Media Whores Online is "reporting" that Howie Kurtz "faces numerous dangerous charges of conflict-of-interest and influence peddling in his media column at the Washington Post." The charges are related to "insider trading," but it's unclear where the "charges" might be coming from -- the Feds? The WP? The fashion police?
"No one has used the word 'fired' yet," says MWO's source, "but Kurtz better be watching his back."
This is not the first time that critics have accused Kurtz of being a hypocrite and/or a whore (the whole "media whore" thing tips you off). Frankie Foer's thoroughly enjoyable take-down pointed out that for all of Kurtz's on-the-record tut-tutting over journalists' speaking fees and campaign contributions, he is loath to report fully on individuals. Profiles are puff pieces. Hit pieces are largely filled with, as Foer wrote, "small (if not banal) complaints cast as large insinuations." Other critics have been even more pointed. In 1998, Salon wrote about Kurtz's wide array of paid appearances in media outlets he also reports on (ABC, CNN).
Mickey Kaus is, of course, obsessed with these crossover deals, and last spring devoted an entire "Realiable Sources" parody to the subject, in which Howard Kurtz, Television Host quizzed Howard Kurtz, Washington Post Media Reporter: "[Y]ou're a press critic who's harped obsessively over even trivial conflicts-of-interest in the past! Do I have one?"
Kurtz has survived all these attacks, of course. So even if these charges are true (and this is MWO we're talking about, meaning a big "if"), we are -- at this early stage -- quite sure that he'll pull a Barnicle and survive this one.
I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream. That's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight... razor... and surviving.
UPDATE: There have been reader inquiries as to the reliability of Media Whores Online as a news source for the Kurtz item below. Here's our take: They are not reliable at all. Repeat: Not reliable at all. Somewhere below Drudge and above a Ouija board. More politically motivated than either.
The Wayward Critic [TNR]
An ABC of ethical conflict [Salon]
Kausfiles Special [Slate]