Upon his hiring at Fox News nearly a year ago, Howard Kurtz said, “I’m excited to be bringing my independent brand of media criticism to Fox News.”
A lot of observers snickered, thinking that Kurtz wouldn’t have the latitude, or the courage, to criticize his own network on the air — especially a network with the loyalty ethic of Fox News and its controlling boss, Roger Ailes. Yet functioning as an independent media critic is precisely what Kurtz did yesterday on his Sunday “Media Buzz” program, when he took after his bosses for how they didn’t respond to the news in the New York Times that Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, a darling of Fox News host Sean Hannity, had uttered racist remarks. Kurtz:
But in my view, Fox News fell seriously short on this story on Thursday. All day long until “Special Report” at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, there was virtually no mention of these racist remarks by Cliven Bundy when everybody else was covering it. And I think that to ignore a major story that was on the front page of the New York Times, at a time when the network, among others, as you say, had devoted a lot of time to covering this story and to building up Cliven Bundy, I think that gives him ammunition to Fox’s detractors.
Good for both Kurtz and for Fox News: If there’s a quick way to wipe away the stink from Bundy, it’s this form of self-criticism.