Howard Kurtz ignores George Will's distortions

The Washington Post's media critic fails to condemn the columnist's selective editing.

Published December 1, 2006 10:15PM (EST)

Yesterday, Greg Sargent, blogging at TPMCafe, caught George Will in an obvious distortion of the recent confrontation between President Bush and Sen.-elect Jim Webb.

"Will cut out the line from the President where he said: 'That's not what I asked you,'" Sargent observed about Will's column, published Thursday. "In Will's recounting, that instead became a sign of Bush's parental solicitiousness: 'The president again asked ''How's your boy?''

"Will's change completely alters the tenor of the conversation from one in which Bush was rude first to Webb, which is what the Post's original account suggested, to one in which Webb was inexplicably rude to the president, which is how Will wanted to represent what happened."

In the same post, Sargent called on Howard Kurtz, the media reporter for Will's home base at the Washington Post, which was also the paper to first report on Bush and Webb's conversation, to condemn Will's selective editing.

As of now, what we have from Kurtz is a nonanswer. Though he did mention Will's piece in his own "Media Notes " online column today, Kurtz focused on the controversy around the incident, ignoring altogether the topic of Will's journalistic ethics (or lack thereof).

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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