Frequent watchers of Howard Kurtz’s CNN show “Reliable Sources” can hear the low hum of tension inside the host’s skull. A longtime newsman, Kurtz tries to show balance in mediating among guests and distributes his opinions only via quarter-teaspoons, in a feature titled “Media Monitor.” Opinions and outrage are what the guests are for.
A glorious exception came Sunday, when Kurtz was discussing the interruptions of Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro at President Obama’s Friday afternoon session on immigration policy. In a tete-a-tete with Matt Lewis, another Daily Caller writer, Kurtz scoffed at the notion that Munro had acted legitimately: “He had no business interrupting the president,” Kurtz said to Lewis, who countered that Munro’s approach was the only way to put some questions to the president. Bah, reacted Kurtz: “I understand you’ve got to defend your guy, but . . . it’s a ludicrous answer.” The host at one point even said, “Come on!”
Asked why he doesn’t unload like that more often, Kurtz responds:
My views are often embedded in the way that segments are framed and the way I challenge guests, as well as in the Media Monitor part of the program. But I don’t view Reliable Sources as a soapbox. My primary role as host is to illuminate important media issues and make sure that guests with differing opinions have a chance to be heard. When they say things that are unsupported or absurd, I’m not shy about calling them on it.