Sunday, October 26

Is cable news overreacting to an Ebola diagnosis in New York? Jay Carney on Obama's relationship with the press; Donna Rice Hughes on Monica Lewinsky's comeback.

Is cable news overreacting to an Ebola diagnosis in New York? Jay Carney on Obama's relationship with the press; Donna Rice Hughes on Monica Lewinsky's comeback.

June 12th, 2013
10:28 AM ET

Leakers seek out advocacy journalists

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources."

(CNN) - When Edward Snowden decided to expose the administration's massive surveillance program, the CIA contractor turned to journalists he knew would be sympathetic.

By approaching the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, a liberal columnist for a liberal newspaper, and filmmaker Laura Poitras, who Greenwald has credited with "exposing truths that are adverse to U.S. government policy," Snowden was following an increasingly common path for leakers of sensitive material: Find a like-minded soul in the media. And in doing so, they are bypassing the establishment press, which is then forced to play catch-up.

Want to know more? Continue reading Howie's two cent here.

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: For Obama, it's no more Mr. Nice Media
May 22nd, 2013
10:29 AM ET

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: For Obama, it's no more Mr. Nice Media

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources."

(CNN) - The press has turned on President Obama with a vengeance.

Suddenly, the White House briefing room is filled with confrontational questions. Suddenly, the news pages are ablaze with scandal, and the commentators - even some of the president's usual defenders - are bemoaning his shortcomings. Suddenly, Obama isn't getting the benefit of the doubt.

According to Obama's longtime detractors, the denizens of the fourth estate are finally climbing out of a tank in which they have been immersed since roughly 2007. But the reality is a bit more nuanced than that.

There are a number of unsavory allegations swirling around Washington, but do not underestimate the importance of the Justice Department seizing two months of Associated Press phone records without so much as a heads-up. This not only seems like a case of prosecutorial overreach, even in a case involving national security, it strikes at the heart of what journalists do - and has fostered feelings of betrayal. Does the administration not understand the chilling effect on reporters and their sources, they wonder, or simply not care?

Read more of Howie's two cents here.

May 14th, 2013
06:51 PM ET

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Obama's second-term curse? Not so fast.

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources."

(CNN) - The media verdict is in: Barack Obama is cursed.

Less than four months after taking the oath of office for the second time, he is seen as falling prey to some mysterious witchcraft that casts a fatal spell on re-elected presidents.

"Will Obama suffer the 'second-term curse'?" asks the Washington Post.

"President Obama stares down the second-term curse," says Politico. And such stories ricocheted onto NBC's "Today" show, on which, we learned, "some observers" are questioning whether "Mr. Obama is falling victim to the second-term curse."

One can almost conjure up a bubbling cauldron of black smoke with a wand-wielding wizard laughing diabolically.

Read more of Howie's two cents here.

April 11th, 2013
06:06 PM ET

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Soul-searching Weiner seeks forgiveness

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and is Newsweek's Washington bureau chief. He is also a contributor to the website Daily Download.

(CNN) - In his anguished, rambling and excruciatingly candid therapy session with The New York Times Magazine this week, Anthony Weiner was nominally engaged in damage control to clear the way for a political comeback.

But it was so much more - it was a catharsis, for the former congressman and his wife Huma Abedin, that was both hard to read and impossible to put down.

On some fundamental level, he had a need to tell the story - the entire story - of what an "idiot" he had been to send pictures of his private parts to random women, which cost him his job and came close to costing him his marriage.

Read more of Howie's two cents here.

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Media, stop trying to crown Hillary Clinton
April 4th, 2013
03:33 PM ET

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Media, stop trying to crown Hillary Clinton

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and is Newsweek's Washington bureau chief. He is also a contributor to the website Daily Download.

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton is front-page news again. What did she do to warrant this treatment?

Nothing.

The Page 1 splash in The New York Times the other day was anicely executed compilation of ... sheer speculation. That is, the same sort of chatter that everyone in the political/media world has engaged in since the day after Barack Obama's re-election. And it immediately launched dozens of cable news segments to rehash the rehash.

