August 15, 2007

Did Rove Kidnap Kurtz? Did The MSM?

I have to admit to being a regular reader of Howard Kurtz' Media Notes columns. He writes probing critiques of the mainstream media and of the blogosphere, one of only a handful of media critics who understand both arenas. Whenever a major story breaks, Howard Kurtz usually covers the coverage like no one else.

Except now. Just hours after Howard's last column, Karl Rove resigned from the Bush Administration, probably the biggest political story of the year. Everyone has written about this and offered their viewpoints on the meaning of Rove and his resignation. Rona Barrett probably had something to say about it.

And ever since, Howard Kurtz has remained ... silent. I suspect a Rovian plot to keep Howard from revealing all he knows about the soon-to-be former Bush aide. Or perhaps, a conspiracy among media outlets has kept Howard locked in an old film room, surrounded by tapes of Jerry Dunphy and Bree Walker, attempting to drive him crazy to keep him from revealing their desperation on losing one of their favorite punching bags.

Or maybe he's just on vacation. If so, then you know he has to be annoyed at missing this story.

Rove doesn't plan on missing out on his opportunity, though. Sridhar Pappu at the Post reports that publishers are indeed salivating at the prospect of publishing a tell-all Rove memoir, if he does tell all:

Would Rove, the nation's man of mystery who is legendary for his loyalty, actually write a book that revealed life behind the White House's wrought-iron fence? That's the question publishers are asking themselves and eager to take a chance on.

But the very prospect of a Rove tome on his tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., is serious business and would most certainly be highly anticipated. While it might not draw Harry Potter-like crowds when -- and if -- it debuts (though we'd love to see midnight lines at your local Barnes & Noble with men and women donning bald caps), the book certainly would earn Rove a considerable sum.

"He's not going to have the slightest trouble selling the book," says Sara Nelson, editor of Publishers Weekly. "The advance I imagine would be in the seven figures, but it's not going to be a $10 million advance."

Oh, please. Hillary Clinton got $8 million for her book, and no one expected to be a "tell all". Everyone knew it would be basically a campaign biography for her expected presidential run. Bill's advance reportedly came to $12 million after Hillary's deal. Can anyone expect Rove to settle for less than that for a book that would reveal the inner workings of one of the most secretive administrations in recent memory?

Expect $15 million for Rove's advance. That may even be too low. Howard Kurtz could tell us more, but until he escapes, we'll just go with that estimate.


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Comments (12)

Posted by RBMN | August 15, 2007 11:34 AM

Rove could probably fill seven volumes just with what the press got wrong over the years--sometimes accidentally wrong, but mostly on purpose.

Posted by J'hn1 | August 15, 2007 11:46 AM

You are misattributing Hillary's advance.
It was a massive campaign contribution given out of what would have otherwise been shareholder dividends.
Not a "reasonable" draw against earnings as a normal advance is, although the advertising effect of that large of an advance helped the push to get lots of press about the book (thus helping sales).

Posted by Barnestormer | August 15, 2007 11:58 AM

If tell-all connotes betraying confidences, I wouldn't hold my breath. On that score, I'd expect his role emulation to tend more to say, the William Casey than the Dick Morris model.

Posted by filistro | August 15, 2007 12:49 PM

It's not just Howie... the silence everywhere is kind of eerie. Lefty blogs aren't exulting, even though they've pursued this guy mercilessly for years. And righties aren't exactly mourning, except for Fred Barnes.

There's kind of a detached Rovian policy anaylsis/retrospective going on over at The Corner, but their hearts don't really seem to be in it, either.

Otherwise... crickets.

Makes you wonder if the advance might actually not be all that huge. I think Bush fatigue runs deep and strong in the nation right now. A substantial majority of the country just wants this bunch to be GONE.

After that happens, of course, interest will revive. Karl would do much better to wait a year or two for his book.

Posted by TyCaptains | August 15, 2007 1:53 PM

Why would an employee at the forefront "one of the most secretive administrations in recent memory" tell much about anything?

Glad we're admitting they're secretive BTW.

Posted by MarkD | August 15, 2007 2:53 PM

I'd expect the same that you got from Bill and Hillary - self-serving "revelations" that everybody already knows. Save your money.

More will come out in this blog than in any political book.

Posted by RBMN | August 15, 2007 3:36 PM

Actually, a leaky White House is an unhappy White House. Absence of leaks is a good thing. It means the people around the President aren't trying to stab him (or each other) in the back by giving political enemies a heads up.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | August 15, 2007 6:58 PM

filistro said:

"A substantial majority of the country just wants this bunch to be GONE"

Really? Which poll said that?

In all of the recent polling I've seen, that subject hasn't even come up. Most of the people in the country are concerned with the war in Iraq, with terrorism, and with health care.

And since "polling" shows that the Dems don't have a clear "advantage" on the war or terror issues, you're whistling past the graveyard.

Posted by filistro | August 15, 2007 7:29 PM


Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Jan. 24-25, 2007. N=1,003 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"At this point in time, do you personally wish that George W. Bush's presidency was over, or don't you feel this way?"


Wish It Was Over 58%

Don't Feel This Way 37%

Unsure 5%


Full details at

Posted by Adjoran | August 15, 2007 10:08 PM

As noted above, Bill and Hillary's advances were at least partially political gratuities.

However, Rove's book just can't sell that well, so he won't get that sort of advance. You see, conservatives bought the Clintons' books to deconstruct them.

Leftists will just steal Rove's.

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | August 16, 2007 3:26 AM


We're not talking about whether or not info has leaked but rather the approach this administration has taken in regards to secrecy, which as Ed points out, is beyond the norm.

Posted by Faith+1 | August 16, 2007 6:30 AM

For the truly conspiratists in mindset has anyone ever seen Kurtz and Rove in the same room? What if Rove is Kurtz?

P.S. Is 'conspiratists' even a word? I need more coffee and tinfoil.

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