Howard Kurtz of FOX News regularly displays his Hadean view of the media. He slavishly cites the New York Times and to a lesser extent the Washington Post whenever seeking a media authority as if both newspapers are still “of record”. Kurtz should try to yank himself into the twenty-first century by eschewing those feeble old rags and embracing what is effective citizen journalism. To paraphrase a line out of the cult classic, Big Trouble In Little China, “The news is here, Mr. Kurtz.”
In a piece he wrote (and televised) on August 22, 2014 under the overly lengthy headline, “Obama Stands Alone: Even the media are baffled by his deepening isolation” Kurtz writes, “President Obama has few remaining friends—either in his own party or in the media. That’s the unmistakable conclusion of two pieces this week in the New York Times.” From there he cites the “Times” throughout including Maureen Dowd and develops his story as if every word written in the Times should be cherished as the undeniable truth and therefore irrefutable. Why? Well, because it comes from the New York Times. Has Howard been living in a cave? Or has he simply disengaged from an America which views the New York Times like a subversive enemy in our midst?
Kurtz among other media drips is gaga over the mainstream media and he’s under the impression Americans think the same way. He’s dead wrong. According to a Gallup poll done in 2013, “77% of Americans distrust mainstream media television”. In 2012, the Pew Research Center reported that only 23% of Americans read a newspaper regularly. They added the number has dropped eighteen points over the last decade and continues to decline. More recently, Gallup reported that America’s confidence level in both newspapers and mainstream network television has sunk to all time lows of 22% and 18% respectively. And while television is still the main source of news for Americans, ABC, NBC and CBS each account for 1% or less of viewership according to Gallup with FOX News at the top of the list with 8% of those polled responding that it is their main source for news.
The real hit is taken by Howard Kurtz’s idols. Only 6% of respondents indicated they get their news in the main from print with the New York Times sharing their rating of 1% with the Wall Street Journal. That statistic is profoundly underscored by the Times latest financial statement which is gloomier than an Obama economic report. In every meaningful category, the Times posts negatives. By contrast, three times the number or 18% of those polled indicated they go to the Internet for their news. So, why is Howard Kurtz so desperate to use the old, maggoty Gray Lady as the source for everything newsworthy? It appears because he’s like that kid on the playground who desperately wants to be on the best team only the best team has grown old and is now the worst team and Kurtz, though the glory days are over, still idolizes the codgers irrespective of their irrelevance.
When less than a quarter of Americans trust the traditional news outlets it’s not because those outlets are doing stellar jobs of reporting the truth. It’s the opposite. People don’t trust the traditional media because they’ve been blatantly lied to by it for decades. But it’s a new era. In this one there are fast and effective ways of getting to another point of view, if not the entire truth. Today, everyone is a potential journalist. Everyone has a combination still and movie camera at their fingertips. Their pictures and clips rarely lie. Moreover, no news gathering organization in the world can compete with them. It would take resources beyond any modern communications company’s capacity to be, like citizen journalists are, everywhere every time an event occurs. More than that, people are under no misconception that the media lies or distorts the truth with an increasingly overt liberal agenda. This is shown in another Pew Research poll which stated that only 26% of those polled think the media gets the facts straight, 20% think the media is “pretty independent” and only 19% said they thought the media is “fair to all sides.” In spite of it all Kurtz and others in the business continue to deflect that abundance of criticism regarding liberal bias by claiming it’s merely a perception, that the little people just don’t understand how real journalists think.
That old shibboleth doesn’t get traction any longer however. All anyone needs is a computer or smart phone to see the truth played out right before their eyes. It no longer matters that the mainstream media deliberately lies and distorts or ignores stories altogether if they don’t fit the liberal paradigm. There are millions of people who are there to fill the vacuum presenting the other side of stories or simply reporting what the traditional media conveniently ignores.
Take the latest from that paragon of restraint, Harry Reid. Speaking to an Asian-American business group in Las Vegas on August 21, 2014, Reid told the crowd, “I don’t think you’re smarter than anybody else, but you’ve convinced a lot of us you are.” He then followed that insulting gaff with another: “One problem that I’ve had today is keeping my Wongs straight”. But it wasn’t until the Republican research group, America Rising heard of Reid’s statements and found the clip that the story was reported. The fact is, were there not people in the crowd who actually recorded the clips, the mainstream media would not have reported the incident at all. With such advancements in news reporting, how is it Kurtz keeps going back to his dying little corner of the world and acting like it’s as healthy as Jack Lalanne in his prime while audiences in general are absolutely sure he and his media buddies not only lie to our faces, but lie by omission? It’s that kind of elitist arrogance those who consume news dislike so intensely. It smacks of a singular desire for stardom and acceptance into a society of like-minded liberals rather than one for getting the untainted truth out to a public starving for it.
Listening to Howard Kurtz talk about the media is an exercise in embarrassment over his boyish enthusiasm for what he wants everyone to believe is still the fourth estate. Clearly it isn’t, not even close. The same Pew poll cited above makes the point. Americans by a large majority, 68%, believe the media should “keep leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done”, i.e. be the unbiased bastion of truth delivery, but in the poll respondents make it known what goes for journalism in this country is hopelessly lost and entirely unreliable, the antithesis of what Kurtz portrays as our modern media.
But it’s Kurtz’s effusiveness when reporting on the media that is sometimes difficult to watch. One can sense how he strains to subdue a desire to outrightly defend liberals and their causes, like kicking against the goads as a manifestation of liberal DNA. He flubs and flounders around the periphery of critiquing the media succeeding only in being embarrassingly deferential to it in the final analysis, especially those crippled dinosaurs, the New York Times and the Washington Post. He would be much more credible if he refrained from mentioning them at all since by the cited polls herein, only a paltry few read, watch or trust them.
Why FOX hired the man is beyond this writer’s understanding. That Kurtz’s show is relegated to the weekend is something for which we can all be grateful however. It’s when FOX slides him into other programs that I go scurrying for the remote. I’d rather watch a black and white test pattern.