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.
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.
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.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank said of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that "[t]he press will savage her no matter what." Indeed, Milbank himself has smeared Clinton or propagated misinformation about her.
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."
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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.
On CNN, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders claimed that former CIA operative Valerie Plame "was not outed as part of a vendetta," adding: "It was gossip. We know where this came from, from Richard Armitage." However, Armitage was just one of several administration officials who disclosed Plame's identity to the press, and special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who investigated the leak, asserted that "multiple people in the White House" engaged in a "concerted action" to "discredit, punish, or seek revenge against" Wilson.
During a discussion of Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS, CNN's Howard Kurtz asked if it was "plausible" that CBS made Rather "a scapegoat to placate the Bush administration" over the controversial 60 Minutes II report about President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, as Rather alleges. Kurtz's guests -- conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and former CBS Evening News executive producer Rome Hartman -- disputed Rather's assertion. But neither Kurtz nor his guests mentioned two other instances in which CBS allegedly acted to placate the White House in 2004.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz repeated a pattern in which he suggests that the media skew coverage against Republicans by asking -- regarding scrutiny of Rudy Giuliani's actions related to 9-11 -- "Why all the press scrutiny of the mayor's performance that day?" and "Is there any possibility that he's being kind of Swiftboated here?" He also asserted: "[M]y impression is that these stories are being driven by New York Fire Department officials and others in the city who just don't like Rudy." But scrutiny of Giuliani has not been confined to "the mayor's performance that day," and it is not just "Fire Department officials" and others "who just don't like" him who have said that his actions have been inadequately scrutinized.