Is "Howard Kurtz" a software program?

Why are the highly partisan columns of the Post's objective, nonpartisan "media critic" so easily predictable?


Glenn Greenwald
March 1, 2007 8:53PM (UTC)

From Tuesday's post on the moronic Cheney comments "scandal":

It is only a matter of time before Brit Hume and Matt Drudge begin hyping the scandal of how liberal bloggers were expressing dismay that Dick Cheney wasn't killed, and Howard Kurtz will write a drooling profile of the Blogging Warriors who exposed this scandal and join in with stern condemnation over how terrible it is that the Left is so filled with venom and rage.

Howard Kurtz today, in The Washington Post:

This is really sick.

I know we're living in a polarized time. I know there are people who absolutely detest George Bush and Dick Cheney. I know they like to vent their spleen online, sometimes in vulgar terms, and hey, that's life in a democracy.

But some of the comments posted after a suicide bomber blew himself up at Afghanistan's Bagram Air Force Base, while Cheney was there--killing as many as 23 people--are nothing short of vile.

The comments appeared on the Huffington Post, which, to its credit, took them down. But some were preserved by Michelle Malkin, and I reproduce them here . . .

Says Malkin: "Whatever your partisan leanings, an attack planned on the Vice President of the United States is an attack on America. Some of our fellow Americans, however, can't put their sneering hatred of the White House aside."

Says me: Don't people realize that openly rooting for the death of an American official says way more about them than their intended target?

Kurtz then cursorily adds, buried at the bottom of his column:

I would agree that it's absurd to view these assassination fantasies as anything other than the rantings of the fringe, and that they shouldn't be used to tar an entire ideology.

No, perish the thought. Nobody would ever try to suggest that these 200 or so comments are reflective of anything important at all.

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That is why every right-wing outlet from Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity to Kurtz's best friend, Michelle Malkin (and now Kurtz himself), have been pumping this story madly -- not because anyone would ever try to suggest that these comments reflect negatively on liberals or the left, but merely because it is so very, very significant to discuss as prominently as possible the views of 200 stray, arbitrary, anonymous blog commenters (whose identity can never be determined even for authenticity purposes). Nobody -- and certainly not Kurtz -- is attempting in any way to suggest that these comments should be tied to anyone beyond the individual commenters. Not at all.

That is also why Kurtz's own newspaper is touting this grave and important matter of the anonymous commenters on its front page:

It is also worth noting that Kurtz very solemnly condemns the idea that "these assassination fantasies a[re] anything other than the rantings of the fringe." Indeed. Maybe he can ask his favorite CNN television guest about fringe assassination fantasies the next time Kurtz falls all over himself with admiration while "interviewing" him.

Why would Kurtz so prominently tout and condemn the meaningless and unrepresentative remarks of 200 or so anonymous blog comments, while ignoring the equally perverse behavior and ideas of some of his best-est friends on television, detailed here, here, here, and today by Arianna Huffington here? And why was Kurtz's column so easily predictable -- almost to a verbatim degree -- given what a nonpartisan, objective referee he is of media bias? Isn't it long overdue that someone tell Kurtz that he needs to try harder if he wants to maintain his pretense of nonpartisan, above-it-all, objective media observer?


Glenn Greenwald

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Washington, D.c.



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