In their coverage of Ann Coulter's attacks on the widows of 9-11 victims, both Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz and ABC's Jake Tapper denounced Coulter's inflammatory rhetoric while asserting that her underlying point -- that Democrats deliberately put forward "infallible" advocates in order to squelch honest debate -- is "valid" and "perfectly acceptable." But a closer examination of the specific examples of "infallible" advocates cited by Coulter turns up evidence that, in every case, these individuals have faced strong Republican opposition and, quite often, ad hominem attacks from conservatives.
Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz presented Fox News' Brit Hume as the "Low-Key Voice of Conservatism on Fox News" who rarely -- if ever -- runs afoul of the facts on his nightly news program. Kurtz's profile of Hume largely ignored the numerous false and misleading statements Hume has made during his tenure as a Fox News host and commentator, and even presented some of Hume's falsehoods as the truth.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, while discussing Rep. Tom DeLay's intention to resign, Howard Kurtz asked conservative Power Line blogger Scott Johnson if "the press" was "to blame for the fact that the congressman is under indictment" in Texas, because "a lot of people have criticized those charges." Later, while discussing media coverage of Rep. Cynthia McKinney's recent altercation with a Capitol Police officer, Kurtz asked Johnson whether "some in the media" have "gone easy on McKinney ... because she's a liberal Democrat." The comments are not the first Kurtz has made suggesting that the media's purported liberalism controls their coverage of political events or scandals.
Responding to readers' comments on The Washington Post's falsehood-laden April 9 editorial on President Bush's authorization of intelligence leaks, Post media writer Howard Kurtz -- instead of reporting on the editorial's numerous falsehoods -- stated: "I don't care what Post editorials say, except as a reader."
In keeping with a pattern at The Washington Post, Shailagh Murray and Howard Kurtz dismissed suggestions that the Post should follow up on a National Journal article on an internal Bush administration review, which found that President Bush had been specifically advised that claims he made during his 2003 State of the Union address about Iraq's nuclear program might not be true. Despite the Post's failure to report on the revelation, Murray suggested readers already knew "that Bush had some indication" the intelligence he cited "was faulty."
CNN Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz noted that Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll, released on March 30 by Iraqi insurgents who had held her for 82 days, had "been criticized and had her motives questioned by skeptics, critics, and conspiracy theorists here at home." But Kurtz seemed to have forgotten that he had joined numerous right-wing media figures in questioning the motives behind her statements.
In his March 27 column, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz asked, "Have the media declared war on the war [in Iraq]?" -- apparently ignoring the response CBS News' Lara Logan gave to a similar question he asked on the March 26 edition of his CNN program, Reliable Sources. In a detailed response, Logan flatly rebutted accusations repeated by Kurtz that the media have overemphasized the violence in Iraq.
Responding to the widespread criticism of the launch of washingtonpost.com's Red America weblog by Republican operative Ben Domenech, Howard Kurtz defended the Washington Post's actions by mischaracterizing the criticism of Domenech and minimizing the widespread accusations of plagiarism levied against Domenech. Those same accusations led to Domenech's resignation from washingtonpost.com on March 24.
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wrote about President Bush's exchange with syndicated columnist Helen Thomas during Bush's March 21 news conference, in which he claimed that by calling on Thomas "for the first time in three years," Bush found "a useful foil" that allowed him "not only to punch back but to show the country that he's up against a left-wing press corps."
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On CNN's Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz presented as fact the claim, advanced by the conservative media, that President Bush was not specifically warned that levees in New Orleans could be breached as a result of Hurricane Katrina. In fact, other evidence shows that Bush and other administration officials were warned and were aware that Katrina could cause the levees to breach, with catastrophic results.