that seminal moment, the monosyllabic Hillary "no."
For that matter, check out how Kurtz tried to cover for Blitzer with the screen graphic for the segment: "Hillary Hits Back, Prodded by Anchors." Prodded? With what, a comfy down pillow?
If Blitzer's failure to follow-up was the story of last week, then Kurtz's abdication of his journalistic responsibility today should be the story next weeek. Just don't count on Reliable Sources to raise it.