Howard Kurtz

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Howard Kurtz
Howard Kurtz 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Kurtz at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Knife Fight
Born Howard Alan Kurtz
(1953-08-01) August 1, 1953 (age 67)
Brooklyn, New York
Education University at Buffalo
Columbia University
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Mary Tallmer (1979-?; 2 children)
Sheri Annis (2003-present; 1 child)[1]

Howard "Howie" Alan Kurtz (born August 1, 1953) is an American journalist and author with a special focus on the media. He is the host of Fox News Channel's Media Buzz program, and the successor to Fox News Watch. He is the former media writer for The Washington Post and the former Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast. He has written five books about the media. Kurtz left CNN and joined Fox News Channel on July 1, 2013.[2]

Life and career

Kurtz was born in Brooklyn, New York, in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood, the son of Marcia, a homemaker, and Leonard Kurtz, a clothing executive.[3] He is a graduate of the University at Buffalo (SUNY). In college he worked on a student newspaper, the Spectrum, becoming the editor in his senior year.[3] He then attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. After Columbia he went to work for the Record in New Jersey.[3] He left New Jersey to move to Washington D.C. and to work as a reporter for syndicated columnist Jack Anderson.[3] Kurtz left Anderson to join the Washington Star, an afternoon newspaper. When that newspaper closed in 1981 Kurtz was hired at the Washington Post by Bob Woodward, then the Metro editor. Kurtz has written for The New Republic, The Washington Monthly, and New York magazine.

Kurtz married Sheri Annis in May 2003. Annis, a media consultant and political commentator, served as campaign spokesperson for Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and has played major roles in various conservative political initiatives, including California's Proposition 227 and Proposition 209.[4]

The Washington Post

Kurtz joined the staff of the Washington Post in 1981 and left in 2010 (29 years). He served there as a national affairs correspondent, New York bureau chief, and deputy national editor.[5] Kurtz covered the press since 1990 for The Washington Post,[6] and is widely read within the journalism business.[citation needed] His last day at The Washington Post was October 15, 2010.[7]

Reliable Sources on CNN

From 1998 until 2013, Kurtz served as host of the weekly CNN program Reliable Sources, a cable television program that explores the standards, performance and biases of the media.[8] Kurtz led the scrutinizing of the media's fairness and objectivity by questioning journalists of top news organizations, including those at CNN.[9] The show premiered in 1992 when it originated as a one-hour special to discuss the media's coverage of the Persian Gulf War.[10]

The Daily Beast

In October 2010, Kurtz announced that he was moving to the online publication The Daily Beast.[11] He served as the Washington bureau chief for the website, writing on media and politics until 2013.[12][13] His salary at The Daily Beast was reported to be $600,000 a year.[14] On May 2, 2013, the site's editor-in-chief Tina Brown announced that Kurtz and The Daily Beast had "parted company".[15] Though this occurred in the aftermath of a controversy in which Kurtz incorrectly accused NBA player Jason Collins of failing to acknowledge a former heterosexual engagement when he came out as a homosexual, Kurtz stated that the parting was mutual and "in the works for some time".[16][17][18] Sources inside the Daily Beast newsroom have stated that Kurtz's departure became inevitable once he began dedicating more of his working hours to writing for and promoting a lesser-known media website called Daily Download.[19][20] Brown later said on Twitter she fired Kurtz for "serial inaccuracy".[21]

Fox News

On June 20, 2013, it was announced that Kurtz would leave CNN to join Fox News Channel where he would host a weekend media program and write a column for[22] Kurtz's Media Buzz replaced the Fox News Watch program hosted by Jon Scott.


Media Circus: The Trouble with America's Newspapers

This 1993 book by Kurtz identifies a host of problems afflicting U.S. newspapers and also offers some suggestions. Among the troubles identified by Kurtz are: timid leadership, a spreading "tabloid" approach to news with a growing focus on celebrities and personal scandal, poor coverage of racial issues and the Persian Gulf war, increasing bureaucracy and a "pasteurization" of the news.[23][24]

Hot Air: All Talk, All the Time

This 1997 book by Kurtz describes many failings of the talk show / political talk show format even as it had been rapidly proliferating on television and radio. Some of the problems he identifies include: superficiality, lies, hysteria, lack of preparation, sensationalism and conflicts of interest. [25]

Spin Cycle: Inside the Clinton Propaganda Machine

This 1998 book by Kurtz describes the various techniques used by the Clinton White House to put the best possible "spin" on the numerous controversies and scandals surrounding the Clintons and to refocus the attention of the media on topics other than "non-issues" that were captivating the media's focus.[26][27]

The Fortune Tellers: Inside Wall Street's Game of Money, Media and Manipulation

This 2000 book by Kurtz addresses the growing public fascination with stock market trading as fueled by cable television shows and Internet sites providing platforms to various pundits, stock touts, and brokerage firm stock analysts. The increasing potential for manipulation of the media and the public by stock market insiders is discussed.[28][29]

Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Television News War

This 2007 book by Kurtz chronicles the struggles at the three "traditional" broadcast television networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) to enhance the stature, credibility and audience-draw of their various anchors of the evening network news programs. The book's focus is specifically on ABC's Charles Gibson, CBS's Katie Couric and NBC's Brian Williams.[30][31]

Personal opinions and potential conflicts of interest

Kurtz has publicly declined to state his political affiliation.[32] His opinions on various media issues are featured in his five published books about the media industry.

