On Reliable Sources, the Houston Chronicle's Julie Mason said of Sen. John McCain's statement that his "greatest moral failing" was "the failure of my first marriage": "I think McCain really did something extraordinary when -- the way he answered that question. ... So he put it out there, he acknowledged it. And he sort of inoculated himself against it." Howard Kurtz similarly said: "McCain has acknowledged that he was not faithful in his first marriage, but not necessarily before a national television audience." In fact, McCain has repeatedly "acknowledged" his responsibility for the breakup of his first marriage in his memoir, in interviews, and "before a national television audience."
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wrote that an ad by Sen. John McCain "is accurate in saying that [Sen. Barack] Obama, who has spent most of the past two years campaigning, has not held a hearing on Afghanistan in the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee he chairs." But Kurtz failed to note that McCain -- a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- reportedly has not attended a single hearing of that committee related to Afghanistan in 2007-08.
On Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz again falsely claimed that, as Kurtz worded it this time, Sen. John McCain got "strafed by [retired Gen.] Wes Clark over his Vietnam service" during Clark's appearance on Face the Nation, and also said: "I would have bet a sizable sum of money that of all the possible attacks against John McCain, the Democrats would not have gone after his Vietnam War record, which, of course, includes his capture and torture in Hanoi. Well, I was wrong." But Clark neither "strafed" McCain's Vietnam service, nor went "after his Vietnam War record."
Several media reports falsely claimed that Wesley Clark criticized Sen. John McCain's military service during a June 29 appearance on CBS' Face the Nation, including CNN anchor John Roberts, who said that "Clark took a weekend hit at McCain, targeting his history as a war hero and his possible future as president." In fact, Clark praised McCain as "a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands of millions of others in the Armed Forces as a prisoner of war."
On CNN's Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz asserted that "the press is cutting" Sen. Barack Obama "a break" on his decision to forgo public financing for the general election. But at no point during the show did Kurtz question whether Sen. John McCain has received "a break" from the press regarding the loan agreement McCain signed during the primary, which could have forced him to remain in the race -- even if he had no chance of winning -- in order to be eligible for public matching funds to repay the loan. Further, a Media Matters for America review found that Kurtz has never mentioned McCain's loan on Reliable Sources.
In a washingtonpost.com discussion, Howard Kurtz said that a Washington Post reporter's grant of anonymity to a "senior White House official" -- who expressed the belief that there are "a number of things that will get done" in the remainder of President Bush's term in office -- "probably wasn't worth" it.
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.