If you have "no place to go," come here!

Issa's media guy throws Howie Kurtz under the bus

And honestly, it couldn't happen to a nicer stenographer:

Kurt Bardella, the spokesman, who is twenty-seven, and whom Issa calls “my secret weapon,” fiercely screens all interviews. Bardella has a reputation as one of the savviest young spokesmen on Capitol Hill [and here, Ryan Lizza smacks his lips before he draws the shiv and slips it in], someone who understands the complicated new media environment.

Over lunch at Bistro Bis, a French restaurant near the Capitol, Bardella was surprisingly open in his disparagement of the media. He said, “Some people in the press, I think, are just lazy as hell. There are times when I pitch a story and they do it word for word. That’s just embarrassing. They’re adjusting to a time that demands less quality and more quantity. And it works to my advantage most of the time, because I think most reporters have liked me packaging things for them. Most people will opt for what’s easier, so they can move on to the next thing. Reporters are measured by how often their stuff gets on Drudge. It’s a bad way to be, but it’s reality.”

He marvelled that the Daily Beast recently reported that Issa was fond of referring to himself in the third person. The reporter who wrote the story, Howard Kurtz, had in fact been interviewing Bardella when he thought he was talking to the congressman on the phone. (Kurtz later said that Bardella didn’t indicate that he wasn’t Issa when they spoke.) “I think anyone who knows me well enough knows I’m far too fond of myself to abdicate my own identity in favor of someone else’s,” Bardella told me.


NOTE Actually, after I read the story, I came away with a sort of sneaking affection for Issa, car thievery and arson accusations and those friggin car alarms and all ("What a scamp!"). At least he's not a mealy-mouthed two-percent-less-evil Pilate like the Ds, washing their hands and oiling on about principles before sticking the boot in. If he'd put an bankster or two in the ol' orange jumpsuit, he might get my vote. Highly unlikely, but if he wants the national stage, that's what he should do -- not climate CT.

No votes yet


Submitted by gob on

Your headline hardly does it justice [don't be hurt -- I blame Egypt]; it's the political comedy skit of the week.

Submitted by lambert on

Lizza, Kurtz, and Issa's new guy, who just got sliced up. They all look bad and that makes me happy.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

it's just all kinds of wrong.

I've done hundreds of phone interviews and you always, always start by establishing who you're speaking with. Even if it's just a little small talk -- "how are you today, Mr. Issa, thanks for taking the time to talk with me, blah blah blah."

And not to defend Kurtz, but Bardella should have made it clear that he was speaking for Issa. Sometimes it's okay to interview a spokesperson and sometimes it's not, depending on what the editor and/or reporter want. It's not a decision made by the spokesperson.

OTOH, I guess it would be a mistake to expect better from people who measure their success by how often their stories get picked up by Drudge.