Howard Kurtz

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Howard Kurtz

Kurtz at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Knife Fight
BornHoward Alan Kurtz
(1953-08-01) August 1, 1953 (age 59)
Brooklyn, New York
EducationUniversity at Buffalo
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Howard Kurtz

Kurtz at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Knife Fight
BornHoward Alan Kurtz
(1953-08-01) August 1, 1953 (age 59)
Brooklyn, New York
EducationUniversity at Buffalo

Howard "Howie" Alan Kurtz (born August 1, 1953) is an American journalist and author with a special focus on the media. He is host of CNN's Reliable Sources program, and Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast. He is the former media writer for The Washington Post. He has written five books about the media. He has been described as the nation's "most influential media reporter".[1]


Life and career

Kurtz was born in Brooklyn, New York in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood.[1] 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.[1] He then attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. After Columbia he went to work for the Bergen Record in New Jersey.[1] He left New Jersey to move to Washington D.C. and to work as a reporter for syndicated columnist Jack Anderson.[1] 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 initiatives, including California's Proposition 227 and Proposition 209.[2]

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.[3] Kurtz covered the press since 1990 for the The Washington Post,[4] and is widely read within the journalism business. His last day at The Washington Post was October 15, 2010.[5]

Reliable Sources on CNN

Since 1998 Kurtz has been the host of the weekly CNN program Reliable Sources, a cable television program that explores the standards, performance and biases of the media.[6] Kurtz leads the scrutinizing of the media's fairness and objectivity by questioning journalists of top news organizations, including those at CNN.[7] The show premiered in 1992 when it originated as a one hour special to discuss the media's coverage of the Persian Gulf War.[8]

The Daily Beast

In October 2010, Kurtz announced that he was moving to the online publication The Daily Beast.[9] He will serve as the Washington bureau chief for the website, writing on media and politics.[10][11] His salary at The Daily Beast has been reported to be $600,000 a year.[12]


National journal bureau chief.


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.[13] [14]

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. [15]

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.[16][17]

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.[18][19]

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.[20][21]

Personal opinions and potential conflicts of interest

Kurtz has publicly declined to state his political affiliation.[22] 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.[1] 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."[23]

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 tepid 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.[24]

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 media ethicists 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.[25]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "See Howie Kurtz Run by Garrett M. Graff, July 1, 2005,
  2. ^ "Sheri Annis Biography". Fourth Estate Strategies. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  3. ^ The Fortune Tellers by Howard Kurtz author biography (Google Books)
  4. ^ "CNN TV - Anchors/Reporters:Howard Kurtz". 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Journalist, Cover Thyself" by Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, November 21, 2005
  7. ^ CNN bio
  8. ^ CNN website Reliable Sources webpage
  9. ^ Brown, Tina (5 October 2010). "Howard Kurtz Joins The Daily Beast". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  10. ^ Peters, Jeremy (5 October 2010). "Longtime Washington Post Writer Heads to The Daily Beast". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  11. ^ "Media writer Howard Kurtz leaves The Washington Post". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 6 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ listing and excerpted reviews
  14. ^ Media Circus review by Frye Gaillard, September, 1993, The Progressive
  15. ^ listing - summary and excerpts from reviews
  16. ^ listing with excerpted reviews
  17. ^ USA Today book review by Raymond L. Fischer, September, 1998
  18. ^ listing - summary and excerpts of reviews
  19. ^ New York Times book review by Richard Bernstein, September 11, 2000
  20. ^ listing and summary
  21. ^ "Weighing Anchors" review by Marvin Kalb, Washington Post, October 21, 2007
  22. ^ "Critiquing the Press" on
  23. ^ Kaus, Mickey. "Phony Pose, 'Oh, We Disclose,' Hurts Kaiser, Kurtz Adviser!," Kaus Files, June 18, 2000.
  24. ^ "The Media, the Black Panthers and President Obama". Fox News. 20 July 2010. 
  25. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (29 May 2008). "CNN Reporter’s Interview Raises Ethical Questions". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 

Further reading

External links