We know Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz is prolific. But perhaps he, or his editors, should take a little more time to get up to speed on the existing reporting on some of his subjects.
First, as both The Observer and Gawker reported last week, the scoop that Mr. Kurtz and The Post used to promote his new book on the network news–that Dan Rather had threatened to take his story about President Bush and the National Guard to The New York Times if CBS wouldn’t run it–had already been reported, almost two years earlier, in a book by then-Village Voice editor David Blum.
Today brings a less embarrassing, but still noteworthy, instance of Mr. Kurtz apparently missing some relevant coverage. Considering CNBC’s response to the Fox Business Network, launched this morning, Mr. Kurtz writes:
CNBC has tried to broaden its appeal in recent years, adding shows such as "Mad Money" and "Fast Money." But it’s wary of broadening too far. After he took over in 2005, Hoffman once saw anchor Mark Haines standing next to a kayak, promoting an upcoming segment on weekend fun. He concluded that the network had strayed too far from its market roots.
Here’s what the Financial Times wrote on the same subject almost two weeks ago:
Mr Hoffman recalled switching on the television early one morning after his appointment in February 2005 and seeing a CNBC correspondent posed next to a kayak and talking about weekend fun.
"We had to get it focused right," he says, still somewhat bemused. "We’re an investor network."
In reference to the Rather non-scoop, Mr. Kurtz described himself to us as a "fanatic" about attributing information. Attributing, he said, means "this is where you got it." And since he got it straight from his source, Mr. Kurtz argued, no acknowledgment of Mr. Blum’s reporting–of which Mr. Kurtz was unaware anyway–was necessary.
We have no doubt that Mr. Kurtz got the kayak anecdote straight from Mr. Hoffman. But the FT got it first–not that Post readers would know.