Mar
27
2009

Howard Kurtz: Media Critic and Comedian

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has an explanation (3/23/09, ad-viewing required) for why he thinks that Howard Kurtz's belief that the image of corporate reporters as "just a bunch of cozy Washington insiders" is not "that big a deal"–because "there's such a built-in adversarial relationship between the press and the pols"–constitutes "an extremely funny joke today, showing why he is the 'media critic' for both the Washington Post and CNN":

That is some very penetrating media criticism there. The media and political leaders are at each other's throats so viciously, they have such sharply conflicting interests, that it's a wonder they can even be in the same room together without physical confrontation. For instance, it was the same Howie Kurtz who, in 2004, wrote this about what happened at his own newspaper:

Days before the Iraq war began, veteran Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus put together a story questioning whether the Bush administration had proof that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

But he ran into resistance from the paper's editors, and his piece ran only after assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, who was researching a book about the drive toward war, "helped sell the story," Pincus recalled. "Without him, it would have had a tough time getting into the paper." Even so, the article was relegated to Page A17.

Kurtz's own paper also reported Tim Russert's policy of refusing to report anything said by government officials unless explicitly authorized by them to do so.

Buttressing his condemnation with many more examples of such "adversarial" reportage, Greenwald also updates his post with grim video footage of "the ugly weekend riot that nearly erupted as a result of the intractable media/politician animosity" on display at presidential candidate John McCain's barbecue for his "base."

Read the recent FAIR Media Advisory: "The Short, Happy Iraq War of Howard Kurtz" (3/20/09).