Howard Kurtz and CNN Struggle Mightily to Identify 'Reliable Sources'


I have always wondered who made Howard Kurtz the arbiter of Reliable Sources, but in Weinergate, we are reminded that Kurtz’s ability to discern them is very much in question. For that matter, so is CNN’s. It has never been a secret that the supposedly even-handed journalism maven is in reality almost too liberal to function, but if he can’t get his head screwed on straight, he might have to fork over the name of his show to someone else altogether. Hopefully Kurtz will have the decency to straighten out some of his Weinergate missteps soon and reconsider who really are “reliable sources.”

Kurtz’s history of judging Reliable Sources is staggeringly one sided and ideological. For one thing, I have frequently seen him go out of his way to profess his respect for the reliability of Keith Olbermann, of all people, not to mention the rest of the guttersnipes at MSNBC:

Now, I don’t put Keith Olbermann in the same category as Beck at all. His MSNBC show, agree with it, disagree with it, was a very well-researched program.

Sure it was, Howard. Also have a look at how incensed he got when Hugh Hewitt insulted Olbermann on Reliable Sources. Kurtz and his publication The Daily Beast also seem to regard the Daily Kos, where Olbermann once blogged, as a very legitimate publication. The most recent example comes during Weinergate. The Daily Beast didn’t respond when I inquired who writes the captions for their “Cheat Sheet,” but have a look at this caption. This is The Daily Beast‘s own writing, not a quote from the linked story:

Not even a hint of suspicion about the reliability of the post by an anonymous blogger “stef” at a radically partisan website with absolutely no editorial oversight. The Daily Beast simply reported it as fact. Not long after this story was posted, Kurtz gave it his blessing on twitter, boasting how his “wait[ing] for the facts” had just been validated:

The bottom line is that Kurtz actually believes “the facts” come from anonymous, unaccountable bloggers at one of the murkiest breeding grounds for partisan trolls there is. Once “stef” weighed in, Kurtz could finally comment on Weinergate without even bothering to check. “The facts” had arrived.

For good measure he ridiculously offered Clinton, Edwards and CNN’s own Spitzer as examples that debunk the notion of a liberal media, sex-scandal bias.

The liberal Mediaite promptly debunked the phony Daily Kos story. What is perplexing is not only that Kurtz would put such faith in the source, but that he would buy that story even though Weiner had never even denied that a lewd picture had been sent from his account. In fact, he had asserted it was the result of a hacking within an hour of the picture’s original posting. How could the Daily Kos’ story have possibly been true anyway?

The Daily Kos and Keith Olbermann are the lowest of the low on both the internet and (formerly) television respectively. It really doesn’t get any less credible, and yet Kurtz gives them considerable credence. To give you an idea of just how miserable the Daily Kos really is, have a look at the recent actions of its founder. By contrast, note the methodical and correct approach of Breitbart as outlined by the profoundly liberal Tommy Christopher.

On the other hand, Kurtz has waged his own personal war against Andrew Breitbart and has employed exactly the same Alinskyite tactic against him that we’ve come to expect from the Joan Walshes of the world. Kurtz has committed himself to marginalizing Breitbart, even by lying about the Shirley Sherrod scandal.

Here’s hoping he has the integrity to put some serious thought into reevaluating these sources. Hopefully so will Anderson Cooper. Kurtz had the opportunity to tally up the score on the early stages of Weinergate on last weekend’s Reliable Sources. Unfortunately, he left unchallenged, and arguably valdidated, CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes’ assertion that “Andrew Breitbart, has a history of taking Democrats out of context and smearing them.”

I would love to see Kurtz as well as Cordes try to run down all of these incidents where Breitbart took Democrats out of context and smeared them. My guess is that their list would be limited to Shirley Sherrod, and they would be dishonest to list that one as well. Even Chris Matthews knows it. I would then love to see Kurtz try to compare that to the lists for Daily Kos and Keith Olbermann and try to defend his position.

Check the scoreboard, Howard.


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