Discussing Tenet book, Kurtz referred to "a bunch of journalists of questionable patriotism"

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

Note to readers: Several readers have posted comments below saying that in this item, Media Matters has misinterpreted Howard Kurtz's "questionable patriotism" and "liberal media" comments. They write that it is apparent that Kurtz was purporting to represent the Bush administration's view of the press, not his own.

But even if this is what Kurtz was trying to do, by presenting the administration's view that the media is liberal and unpatriotic without addressing the merits of such a claim, Kurtz granted that view undue credence. Given that Kurtz is among the nation's most prominent media critics, his audience might expect him to address the substance of the conservatives' media critique rather than simply repeating it.

In fact, this would not be the first time he has suggested that the media exhibit a liberal bias. Media Matters has documented numerous instances of Kurtz suggesting the media are hostile to the Iraq war.

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On April 30, discussing former CIA director George Tenet's just-released book, At the Center of the Storm (HarperCollins), on Washington Post Radio, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz asserted: "So what's interesting here is: This is no longer the liberal media saying this. This is no longer a bunch of journalists of questionable patriotism saying the Bush administration rushed to war; wanted to invade Iraq all along; didn't have a serious debate." Kurtz continued: "This is the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and I think, in some ways -- leaving his motivation aside -- he has validated the press accounts that we've seen about the way that this war unfolded."

According to an April 30 Reuters article, in his book, Tenet "criticized the Bush administration's preparations for war and accused the White House of ruining his reputation by falsely asserting that he told President George W. Bush finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq would be a 'slam dunk.' "

From the April 30 broadcast of Washington Post Radio's morning broadcast:

JESSICA DOYLE (co-host): And he seems to be -- there's a war of words between him and Condoleezza Rice, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, over that, that whole "slam dunk" controversy and the lead-up to the war. What do you make of her comments yesterday?

KURTZ: Well, look, she is still part of the administration. She has to defend this war. She has to defend the intelligence, so, obviously, she's going to have a very different take. And, look, it's Vice President Cheney who said on Meet the Press -- I saw this clip replayed several times in the last couple days -- that "George Tenet told us it was a slam dunk."

So what's interesting here is: This is no longer the liberal media saying this. This is no longer a bunch of journalists of questionable patriotism saying the Bush administration rushed to war; wanted to invade Iraq all along; didn't have a serious debate. This is the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and I think, in some ways -- leaving his motivation aside -- he has validated the press accounts that we've seen about the way that this war unfolded.

Posted In
Government, Ethics
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Washington Post Radio
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Howard Kurtz
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