One of Fox News’ last remaining respectable hosts just got caught in an embarrassing moment live on the air Sunday. Media Buzz host Howard Kurtz was in the middle of attacking the mainstream media as he often does for their alleged ‘fake news’ coverage when he cut to a graphic that he thought supported a point he and pollster Frank Luntz were discussing.
To his horror, however, the graphic showed that Fox News was the least trusted name among all of its rivals.
“That is not the graphic we are looking for. Hold off,” he said frantically before pleading with his production crew to “Take that down, please.”
Kurtz returned to the graphic later in the segment with some context that at least they believed helped their cause, but numbers don’t lie. Any way you slice it, Fox News still ranked well behind its cable news competitors when it came to trustworthiness.
In Kurtz’s defense, running a propaganda outlet while desperately trying to maintain some semblance of fairness and balance in its coverage can be tricky. For years, Fox News has walked this tightrope by permitting the vast majority of its partisan hack ideologues to push the Republican/conservative agenda, while maintaining a handful straight men sprinkled throughout the day to report the truth.
Shepherd Smith and Brett Baier play that ‘straight man’ role daily, Smith at midday and Baier just before prime time. Chris Wallace and Kurtz then come in on weekends to clean up any messes caused during the week. To this day, when Fox is accused of actively advancing its very obvious right-wing ideological agenda, they point to their foursome of more-or-less respected journalists in rebuttal.
Fox stole Kurtz away from CNN in 2013 specifically to examine how the rest of the media covers the news. Over the years his show “Media Buzz” hasn’t been afraid to hold Fox’s own feet to the fire as well, at least when coverage went way overboard.
In the Trump era, however, Kurtz’s mandate to hold the media accountable has more often than not meant carrying water for the president’s all-out assault on the free press. His Sunday show now is dedicated to attacking what he and Fox News claim is the news media’s obsession with deposing Trump. He even wrote a book highly critical of the media’s coverage of the president, entitled “Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War over the Truth.”
After today’s incident, it might finally be time to move Howard Kurtz out of the “straight man” column with Chris Wallace and Shepherd Smith and into the rats’ den of partisan ideologues like Sean Hannity and the brain trust at Fox & Friends.
You can watch this morning’s embarrassing segment below, with the cherry on top coming at the 1:52 mark.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 8, 2018