The Company Line?
Variety’s Brian Lowry calls out FNC’s Howard Kurtz for backtracking on covering Gabriel Sherman’s Roger Ailes book on his Sunday show. Normally I do not give much credence to Lowry’s FNC pieces because they are almost always slanted or otherwise negative towards FNC. But in this case, if Kurtz did say he was going to cover it only to not cover it, as Lowry writes, then Kurtz must account for why the change of heart…
For in-house media critics to have any credibility, they have to be willing to at least occasionally explore the shortcomings of their employers. And given all the coverage regarding Ailes’ concern regarding the book and his alleged campaign against the author, Kurtz looked caught between the proverbial rock and hard place — so much so that ignoring the book would have been preferable to creating the appearance of acting as Ailes’ surrogate.
Nevertheless, to promise coverage — as Kurtz did on air at the close of last week’s program — and then renege creates an impression of Kurtz as Ailes’ lap dog. And it’s not like there weren’t ways to approach Sherman’s biography in a skeptical manner, especially after New York Times critic Janet Maslin panned the book, providing some cover from one of the bastions of liberal media Fox News so regularly derides.
Either way, Kurtz appears seriously compromised, and looked even worse Sunday compared to CNN’s Brian Stelter, who gave his guests considerable latitude to second guess the volume of coverage his network devoted to Justin Bieber’s arrest.
To that last sentence I say….OUCH!