As a high-profile media critic and analyst, Kurtz's political leanings, multiple employers and potential conflicts of interest sometimes have been discussed or called into question by other media critics and pundits. Both liberal and conservative viewpoints have been perceived in his writing.[3] Journalist Mickey Kaus, reporting on and partially quoting from a letter by journalist Charles Kaiser in The New Republic, wrote that Kurtz "has large, non-technical conflicts of interest, since he free-lances and takes money 'from the people he writes about, from Time Warner to Condé Nast.'... One seemingly conflicting interest is Kurtz co-hosting CNN's Reliable Sources, in of which he obtains monetary supplements as well as national renown."[33]

Kurtz has received criticism from some for his perceived friendship and implicit support of controversial syndicated radio host Don Imus. Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly has criticized Kurtz for criticizing Fox News. The network had covered a story about the United States Justice Department regarding its prosecution of members of the New Black Panther Party for accusations of voter intimidation during the 2008 United States Presidential Election. O'Reilly had criticized the network news media outlets, particularly Bob Schieffer of the CBS News talk show Face the Nation, for not asking Attorney General Eric Holder about the story. When Kurtz talked about the topic to his audience on Reliable Sources, he had mentioned that Fox News was "pushing" the story. O'Reilly criticized Kurtz's description that Fox was pushing the story and said that Kurtz's own newspaper, The Washington Post, had its own ombudsman Andrew Alexander say that it regretted not pursuing the story earlier due to newsworthiness.[34]

KURTZ: I think the argument that I've heard Olbermann make in the past about Fox News – it's not an argument that I embrace – is that, because it poses as a news organization and puts out dangerous misinformation is a cheerleader for the Bush administration, that it's misinforming our society. But you know what? They're entitled to do that.[citation needed]

Kurtz's 2008 Reliable Sources interview of Kimberly Dozier, a CBS journalist wounded in Iraq, was criticized by several members of the media due to the fact that Kurtz's wife had been paid to serve as a publicist for Ms. Dozier’s memoir. During the interview, Kurtz praised Dozier and read passages of her book.[35]


  1. "UBT: Alumni Profiles". Retrieved 25 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Flint, Joe (20 June 2013). "Media critic Howard Kurtz leaves CNN for Fox News". LA Times. Retrieved 20 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "See Howie Kurtz Run by Garrett M. Graff, July 1, 2005,
  4. "Sheri Annis Biography". Fourth Estate Strategies. Retrieved 24 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. The Fortune Tellers by Howard Kurtz author biography (Google Books)
  6. "CNN TV - Anchors/Reporters:Howard Kurtz". Archived from the original on July 19, 2006. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "HowardKurtz on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 25 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Journalist, Cover Thyself" by Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, November 21, 2005
  9. CNN bio
  10. CNN website Reliable Sources webpage
  11. Brown, Tina (5 October 2010). "Howard Kurtz Joins The Daily Beast". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 6 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Peters, Jeremy (5 October 2010). "Longtime Washington Post Writer Heads to The Daily Beast". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Media writer Howard Kurtz leaves The Washington Post". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Blodget, Henry (2011-01-19) THE GOLDEN AGE OF NEWS: Mainstream Media Staffers Agog At Huge Salaries Huffpo And Daily Beast Are Paying Big-Name Stars, Business Insider
  15. "Tina Brown on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 25 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Dylan Byers. "Daily Beast drops Howard Kurtz". POLITICO. Retrieved 25 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Shapiro, Rebecca (2 May 2013). "Howard Kurtz, Daily Beast Part Ways". Huffington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Erik Wemple". The Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Calderone, Michael (1 May 2013). "Howard Kurtz's Connection To Little-Known Website Raises Questions". Huffington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Dylan Byers and Katie Glueck. "The Howard Kurtz saga". POLITICO. Retrieved 25 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Kludt, Tom (5 August 2013). "Tina Brown Says She Fired Howie Kurtz For 'Serial Inaccuracy'". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 5 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Weinger, Mackenzie. "Howard Kurtz leaves CNN for Fox". Politico. Retrieved 20 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. listing and excerpted reviews
  24. Media Circus review by Frye Gaillard, September, 1993, The Progressive
  25. listing - summary and excerpts from reviews
  26. listing with excerpted reviews
  27. USA Today book review by Raymond L. Fischer, September, 1998
  28. listing - summary and excerpts of reviews
  29. New York Times book review by Richard Bernstein, September 11, 2000
  30. "Reality Show: Howard Kurtz: 9780743299824: Books". Retrieved 25 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. "Weighing Anchors" review by Marvin Kalb, Washington Post, October 21, 2007
  32. "Critiquing the Press" on
  33. "kaus files dot com". Retrieved 25 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "The Media, the Black Panthers and President Obama". Fox News. 20 July 2010. Archived from the original on July 23, 2010. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. Steinberg, Jacques (29 May 2008). "CNN Reporter's Interview Raises Ethical Questions". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Howard Kurtz (1994). Media Circus: The Trouble with America's Newspapers. ISBN 0-8129-2022-8.
  • Howard Kurtz (1997). Hot Air: All Talk, All the Time. ISBN 0-8129-2624-2.
  • Howard Kurtz (1998). Spin Cycle: Inside the Clinton Propaganda Machine. ISBN 0-684-85231-4.
  • Howard Kurtz (2000). The Fortune Tellers: Inside Wall Street's Game of Money, Media, and Manipulation. ISBN 0-684-86879-2.
  • Howard Kurtz (2007). Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Television News War. ISBN 0-7432-9982-5.

External links