Nov
12
2010

Political Donations Are OK for Executives, Who Don't Influence News…on Some Other Planet

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's indefinite suspension for violating network policies regarding political donations lasted all of two work days. On his Wednesday show (11/10/10), Olbermann brought up the point that FAIR made in our alert–the difficulty of squaring such a policy with MSNBC parent General Electric's political giving and multi-million dollar lobbying. Olbermann was joined by Nation blogger Greg Mitchell and Howard Kurtz of CNN/Daily Beast. Olbermann asked Kurtz: Howard, how far up the tree does it go? If you and I and Greg can't donate, can our bosses donate? Can our bosses' boss donate? Can Rupert Murdoch donate? Because […]

Oct
20
2010

When Limbaugh Demonizes Obama, Some Listeners Take Him Literally

Rush Limbaugh (10/18/10), holding a photo montage from Drudge up to the "Dittocam," went off on a bizarre rant that suggested that Obama was possessed by supernatural evil (Mediaite, 10/19/10): Folks, these pictures, they look demonic. And I don't say this lightly. There are a couple pictures, and the eyes, I'm not saying anything here, but just look. It is strange that these pictures would be released…. It's very, very, very strange. An American president has never had facial expressions like this. At least we've never seen photos of an American president with facial expressions like this. It's not the […]

Aug
04
2010

Howard Kurtz Defends His Defense of Fox in Sherrod Debacle

In Howard Kurtz's latest column (8/2/10), the Washington Post media reporter bemoans the new media atmosphere as a "search-and-destroy culture" that is "as likely to vilify journalists as political and corporate leaders." Kurtz counts himself among those vilified journalists, citing recent criticism over his defense (7/22/10) of Fox News' handling of the Shirley Sherrod debacle: I know what it's like to be caught in the crossfire. When I reported that Fox News did not air the Sherrod video until after she had been fired, I got hammered by the left, and some commentators just ignored the chronology. (And conspiracy theorists […]

Jul
23
2010

Howard Kurtz Absolves Fox in Sherrod Smear

Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz (7/22/10) defends Fox News against charges it promoted Andrew Breitbart's fraudulent Shirley Sherrod story–because, he says, Fox's news division didn't even address the story until after Sherrod resigned. In an extensive defense of Fox, Kurtz also cites an e-mail circulated by a Fox executive to the channel's news division, cautioning news staff to be careful with the story. Here's Kurtz: But for all the chatter–some of it from Sherrod herself–that she was done in by Fox News, the network didn't touch the story until her forced resignation was made public Monday evening, with the […]

Jun
21
2010

Raising Conflict Questions Some of the Time

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz (6/21/10) write aboutthe investigative journalism produced by the Center for Public Integrity, and wonders about its independence: The center has also received grants–including $300,000 last year–from the Open Society Institute founded by liberal philanthropist George Soros, sparking questions about whether its news agenda leans to the left. "We have a very clear firewall editorially," Buzenberg says. "We decide what we want to do and how we want to do it." Donors, he says, "may hate it and they may never fund us again, that's their right. . . . It isn't free to produce. We've […]

Jun
14
2010

Howard Kurtz and the Problem of Helen Thomas

People have interpreted the Helen Thomas controversy any number of ways.Some were disappointed in her remarks, since they are overshadowing the fact that for years she's asked questions about issues that the rest of the press corps didn't care about. Others have suggested that Thomas' questions about war and the killings of civilians were a warning sign,and that other journalists should have stepped in to stop her sooner. That's the view of the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, who led his piece today (6/14/10) with this: There she goes again. That was the eye-rolling reaction in the White House pressroom when […]

