Did He or Didn’t He? Should They or Shouldn’t They?

One thing Campaign Desk hopes to avoid is coming across like the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live…but sometimes temptation calls.

This is such a time.

This morning on the Imus show on MSNBC, Chris Matthews and Don Imus were tossing around, on air, rumors of plastic surgery and/or botox injections on John Kerry’s part.

We have noticed this pattern before; commentators and bloviators one and all seem to feel free on the Imus show to say things they would never utter on more mainstream, evening outlets. That, of course, is part of the show’s appeal to viewers and listeners; Imus gives guests a free pass to say anything, however outrageous, unsubstantiated, irrelevant or all of the above.

And perhaps there’s a place for that; but is that place a major “news” outlet? And, if it is, how then does MSNBC propose to distinguish itself from any number of Internet gossip boards?

— S.L.

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Steve Lovelady was editor of CJR Daily.