After Donald Trump repeatedly blew the "secret Muslim" dog whistle about President Obama – and even Hillary Clinton – for having failed to call the Orlando shooting “radical Islamic terrorism,” Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz was not concerned that Trump made such baseless accusations on Fox nor that the accusations went unchallenged by the three cohosts. Instead, Kurtz complained that The Washington Post was unfair to Trump in a headline calling him out for it. UPDATED
In my last post, I noted the following comments from Trump, as egged on by Fox & Friends cohosts:
“He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands.
We’re led by a man that is a very — look, we’re led by a man that either is, is, is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind, you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot — they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the ways he acts and can’t even mention the words, 'radical Islamic terrorism.' There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable.”
The Washington Post caught that too, in an article by Jenna Johnson, headlined, "Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting." In it, she noted the similarity with Trump’s previous attacks on President Obama:
For months, Trump has slyly suggested that the president is not Christian and has questioned his compassion toward Muslims. Years ago, Trump was a major force in calls for the president to release his birth certificate and prove that he was born in the United States. On the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly stated as fact conspiracy theories about the president, his rivals and Muslims, often refusing to back down from his assertions even when they are proven to be false.
Unlike the three Fox hosts, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade, CNN’s Savannah Guthrie challenged Trump to explain what he had meant. As reported by WaPo, Trump doubled down on his dog whistle, while pretending to distance himself from it:
"Well there are a lot of people that think maybe he doesn't want to get it," Trump said. "A lot of people think maybe he doesn't want to know about it. I happen to think that he just doesn't know what he's doing, but there are many people that think maybe he doesn't want to get it. He doesn't want to see what's really happening. And that could be."
Yet what Kurtz thinks is really “awful” is the Post saying that Trump connected Obama to the Orlando shooting.
As Media Matters noted, Trump has come under heavy criticism for his smears today and Kurtz has a long history of defending or deflecting media criticism of Trump.
UPDATE: Kurtz reiterated some of his criticism in the video below.
UPDATE: The Washington Post headline, "Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting," was a revised headline. The original headline read, "Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting." However, Kurtz referred to the second, "seems to connect" headline as "awful."