Fox host Howard Kurtz provided a textbook example of why we were yearning for a public apology from Fox over its 2020 election lies.
Kurtz began by painting Fox as some kind of media martyr. The gist, according to Kurtz, is that the rest of the media was rooting for embarrassing disclosures at trial and disappointed the case settled.
That is true but for a good reason: Fox News’ behavior was shocking. The so-called news network was revealed before trial to have deliberately undermined our election with what it knew were lies. Fox hosts who promoted the Big Lie on the air privately ridiculed it, the guests they gave credence to, and even Donald Trump.
The level of deceit revealed shocked even those of us who have become accustomed to Fox’s deceit. But Kurtz sneered, quoting The Wall Street Journal, “An entire industry of reporters has been denied the schadenfreude of seeing their hated political and media competitor in the dock,” as if those were the only reasons for the disappointment.
Kurtz went on to describe the case, Fox News style:
KURTZ: [W]hat some Fox shows aired or allowed others to say, from President Trump to his lawyers, were bogus conspiracy theories. I said Fox had acknowledged in its statement Judge Eric Davis’ findings that some on-air comments about Dominion were false. And that Dominion CEO, in more pejorative terms, that Fox had lied.
Furthermore, Fox’s statement about the settlement was more defiant chicanery than any real acknowledgment of wrongdoing: “We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion voting systems. We’ve acknowledged the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.”
After noting that the settlement was “said to be one of the biggest defamation settlements in American history,” Kurtz added that it also fell “far short” of what Dominion sought. He also whined that other outlets falsely accused the network of not covering the trial. Note: We never said Fox didn’t cover the case, we wrote about the poor quality of the coverage. And, by the way, falsely accusing the network of not covering something doesn’t compare to the media malfeasance of pushing dangerous falsehoods about the 2020 election results.
Then, buried in his rant, Kurtz acknowledged, albeit in the mildest, most euphemistic way possible, that the revelations from Dominion were a BFD:
KURTZ: Let’s be clear, I’m not defending what was dribbled out by Dominion showing a gap between what some at Fox were saying publicly and privately. It’s been embarrassing.
Kurtz quickly moved on to explain – correctly, in my view, why each side had good reasons to settle.
But he concluded by suggesting that the whole thing was no biggie and that Fox came out victorious.
KURTZ: And what’s been the impact of this difficult chapter on Fox News? It was, last week, once again the highest rated network on basic cable.
Kurtz is neither stupid nor unsophisticated. Nor does he strike me as unscrupulous, at least not entirely so. Media Matters notes that he was “often harshly critical of Fox’s operation before he took a job at the network a decade ago.” There’s no way he doesn’t know just how unethical Fox is and how much worse it has become in recent years.
So how much longer will Kurtz continue defending what he surely knows is indefensible? I suppose it all depends on how much he is willing to sell his soul for the money.
Meanwhile, you can watch Kurtz put lipstick on what he surely knows is the Fox News propaganda pig below, from the April 23, 2023 MediaBuzz.