What explains this? Whatever happened to having to generate a little news, or even pseudo-news, to warrant some coverage?

Find out the answers here.

March 24th, 2013
09:50 AM ET

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Why consumers are fleeing the media

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and is Newsweek's Washington bureau chief. He is also a contributor to the website Daily Download.

(CNN) - The slow-motion shrinkage of the news business is driving away part of the public.

A Pew Research Center survey says that 31% of those questioned have deserted a particular news outlet because it no longer provides the kind of news and information they had come to expect. And they have noticed this despite the fact that six in 10 overall have heard little or nothing about the industry's financial woes.

Talk about cutting our own throats. This is the most depressing news we've heard about the news business in quite some time.

Who are these customers who are slipping away?

Read more of Howie's two cents here.

March 12th, 2013
01:29 AM ET

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Media's failure on Iraq still stings

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and is Newsweek's Washington bureau chief. He is also a contributor to the website Daily Download.

(CNN) - The 10th anniversary this month of the invasion of Iraq will remind most people of a divisive and dubious war that toppled Saddam Hussein but claimed the lives of nearly 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians.

What it conjures up for me is the media's greatest failure in modern times.

Major news organizations aided and abetted the Bush administration's march to war on what turned out to be faulty premises. All too often, skepticism was checked at the door, and the shaky claims of top officials and unnamed sources were trumpeted as fact.

Read more of Howie's two cents here.

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Bring Keith Olbermann back to ESPN
March 6th, 2013
11:55 AM ET

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Bring Keith Olbermann back to ESPN

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and is Newsweek's Washington bureau chief. He is also a contributor to the website Daily Download.

(CNN) - Keith Olbermann - formerly of MSNBC, formerly of Current TV, formerly of Fox, formerly of ESPN - wants back in the game.

More to the point, he wants to return to his sports roots by reuniting with ESPN.

Now it would be easy to torpedo that idea by noting that Olbermann has burned bridges everywhere he has worked and could inflame things back at ESPN.

But I won't. Instead, I'm going to lead a chant: Let's Go Keith!!

Read more about Howie's two cents here.

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Media walk tricky line on same-sex marriage
February 27th, 2013
11:16 AM ET

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Media walk tricky line on same-sex marriage

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and is Newsweek's Washington bureau chief. He is also a contributor to the website Daily Download.

(CNN) - As same-sex marriage has become accepted in a way that would have been unthinkable a decade ago, the media have - perhaps unwittingly - played a crucial role.

It's not that most journalists lean left on such social issues as gay rights, though that's hard to dispute. It's that the power of pictures can neutralize political propaganda.

Once same-sex marriage was legalized in such early states as Iowa and Massachusetts, the photos and footage of happy couples celebrating made clear that no one was really threatened by such unions. The visuals put a human face on the debate.

Even as stories quoted people who remained staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage, the pictures conveyed that the sky was not falling - and by the time New York, Maryland and Washington legalized same-sex unions, it was, well, less newsworthy.

But that's hardly true everywhere, as a stunning backlash in Mississippi makes clear.

Want to read more about what happened in Mississippi? Find out here


Filed under: Blog • From the Desk of Howard Kurtz • Media • Politics • Same-sex Marriage
February 13th, 2013
10:49 AM ET

From the desk of Howard Kurtz: Blaming media in California gun rampage is nuts

Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and is Newsweek's Washington bureau chief. He is also a contributor to the website Daily Download.

(CNN) - It was strange - and strangely creepy - to discover that the former California cop accused of murder has so many opinions about cable pundits and anchors.

The 11-page manifesto from Christopher Dorner is filled with dark and disturbing thoughts, and his comments about television provide a macabre form of comic relief. What was equally troubling, at least to me, was an explosion of conservative comments on Twitter trying to tie his alleged rampage to ... liberals.

That's right, even with three people dead, one wounded and a manhunt under way, the ugly game of ideological finger-pointing was under way.

Find out Howie's two cents here.

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