During a washingtonpost.com online discussion, Howard Kurtz falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain did not use his military service in television advertising during his failed 2000 presidential campaign. In fact, Kurtz's own reporting during the 2000 Republican presidential primary campaign contradicts his statement.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz has devoted a total of approximately 18 minutes to the controversy surrounding remarks made by Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In contrast, Kurtz has led only brief discussions on two religious figures who have endorsed Sen. John McCain and who have made controversial comments -- a single two-minute discussion on Rev. John Hagee and only seven seconds on Rev. Rod Parsley.
Referring to Howard Kurtz's profile of him published in The Washington Post, Chris Matthews asked on MSNBC's Hardball, "Was that a Valentine's Day message?" Radio host Michael Smerconish said, "[Y]ou two are valentines, you and Kurtz," and Sybil Wilkes of The Tom Joyner Morning Show remarked, "It was a love letter, yes."
In a Washington Post article about conservative radio hosts' opposition to Sen. John McCain's presidential bid, Howard Kurtz reported that Bill Bennett, "who is neutral in the race," has not "climb[ed] aboard the stop-McCain bandwagon." But Kurtz did not mention, as he did on his CNN program, that Bennett reportedly contributed more than $2,000 to McCain's campaign in December 2007 and to Mitt Romney's campaign in January, which raises questions about "whether Bennett can act as a neutral analyst in a race that still includes Gov. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Ron Paul," according to The Huffington Post.
On Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz claimed that in a 2004 Chicago Tribune article, Sen. Barack Obama "said there wasn't much difference between his position and George Bush's position on the [Iraq] war." But Kurtz left out three key words from Obama's quote in the Tribune -- "at this stage" -- as well as the context of the remarks, both of which indicate that Obama was discussing how best to stabilize Iraq from mid-2004 onward, not claiming agreement with Bush on the war itself.
Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz asserted that Obama's "fundraising receives far less press attention than Clinton's," citing as evidence a November 30 Post article claiming that "Obama's Hopefund Inc. distributed more than $180,000 in donations to political groups and candidates in the early presidential voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina." But Kurtz did not note that the retired Federal Election Commission chief counsel quoted in the article said he was quoted "out of context" and that the "facts as played out in the Washington Post piece are not exactly what I was told. ... I was assuming there was more."
In an analysis of Rudy Giuliani's new campaign ad, Howard Kurtz asserted that Giuliani's claim that "reducing taxes produces more revenues" is "a matter of fierce dispute among economists." As evidence of this dispute, Kurtz provided the opinion of only one economist, Larry Kudlow, who agreed with Giuliani's assertion. But a day before Kurtz's analysis appeared in print, a Washington Post editorial had quoted Edward Lazear, chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, stating, "I certainly would not claim that tax cuts pay for themselves." Several other current or former Bush administration officials have also disagreed with the assertion that tax cuts produce more revenue.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, while discussing the November 15 Democratic presidential debate, Howard Kurtz did not challenge university professor Steve Roberts' dismissal of criticism of Tim Russert's questions to Sen. Hillary Clinton at the October 30 debate, even though at least two of the questions Russert posed included falsehoods.
Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz wrote that NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert "was ripped by liberal bloggers" after "he repeatedly pressed Hillary Clinton during a presidential debate." But Kurtz did not note that at least two of the questions Russert posed to Clinton included falsehoods.
Discussing Sen. Hillary Clinton's performance during the Democratic presidential debate, Chris Matthews claimed that Clinton made herself "look like a switcher" when responding to questions about her views on Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. In fact, Clinton maintained that Spitzer's plan "ma[de] sense," explaining that "what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform" and claiming: "I believe we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well-intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform." Matthews and other media figures invoked Sen. John Kerry's alleged "flip-flopping," suggesting that Clinton made inconsistent statements.
Discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's new television advertisement, Howard Kurtz began an article: "In a stark, black-and-white ad that pictures her in a mask at Ground Zero, Hillary Rodham Clinton is treading on Rudy Giuliani's turf." Similarly, on CNN's American Morning, John Roberts said that Clinton's ad "really is a shot across Rudy Giuliani's bow to say, 'You're not the only one who has a claim to 9-11 here.' But is she going too far? Is she politicizing 9-11?" Roberts did not ask whether Giuliani, who has repeatedly discussed 9-11 in campaign settings, is "going too far" or "politicizing 9-11."