Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ganging Up On Kurtz

I don't really get the widespread left-leaning online animosity directed at Howard Kurtz, media critic and reporter for The Washington Post.

I like Howie.

I've read a few of his books, always read his column, and check him out when I can on the idiot box.

I don't always agree with him. Sometimes I'm even like, "Damn, Howie, how can you come to that freakin' conclusion." But I think he's pretty fair. And - best of all - I think he allows his readers to think instead of doing all the thinking for them. You might come to a different conclusion than Howie but maybe you'll agree with everything else but that conclusion.

But all this nonsense about Howie being some kind of neo-con shill is just a complete bunch of nonsense. I'm not sure why James Carville's marriage doesn't seem to matter to most liberal bloggers but Howie's makes him out to be some kind of Manchurian Candidate.

I mean. What is this really about?

Is it that Kurtz isn't liberal enough? Because anyone that thinks he's some kind of shill for the right hasn't been paying attention.

The other day Kurtz broke a story about his bosses. A story about President Bush exerting pressure on Howie's bosses to attempt to kill a very important story that they went ahead and published anyway. Kurtz's story was a story that he never, never, never would have even written if he - obviously - wasn't concerned about such things happening. If Howie wasn't concerned...then there wouldn't have been any news value in it to him. He'd have written about something else rather than report what his bosses were leaving out ("Back Story" as Jay Rosen eloquently pegs this kind of stuff).

Yet his bravery and his intrepidness and his strength of character mean little to some.

One blogger thinks that Howie's use of the word "liberal" to describe critics angry at The New York Times for delaying their spying story and at The Washington Post for not naming what Eastern Europe countries the CIA installed secret prisons at somehow translates into turning both stories into partisan attacks.

The blogger then quotes a not-liberal upset at spying to somehow counter Kurtz. But no one seems to notice that the two have nothing to do with one another. Kurtz wasn't sticking up for the spying (and neither was he sticking up for the right of the state to suppress the media).

And I'm kind of confused how the use of the word "liberal" denotes partisanship. Kurtz didn't use the word "Democrats" and I'm not aware of any non-liberals that have specifically criticized the two papers for the stated reasons.

Anyway, the bottom line is that Kurtz breaks a big story that sheds an awful lot of light on how the Bush Administration has been pressuring the mainstream media, a story that only would be a story to someone who doesn't find that kind of thing kosher, yet he's mercilessly attacked cause he didn't write the article like a typical "liberal" blogger would (liberal is in quotes because in the blogosphere partisan Democrat bloggers are commonly called liberals even when they're not...though I should add that the blogger I'm referring to doesn't strike me as a particularly partisan blogger) with an ample supply of venom or rage or namecalling or obscenities or snark.

(An earlier column by Kurtz is worth reading on the eavesdropping stories. Again...I'm sure...many left-leaning bloggers will parse what they want to hear from it...but only a fool could read that article and not see that Kurtz sides with the right-to-publish-those-stories side of the altar.)

(I apologize for not inserting links...but it's late...and does it really matter if I name the liberal blogger I'm criticizing...it's not like they'll give a shit...they just do what they do...as I've learned painfully this year...criticism of top bloggers on the left is an unforgivable sin which cannot be tolerated...hell...this same blogger made my top 10 best list for the year though I'm not always in agreement with what I read there...but I'm silly that way I guess)


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