Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Standards of Howad Kurtz

I missed this whining defense by Howard "Howad" Kurtz of his refusal to inform himself about Marty Peretz' bigotry:

I've been criticized a few million times for things I have written and said. That's fair game.

Now I'm being slammed for something I didn't write or say.

I am, according to Columbia Journalism Review, remaining "silent." (Don't I have that Fifth Amendment right, like you see in the movies?)

My sin is that I have not denounced Marty Peretz. More on that in a moment.

The reason I have not weighed in is--boredom alert--I have been swamped. I cling to the old-fashioned belief that I ought to know what I'm talking about before I pop off. I put a lot of research, and thought, into what I write and say.

In recent weeks I've been swamped with launching and maintaining this real-time blog, including such mundane tasks as learning how to post video. I've also been traveling quite a bit. So I did not believe the world was breathlessly waiting to hear what I had to say about Peretz.

What the owner of the New Republic wrote, in a blog post, was this: "Frankly, Muslim life is cheap, especially for Muslims." And he questioned whether "these people" were worthy of First Amendment protection. I find those to be outrageous and unacceptable statements. You can say that about some Muslim terrorists, and you can criticize some Muslims for failing to speak out against violence, but how do you libel everyone who follows Islam?


I guess we live in a culture where everyone, including media critics, is supposed to have an instant response to everything that happens. But I'm going to resist that urge.

Note that Howad thinks it's just peachy to criticize Muslims for not speaking about violence they had nothing to do with -- for their "failure to write or say something" -- but it's beyond the pale to notice that Howad is failing to do his job, which involves pontificating on everyone else’s journalism, including that of the editor-in-chief of the New Republic.

No one can accuse Howad of having a double standard. He has no standards.

Howard's "not my job" defense is particularly pathetic when you compare his coverage of Rick Sanchez' bigotry to his coverage of Marty Peretz' bigotry -- the latter of which was only coverage about how mean everyone is to Howad.

And Howad's claim that he likes to think before speaking is belied not only by his Twatterings but, more significantly, by the fact that Peretz's bigotry has been on display for years and years, while Sanchez only spouted off two days ago. Kurtz had plenty of time to learn about Peretz' vile views if he had any interest in doing so. That being his job and all.

Howad's plea of ignorance as to Peretz' racism may or may not be true. In either case, the follow-up should be, "Then why should anyone give a fuck what Kurtz thinks about anything?"

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