Why is the nation's foremost media critic silent on Lou Dobbs' birther conspiracy theories?

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Could it be because they are both employed by CNN?

Lou Dobbs' leap onto the Birther bandwagon has been big news this week. CNN reporters have debunked the conspiracy theory; MSNBC has covered it; Jon Stewart has mocked it; Chris Matthews has suggested the faux controversy is "not about documentation, but pigmentation." CNN officials have even felt compelled to comment.

Everybody, it seems, has weighed in, denouncing Dobbs' walk on the wild side.

Everybody, that is, except the nation's most famous media critic. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz hasn't managed to criticize Dobbs.

He has certainly had the opportunity. With a column in the print edition of the Post, and expanded online "Media Notes" column each day, a weekly "online discussion" on the Post's web site, a widely-read Twitter account, and a gig as a host and commentator for CNN, Howard Kurtz has more opportunity to weigh in on high-profile media stories than any other media critic in America.

Yet Kurtz has been all but silent. Here is every single word Howard Kurtz has written about Dobb's Birtherism:

Lou Dobbs has also raised questions about Obama's birth certificate.

Kurtz couldn't even bring himself to note that Obama is, in fact, a US citizen, fully qualified for the office he holds -- much less actually criticize Lou Dobbs.

And that's it. Not so much as a Tweet of criticism of Lou Dobbs.

That's an awfully big media story for the nation's most famous media critic to take a pass on.

It should be noted that Kurtz's dual role as media critic for the Washington Post and employee of CNN has raised conflict of interest concerns in the past. The Post's Ombudsman had to address the issue recently after Kurtz defended CNN in an online discussion without disclosing his ties to the cable channel.

So, let's see: A Washington Post reporter has taken a pass on the biggest story in the beat he covers -- a story that just happens to reflect poorly on a company that the reporter draws a paycheck from on the side. Sounds like something the nation's leading media critic should take a look at! Oh... damn.

If Kurtz doesn't devote a column and/or this week's Reliable Sources broadcast to his CNN colleague Lou Dobbs' reckless birth certificate nuttiness, he should spend that time examining his own conflict of interest.

UPDATE: Here's another (somewhat amusing) example of Kurtz tripping over his dual roles at CNN and the Post.

The Washington Post, CNN
Howard Kurtz, Lou Dobbs
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