Kurtz: Still in the Dark
For readers just joining us: In alarming news previously known only to the roughly 33,275 Twitter followers of media critic Howard Kurtz, the influential Washington Post/CNN figure apparently remained without power as night descended.
Kurtz, who endured a five-day storm-induced electricity cut prior to going on vacation, returned home just in time for a second stint without power. Just like during power cut one, Kurtz hasn't hesitated to microblog his displeasure with Pepco. But so far this time, there's no evidence that the social media savvy power company has dispatched a crew to Kurtz's stricken household—despite the fact that the electric cut could mean the pundit would be dangerously misinformed in the event an upoming "Reliable Sources" episode deals with such electricity-powered media as the Internet and cable TV. (We'll assume that a resourceful newsman like Kurtz keeps battery-operated broadcast TVs and radios around for just this sort of emergency).
For 11 uneasy hours, we waited for word on whether the power was back. Was Kurtz banging out some new take on a new bloggers-versus-reporters controversy via a manual typewriter? Was he using a treadmill generator to make sure his flow of information was uninterrupted? Had he tragically drowned in the flood of melted ice cream presumably flowing out of the Kurtz family refrigerator? In mid-evening, Kurtz's avatar emerged from seclusion to announce that he "wasn't pushing to restore my power," only objecting to Pepco misinformation. There's still no word that power has returned—with or without the badgering of the most important man in Style section-based Monday media coverage.
Meanwhile, signs have emerged that Kurtz's major-media colleagues may not be prepared to rally behind his criticisms of the power company. ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper (a City Paper alum) tweeted that his own power cut had been resolved very nicely, and thanked Pepco, hashtaggng his post "the anti-Kurtz." Could such obvious divisions among the Beltway media elite cause overburdened Pepco staffers to play favorites? Or is Kurtz already a target, perhaps because of his trenchant reporting on causes of interest to Pepco workers, many of whom were devoted followers of deposed Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel?
Our reporting has not turned up other examples of leading media-criticism figures deprived of electricity, a contrast that is sure to encourage those who might view Kurtz's as a case of persecution.
But the good news is that despite the unprecedented loss of power, Kurtz is still tweeting. Which means that the hard working reporters here at City Desk—your number one source for Kurtz electricity-related news—will know as soon as Kurtz and those 33,000 followers exactly when the lights flicker back on that Howard Kurtz HQ. Stay tuned!
Photo via CNN