Howard Kurtz Gets What He Deserves

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.

  1. Dave Budge

    We continue to be a population of misinformed, ill-informed individuals because of lapdogs like Howard Kurtz.

    Ummm, I think you’re aiming at the wrong target. We’re ill-informed because of us (in the royal sense of the word.) After all, Howard Kurtz hasn’t kept you from seeing things you think important, has he?

    • lizard19

      “we” are certainly not blameless. as for Kurtz, he helped keep the scandal Webb uncovered from percolating beyond the “conspiracy theory” dead zone.

      • Dave Budge

        I’m not defending the guy. I have been ignoring him for well over a decade. Still, I think you give him both too much credit and too much blame. I’d bet that if you asked 100 people on the street “Do you know who Howard Kurtz is” about 3% would be familiar. We live in a time of mind-boggling abundance where we have so much choice in our lives that most people simply put public policy at the bottom of their priority list. Thus “we” are victims of over-abundance (which, BTW, seems preferable to being victims of shortage.)

        I have no answers to how this (1st world) problem gets solved. I’m not so sure that we should even be looking for one since mankind has shown an ability to muddle through much more horrific states than where we now exist. But I think a good step is to take most arguments at face value first and assume in good faith that the arguer believes what they are arguing (except for politicians and Wall Street bankers – who deserve our skepticism and have earned our contempt.) Everyone is wrong at some level but most people believe what they say to be right. I accept that there is a lot of “wrong” in the public dialogue and move on. After all, the more we learn the less we actually know. And the more sure we are in our knowledge the more closed minded we become. I prefer to just move on.

  2. Dave Budge

    I think this might be a much bigger problem than Kurtz.

    • Very interesting…I wonder if the online news sources are doing this? I know that television media is doing this big time.

      In television, all reports, and information promote homosexual marriage as the only way forward. All opposing views in favor of traditional marriage have been filtered out by editors.

      This was very obvious the day that Jason made public his preference for deviant sexual intercourse, and CBS news lead with the story. Really?! The most important news of the day a sports stars activity in his bedroom? People die in far off places but america is fixated on the homosexual issue.

      It is obvious that the “elites” have made this the new orthodoxy. If you dare to become a heretic then you must be punished. Kurtz was punished to prevent anyone else from thinking of stepping out of line. What a terrible day if the sound of one hand clapping would be disturb by the voicing of a logical, intelligent argument in favor of traditional marriage.

      • JC

        Rev, do you get that the more people that come out and honestly depict themselves to the masses, that the less people like you can claim their “sexual intercourse” to be “deviant”?

        What to you and your flock is “deviant sexual intercourse” is, over the centuries and across cultures, much less “deviant” than what our current media reports would indicate.

        The more that people like Kurtz can keep the gay out of the mainstream, the more people like you can claim that certain behaviors are “deviant.”

        So how can you have an “intelligent argument” when one side’s starting point derives from a stance of social acceptability based on some fictional norm (hence you and others’ derogatory use of the word “deviant”) maintained by a press that boxes itself in with people like Kurtz?

        Heck, you want “deviant sexual behavior”? Look no further than the actions of catholic priests.

        • Please do not twist my words according to your own bias. The term sexual deviance is not according to social norms, but according to the necessary purpose of our sexual organs.

          The number of people who engage in this activity has no relevance to the continued sterility of this human behavior, nor does telling others that you engage in such activity make it fertile.

          I am not arguing from the point of social acceptance at all, so I certainly do not start from that point.

          • JC

            You used the word deviant. Here’s the definition.

            From dictionary.reference .com:

            de·vi·ant [dee-vee-uhnt]

            1.deviating or departing from the norm; characterized by deviation: deviant social behavior.

            2.a person or thing that deviates or departs markedly from the accepted norm.

            So if a person, in your opinion departs from the norm (“deviant sexual intercourse”), or using the word as an adjective, as you are doing, then it isn’t too much of a stretch to then call that person a “deviant”, or to use the word as a derogative slang.

            You accuse me of twisting your words, but they were yours. And as calling someone’s behavior “deviant” and then trying to cover your ass is really disingenuous — your words are there for all to see.

            Actually, I’ll call your words out for what they are: hate speech.

            • I do concede the point that deviant was not the proper word to be used. I am not interested in what people find socially acceptable, but what is true, concise and irrefutable.

              A better word choice would have been perverted.

              1) deviating from what is considered right, good, or true; misdirected, corrupted, etc. 2. of our practicing sexual perversion. 3. misinterpreted; distorted.
              (Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second Edition).

              This word fits all connotations (including the misinterpretation part!). You misinterpret my argument as hate speech. Desiring the definition of marriage to continue to mean what it has always meant in all time and cultures is hate? Strange, then people have always been haters because they see the necessity to describe the unique qualities of the male/female sexual procreation with a unique word?

              “hate speech” Ad hominem and not an valid argument. If you can’t make your point then call me a hater. Helpful and clarifying. You have no rational argument.

              • JC

                Calling gay people perverts is hate speech in my book, too. Why do you think Matthew Shepard died the grisly death he did? Because people accepted him for who he was? No. Because people like you called him deviant and perverted.

                Why don’t you practice some of that christian faith you proclaim to preach and learn to love people as they are. After all, in your book, jesus has already died for their “sins.” Right? Or are you one of those who follows Leviticus and thinks that LGBT people should be put to death?

                I’m done with you and this topic. Take your bigotry elsewhere.

            • JC, if you are done with this discussion why did you ask me so many questions?

              Your understanding of Christianity is perverted.

              Jesus said…
              “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
              (Mark 1:15 ESV)

              Before sinners can to be forgiven, they must first repent of their sin, and then have faith that Jesus is has atoned for their sin.

              Jesus said…
              “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
              (John 8:11 ESV)

              Thus Jesus teaches us that continuing in our sin is contrary to the will of God. When someone takes on the identity of “homosexual” without the desire or will to turn from their sin, they do themselves grave spiritual harm.

              St. Peter, whom Jesus called the rock, addresses those who claim faith but do not repent and turn from their sins but entice others to sin. (This would include the homosexual RC priests who made victims of young children)

              “These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
              (2 Peter 2:17–22 ESV)

              None of these passages call for the extermination of homosexuals, because in the Christian faith this is not commanded. God himself judges the sinner it is only our responsibility to warn.

              We must also warn and condemn the sin of the ruthless murderers who slaughtered poor Matthew Shepherd. But be careful that you do not slay again the innocent Shepherd of the sheep in your condemnation of his followers as “haters” for our warnings, and calls to repentance.

              • JC

                You don’t get sarcasm or rhetorical questions at all, do you? (No, don’t answer that — it’s a rhetorical question).

                I have no desire to debate biblical references with you. What i do know is that people like you who refer to “others” as deviants and perverts are engaging in hate speech. And as such you, as much as anybody, are responsible for maintaining an atmosphere of permissiveness that allows people to abuse, harm and kill LGBT people.

                No reply needed.

            • Not rhetorical at all. They teach nothing. They are unjustified slander. That is why I responded.

    • lizard19

      thanks for posting this, Dave.

  3. Swede Johannson

    Everything in perspective.

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