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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 19th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Media Monitor – May 19

Howard Kurtz breaks down the frenzied coverage of Prince Harry’s U.S. visit and the announcement that Barbara Walters will retire after this year.


Filed under: Barbara Walters • Media • Media Criticism • Media Monitor • Prince Harry
May 19th, 2013
02:10 PM ET

AP under assault

Jennifer Loven, Jane Hall & Joe Concha join Howard Kurtz to discuss the Justice Department’s decision to seize phone records from the Associated Press.


Filed under: Associated Press
May 19th, 2013
01:15 PM ET

Candor about breast cancer

Journalist Michelle Cottle tells Howard Kurtz about her decision to write about her deeply personal decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy.


Filed under: Reliable Sources
May 19th, 2013
01:11 PM ET

Bloomberg apologizes for snooping

Jane Hall, Joe Concha & Howard Kurtz talk about Bloomberg News’ admission that reporters monitored executives’ use of terminals.


Filed under: Bloomberg News
May 19th, 2013
01:11 PM ET

Media denounce IRS scandal

Jennifer Rubin, David Shuster & Howard Kurtz look at the media’s criticism of the Obama administration in the wake of allegations of IRS misconduct.


Filed under: Barack Obama
May 19th, 2013
01:09 PM ET

ABC’s talking points flub

Jennifer Rubin, David Shuster, Jane Hall & Howard Kurtz on ABC’s reporting on the Benghazi talking points emails.


Filed under: ABC • Benghazi
May 17th, 2013
06:13 PM ET

Sneak peek at this Sunday's show

The Obama administration found itself on the defensive this week as reporters demanded more information on the aftermath of the Benghazi consulate attack, the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, and the Justice Department’s seizure of phone records from the Associated Press as part on an investigation into leaked information.

Howard Kurtz will be addressing the media angle in all of these stories this week. He’ll be joined by former AP White House reporter Jennifer Loven, as well as Mediaite’s Joe Concha and Jane Hall of American University.

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin and Dave Shuster, host of Take Action News, will also join Howard to discuss the media’s coverage of this week’s big stories.

Finally, Daily Beast reporter Michelle Cottle a recent story she wrote on her deeply personal decision to undergo a full preventative double mastectomy.

Tune in Sunday morning, 11am ET.


Filed under: Associated Press • Benghazi • IRS • Sneak Peek
What we're reading this week
May 17th, 2013
06:11 PM ET

What we're reading this week

By Elizabeth Cherneff, CNN

We’ve got a busy show coming up on Sunday. From the Justice Department seizing AP reporters’ phone records to the IRS targeting conservative groups, the Obama administration’s handling of several major controversies has been criticized across the spectrum. We’ll discuss the coverage of the latest Washington headlines in detail, but until then, here are some other reads that caught our attention this week:

Seth Meyers will return to ‘SNL’ this fall, leave for ‘Late Night’ in 2014: The late night television changes continued this week with NBC’s announcement that current SNL cast member Seth Meyers will replace Jimmy Fallon as host of ‘Late Night.’ In a ‘Today Show’ interview, Meyers confirmed to NBC’s Matt Lauer that he’ll stay with Saturday Night Live through the fall before starting his new gig next year. February 2014 marks Jimmy Fallon’s transition to ‘The Tonight Show’ slot, also coinciding with NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage. While many SNL fans will undoubtedly be sad to see Meyers go, this latest change reflects the networks’ push to attract younger viewers.

An inside look at Guantanamo Bay: Cuba’s most infamous detention center is the subject of author and Wall Street Journal correspondent Jess Bravin’s new book The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay. In his latest novel, Bravin highlights the lack of legal precedent that makes prosecuting inmates even more difficult amid hunger strikes and calls to close the prison. With rising costs to maintain Guantanamo Bay and accounts of worsening conditions inside the cells, the topic is sure to remain a source of controversy across the political spectrum.

Which journalists accepted free laptops from Google? When it comes to reviewing the newest smartphones and laptops, trying out the latest gadgets is part of the job- but does it create conflicts of interest for journalists tasked with objectively covering the technology beat? At this week’s Google keynote address, Gawker media blogger Sam Biddle highlighted a possibly ambiguous loan agreement that may have allowed several journalists to keep some gadgets free of charge. The story highlights the bigger issue of news organizations’ ethics policies against handouts and not accepting gifts- in an evolving media landscape, it’s an ongoing conversation to be had amongst journalists and news executives.

Posted by
Filed under: Google • NBC • What we're reading
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.

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