Apr
16
2010

Howard Kurtz and Tea Party Coverage: Too Much Is Not Enough

From his Web column today (4/16/10): After initially dismissing the tea types as an unimportant sideshow, the media are drinking deeply from that particular cup, especially with today being Tax Day and all. If by "dismissing" Kurtz means "featuring on the network evening newscasts," he might have a point–since that's how last year's Tea Party Tax Day protests were actuallycovered. But Kurtz has always had weird ideas about how much coverage the Tea Party events should receive. A year ago he criticized several newspapers for not devoting enough coverage to the protests–though the actual protests, uhh, hadn't happened yet: "The […]

Mar
15
2010

Fox Reporters Worried About Their 'Credibility'

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz turns in a profile of Glenn Beck today (3/15/10)that includes a few interesting anecdotes.He reports that "Fox staffers note that veteran producer Gresham Striegel left the network after clashing with Beck and say the host has surrounded himself with loyalists" from his own radio company, and that "a vice president was assigned 'to help keep an eye on that program' and review its content in advance–a full-time job." Kurtz also notes that some Fox reporters aren't crazy about what his new fame is doing to them: Beck has become a constant topic of conversation among […]

Dec
14
2009

Kurtz Covers for Post, Palin

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz spends his Sunday mornings as the host of Reliable Sources, the media criticism show on CNN. Yesterday (12/13/09), one segment concerned the Washington Post's decision to print an op-ed (12/9/09) on "Climategate" by Sarah Palin. It prompted this exchange with guest John Aravosis of Americablog: ARAVOSIS: What newspapers aren't supposed to do is present an issue that's already decided as being a he said/she said of, hey, half the people say yes, half the people say no. KURTZ: So you say it's already decided. ARAVOSIS: Ninety percent of scientists believe global warming is manmade. KURTZ: […]

Oct
27
2009

Fox's Phony Debates

When Fox News Channel was developing Sean Hannity's TV show, it was known as Hannity & Liberal To Be Determined. That liberal turned out to be Alan Colmes, who would eventually leave the gig after doing his part by playing the Washington Generals to Hannity's Harlem Globetrotters. It hardly mattered who sat in the "left" chair–they were there to get roughed up by the home team. Until recently, professor Jane Hall was a regular guest on the O'Reilly Factor, debating conservative Bernie Goldberg. She's left Fox, and as she explained to CNN's Howard Kurtz (10/25/09), she never considered herself a […]

Oct
13
2009

Is Engel Too Opinionated–or Does He Have the Wrong Opinion?

When NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Richard Engel recently returned from Afghanistan, he told MSNBC's Morning Joe, "I honestly think it's probably time to start leaving the country." Engel added, "I really don't see how this is going to end in anything but tears." Engel's comments caused Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz (10/12/09) to raise an eyebrow at a reporter stating an opinion: "That sounds awfully opinionated for a working reporter," wrote Kurtz. But we had to wonder if what really attracted Kurtz's scrutiny was Engel's stating of an opinion, or the opinion itself? After all, for years FAIR […]

Aug
07
2009

Snarky WaPo-er 'Surprised by the Ferocity out There'

Howard Kurtz recently offered fellow Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza a chance to apologize for having, in an online Post feature, "implied Hillary Clinton was a 'bitch.'" But American Prospect's Tapped blogger Adam Serwer (8/5/09) has a question regarding Milbank's aside that "it's a brutal world out there in the blogosphere…. I'm often surprised by the ferocity out there, but I probably shouldn't be": What's the sound of a million hands facepalming? No one who goes around using obscenities to describe other reporters and administration officials should be complaining about the "ferocity" of blogs–if Milbank is bothered […]

Jul
02
2009

Too Much Truth in Advertising at the WaPo?

The business department at the Washington Post has gotten into trouble in what may be a case of too much truth in advertising. As reported by Politico (7/2/09), the Post circulated a flyer offering–for the low, low cost of $25,000–an "intimate and exclusive Washington Post salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and publisher Katharine Weymouth." The circular promised the participation of "key Obama administration and congressional leaders" as well as "healthcare reporting and editorial staff members of the Washington Post." Lest anyone be confused as to why dinner at the Post's publisher's house would be […]