Archive for May 5th, 2013

by lizard

Howard Kurtz has made a name for himself writing about the media. In addition to 5 books, Kurtz also wrote media analysis for the Washington Post, has his own CNN show and, until quite recently, had a nice-paying job at The Daily Beast.

Kurtz’s recent departure from The Daily Beast is generating some interesting speculation. Was he fired for going after Jason Collins? The timing and degree of stupidity in Kurtz’s gotcha attack certainly makes that seem plausible. Here’s how Kurt Eichenwald’s Vanity Fair piece opens:

That was fast.

Howard Kurtz is out at The Daily Beast less than a day after setting off an Internet conflagration with what was, without doubt, one of the most embarrassing pieces of drivel ever published by a major news outlet. Kurtz, the national media scold whose own independence has been questioned because of his work with multiple media outlets, decided to weigh in on the historic Sports Illustrated cover story in which Jason Collins revealed he was gay—the first major American team athlete to do so. Collins was showered with congratulations for his courage.

But Howie just got riled up, and so he decided to post what he seemed to believe was the ultimate “gotcha”—Collins may have revealed he was gay, but he didn’t reveal he had been engaged to a woman.

Another, less tantalizing reason involves Kurtz’s involvement with Daily Download, a side project Kurtz was spending more and more time writing for.

Personally, I don’t care why Kurtz was fired. I’m just happy to see the bastard get a taste of his own medicine.

You see, Howard Kurtz is a prime example of media gatekeeping who achieved his lucrative position by trashing journalists who actually took risks in the subjects they reported on:

For nearly a quarter century, Howard Kurtz has served as hall monitor for Washington’s conventional wisdom, handing out demerits to independent-minded journalists who don’t abide by the mainstream rules. So, there is some understandable pleasure seeing Kurtz face some accountability in his ouster as bureau chief for Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

However, the more salient point is that Kurtz, who continues to host CNN’s “Reliable Sources” show, should never have achieved the level of influence in journalism that he did. Throughout his career, he has consistently – and unfairly – punished journalists who had the courage to ask tough questions and pursue truly important stories.

When one looks at the mess that is modern journalism in the United States, a chief culprit has been Howard Kurtz. Yet, his downfall did not come because of his smearing of fellow journalists – like Gary Webb and Helen Thomas – but rather from a blog post that unfairly criticized basketball player Jason Collins after he revealed that he was gay.

Gary Webb, for those who don’t know, was ruthlessly smeared for a 3 part series exposing CIA’s complicity in drug trafficking. From the link:

Most of the nation’s elite newspapers at first ignored the story. A public uproar, especially among urban African Americans, forced them to respond. What followed was one of the most bizarre, unseemly and ultimately tragic scandals in the annals of American journalism, one in which top news organizations closed ranks to debunk claims Webb never made, ridicule assertions that turned out to be true and ignore corroborating evidence when it came to light. The whole shameful cycle was repeated when Webb committed suicide in December 2004.

We continue to be a population of misinformed, ill-informed individuals because of lapdogs like Howard Kurtz. I’m sure, with his servile skill-set, he will get another well-paying job guarding the gates.

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