Post media critic mocks Fox over GOP donations; Liz Cheney as guest host equals ‘eliminating the middle man’
Howard Kurtz — the “media guy” at The Washington Post and host of CNN’s Reliable Sources — has taken “fair and balanced” lumps from the left and the right over the years, but a few tweets he made while watching Fox News Tuesday night will almost certainly tickle liberals.
Kurtz first tweeted last week the news that Fox News’ parent company, News Corp., had given $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, a group that focuses on electing Republican candidates.
An article written by Kurtz at The Washington Post reported even more criticism of Murdoch.
A seven-figure donation is not a first for Murdoch; he gave $1 million to the California Republican Party in 1996.
“The way the rules are written, he is playing by the rules,” says Tobe Berkovitz, an associate professor of communication at Boston University. “This just reinforces for liberals how evil and manipulative Fox and Rupert Murdoch are. For the civilians out there, I don’t think they’re going to see this as particularly relevant or particularly important.”
“Any pretense that may have existed about the ties between Fox News and the Republican Party has been ripped violently away,” said Hari Sevugan, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. “Any Republican that appears on Fox should now have a disclaimer that they are financially supported by the network and any coverage of the elections this fall on Fox should be reported with disclaimer for what it is — partisan propaganda.”
Kurtz continued to knock Murdoch’s media empire Tuesday when he noticed that Liz Cheney was guest hosting for Sean Hannity on the popular Fox News show Hannity.
“Liz Cheney, sitting in for Hannity on Fox tonight. Eliminating the middleman, so to speak,” Kurtz tweeted.
And the Post Media critic let his followers know he wasn’t forgetting Murdoch’s $1 million donation. “Liz Cheney’s lead guest on Fox: Karl Rove. Will W. call in? Will Rupert be inspired to give more money to the GOP?” Kurtz wrote in his next tweet.
Fox News and Kurtz have found themselves at odds before. In July, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly was upset by the way Kurtz reported on his unrelenting coverage of a Justice Department decision to drop a civil suit against the New Black Panther Party. The black supremacist group had allegedly intimidated voters in the 2008 presidential election but no victims had come forward.
“It’s not hard to tell when Fox News is pushing a story,” Kurtz reported on CNN’s Reliable Sources. “It shows up hour after hour after hour. And Fox is pushing hard on allegations that the Justice Department dropped the case against the New Black Panther Party because of racial politics.”
“Now, ‘Talking Points’ is not in business to denigrate [CBS’] Bob Schieffer or Howard Kurtz, but apparently there is a growing split about how the news is covered in this country,” O’Reilly said the following day. “The old guard mainstream media makes decisions based upon ideology, race and elitism. The new media, of which Fox News is a part, covers what Americans believe is important to them. That’s why we are a dominant No. 1, and I submit we have far more influence than the network news does.”
While his latest tweets may delight some, Kurtz has long been criticized by liberals for ignoring extremism by conservatives.
“It is hard to avoid the conclusion, based on examination of his work, that Howard Kurtz loves conservatives but has little time for liberals,” wrote Eric Alterman in his book “What Liberal Media?”
Wikipedia notes that Kurtz is married to a Republican consultant but he “has publicly declined to state his political affiliation.”