MEDIA
05/17/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Howard Kurtz Shocked By Fox News Tea Party Promotion

It's nice to know that at some point, you can cross a line with Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz:

The media coverage even became a factor in the reporting. At a Chicago demonstration, CNN's Susan Roesgen started arguing with a protester over why he referred to President Obama as a fascist. "I think you get the general tenor of this," she reported. "It's anti-government. Anti-CNN. This is highly promoted by the right-wing conservative network Fox." Fox anchor Shepard Smith later laughed off her words.

On the other hand, this brief rant by Fox Business Network anchor Cody Willard, posted by a Daily Kos contributor, didn't meet my definition of fair and balanced. Speaking of a young girl, Willard says: "Now she has to pay for the $800-billion Republican-Democrat fascist stimulus package . . . Guys, when are we going to wake up and start fighting the fascism that seems to be permeating this country?"

Guys, what happened to we're-just-covering-the-events?

Indeed, the two examples he provides were particularly jaw-dropping in the way the so-called media professionals behaved whilst in the field. You may recall that I noted the former example myself. What I cannot understand, however, is Kurtz's coy admonishment to Fox. "Guys, what happened to we're-just-covering-the-events?" What happened to it? The same thing that happened to, "Go to bed, or Santa won't come." It's a lie you stop believing when you turn nine years old.

I have no idea why Kurtz is pretending that a sincere non-sponsorship of these Tea Party activities on the part of the Fox News Channel was in play. Fox billed yesterday's events on teevee as "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties." They ran seventy-three promotions on the Tea Parties in the eight days leading up to them. Their hosts were plugged in to the public address system, encouraging the protesters. For a guy so quick to discern examples of "Obama adulation," it seems bizarre that Kurtz cannot seem to figure out something so plainly obvious.

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