Washington Post writer and host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" Howard Kurtz takes on Politico's Patrick Gavin Sunday.
Kurtz responds to Gavin's column criticizing him for booking the same cast of characters on "Reliable Sources."
UPDATE: Gavin response appears below
"Washington can be a clubby town and CNN's 'Reliable Sources' may very well be television's best representation of that clubbiness," Gavin wrote. "It's a Sunday show by reporters, for reporters, about reporters and is hosted by Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz, who himself can be seen making all the right appearances on Washington's clubby cocktail circuit with all of us other reporters."
Gavin added that he has "always found it disappointing" that "Washington gossip columnists" and "Washington media writers" — both categories he admits falling into — do not often appear on Kurtz's show.
On "Reliable Sources" Sunday, Kurtz defends booking similar guests over the course of his show's run while emphasizing the diversity of his lineup.
"People like Roger Simon, Michelle Cottle, Clarence Page, David Zurawik and Karen Tumulty appearing more than 25 or 30 times -- but that's over a decade, an average of maybe three times a year," Kurtz says. "Gavin accuses of of, yes, clubbiness. Well, first of all, some of the folks on Gavin's list, like Eric Deggans in St. Petersburg and Jeff Jarvis in new York, wouldn't consider themselves part of the beltway elite. And he left off such frequent guests as Michael Medved in Seattle, Sharon Waxman in Los Angeles, Debra Saunders and Joan Walsh in San Francisco, and others who don't view themselves as DC insiders. No one else was putting Jonah Goldberg on the air when we started booking him years ago. We're proud of the diversity of our lineup. I mean, what other program has hosted Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Perez Hilton and Rabbi David Nesenoff?"
Kurtz then makes it personal, reading an e-mail from Gavin requesting to appear on the program.
"If this is some kind of club, it's one that Patrick Gavin has been trying to join for quite some time," he adds. "He has repeatedly asked and cajoled me to book him on this program. Here's an email Gavin sent me just a few weeks ago: 'Why yes, I'd love to come on Reliable Sources if you're doing any White House Correspondents Dinner curtain raisers this month.'
"Sure, Patrick, we'd be happy to have you on. Sometime in the next decade."
UPDATE: "Hear @howardkurtz went after me on Reliable Sources," Gavin tweeted. "Between Newsweek's and my critiques, he's sure getting sensitive lately..."
UPDATE: Gavin sends along the following response to Kurtz's segment:
Kurtz has gotten very defensive about the 'clubby' angle in my piece but he's also assuming that that was meant as a criticism. It may be to some people, but for others, Reliable Sources' clubbiness is part of it's appeal...it's like a Washington BBQ: People you know talking about things you know. Of course there have been guests outside of the Beltway and the gang of 500. No one said otherwise. I think for Kurtz to think that a list of his Top 20 guests over ten years is a completely foolhardy compilation is silly. It's a legitimate gauge and an interesting discussion topic and his sensitivity to our piece makes it seem like his show is above examination. In other words, if you write about Kurtz, he goes on the attack.
Besides: If there was any better indication of the show's inside-baseball nature, it's Kurtz using up airtime and digging through his email archive to do a segment on my piece about his show. It's a slow news week on July 4th weekend, but still...
What Kurtz still isn't discussing, however, are two questions I addressed in my piece and which I emailed him about beforehand: Why have no other Washington media reporters (Michael Calderone, Harry Jaffe, Erik Wemple, etc.) been ever asked to appear on the program and why does he almost always turns to his paper's gossip columnists as guests instead of from other area papers? He chose to not directly answer those questions. I'm curious why he's unwilling to talk about that, especially as a media reporter who demands transparency from others.
As for wanting to appear on the program, that's a clever pull from the email archive for Kurtz, but if he was going for a cheap shot, it was a poor attempt: I'm hardly embarassed or bashful about having pitched him to appear on the show and his isn't the only program I've asked to
be on in my life. And I made it clear in my piece that the two areas of concern (as mentioned in the previous paragraph) were my two areas of expertise. In fact, I've been, in part, interested in attempting to get on the show to prove my (now correct) assumption: DC based media columnists and gossip reporters (not from the Washington Post) face a long shot.
There also seems to be this assumption (again...) that my piece suggested that his show was some piece of junk. The piece didn't do that (I, in fact, plugged the show's ratings success) and I don't think that.
But, hey, at least I found a way to finally break through on to Kurtz's show.