Howard Kurtz was hardly free from criticism when he was chief media writer at The Washington Post, and with his own show on CNN, for many years but to see how far he’s fallen down the rabbit hole at his new home, Fox, just read his assessment today of this week’s major New York Times on the fatal Benghazi attack (Roger Ailes’s hobby horse for over a year) today.
It’s hard to believe that he would have produced such rubbish at the Post—right down to citing as a chief unbiased critic a fellow Fox guy, Adam Housley, now the network’s Los Angeles correspondent, whose bio reveals no time spent in Libya.
Housley’s also the guy, if you’ve forgotten, who admitted that he had often used as a source Lara Logan’s con man in her debunked 60 Minutes report. He only stopped after Dylan Davies asked for dough. Even after questions about Davies arose, Housley claimed that his 60 Minutes statements supported the Fox line.
Kurtz tries to strike a balance (which NYT reporter David Kirkpatrick already did in his piece) by saying that the article was not just propaganda, as right-wing critics (and Fox hosts) claim, but actually serious journalism. Note the classic view from nowhere: “I am not going to accuse the Times of having a political motivation, such as aiding Hillary Clinton’s reputation, any more than I am going to disparage the motivation of conservative commentators and Republican politicians who are taking serious issue with the paper’s report.” Of course, those critics could not be driven by ideology or politics—or embarrassment that they’ve now been fully exposed, not just by the hated Times but by most intelligence sources?
And Kurtz then closes by adopting the critics’ stance that, yes, it’s all about Hillary.
Here’s a Times editorial today defending their piece.
In a rational world, that would settle the dispute over Benghazi, which has further poisoned the poisonous political discourse in Washington and kept Republicans and Democrats from working cooperatively on myriad challenges, including how best to help Libyans stabilize their country and build a democracy. But Republicans long ago abandoned common sense and good judgment in pursuit of conspiracy-mongering and an obsessive effort to discredit President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who may run for president in 2016.
Who knows: Kurtz may even believe that himself. But he gave up any real ability to say so when he made his deal with his new minders at Fox.
Among Greg Mitchell’s many books is So Wrong for So Long, on how the media failed in covering Iraq.