August 27, 2013

Has Howard Kurtz gone all Weiner since joining Fox News? If his newest column is any indication of where he's headed, then yes.

Media Matters:

Howard Kurtz, host of Fox News' rebranded media show MediaBuzz,devoted an entire column under the Media Buzz header to describing in detail the Facebook photos of Ben Bradlee's daughter-in-law and her "candid approach to sexual matters." Ostensibly because August 26 was Washington Post Vice President and former Editor Ben Bradlee's birthday, Kurtz deemed it appropriate to publish an extensive description of photos Bradlee's daughter-in-law Pari Bradlee had posted on her personal Facebook account, asking if one revealing picture went "too far" and claiming the photos revealed her "candid approach to sexual matters":

Her new profile picture, in a Swiss-cheese bra that leaves little to the imagination and long black leather sleeves and briefs, is so revealing that it drew a torrent of breathless comments. In another just-posted photo she is nude, shot from the back, twisting one arm behind her. Pari Bradlee is a personal trainer and yoga instructor who gives private lessons and whose clients include many Washington A-listers. And she is marketing herself with a combination of Facebook's share-everything ethos and her famous last name.

[...]From one perspective, Pari Bradlee's provocative poses might be viewed as a quick way to grab attention, especially in contrast to Washington's buttoned-down culture. But she is part of a Facebook generation that lives online (with 1,957 photos in her case) and embraces a more candid approach to sexual matters.

Kurtz also quoted the comments Bradlee's friends had posted on the photos, including that her husband "obviously approve[d]" of the photos since he "liked" one of them, and ended his description of Bradlee's "provocative poses" by noting, "It's a safe bet that she is about to attract a lot more friends."

Howie, what's the point of your article? What do Pari's Facebook pictures have to do with the Washington Post or your beat of covering media bias? (It seems her pics are either down or her page is overloaded) I think the pics were beautifully done and anyway, what business is it of his to critique what she does if she's not breaking the law? Kurtz has been in a freefall for a while now and his work has been truly awful. You may remember that he was fired from The Daily Beast for a horrendous article on Jason Collins just after he came out as a gay athlete.

Kurtz's dismissal stemmed from his reporting on pro basketball player Jason Collins coming out this week. Kurtz initially insisted that Collins hadn't been forthcoming, and lied about having been engaged to a woman at one point in his life.

Mr. Kurtz was embroiled in a controversy over a blog post he wrote about the basketball player Jason Collins. Mr. Collins co-wrote a Sports Illustrated article that was published on Monday in which he acknowledged that he was gay. In a post this week, Mr. Kurtz criticized Mr. Collins for not admitting in the article that he had once been engaged to be married.

Mr. Collins, however, had written about his engagement to a woman. The error made it appear as if Mr. Kurtz had not read the material, and he became the target of gleeful bashing on Twitter. The Daily Beast retracted the post on Thursday.

Sally Quinn responded to Kurtz' article:

Sally Quinn says she is "heartbroken" and "appalled" at Fox News host and former Washington Post scribe Howard Kurtz for his column today about her daughter-in-law, Pari Bradlee, and her supposedly "R-rated" Facebook photos.Quinn, who writes about religion for the Post and is the wife of former Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and mother to Quinn Bradlee, Pari's husband, told Media Matters, "I thought Howard was a decent guy, I thought he was my friend and I'm appalled and really heartbroken that he would do something like this. Why would you want to hurt somebody?"

Quinn said of the photos in question, "I've seen the photographs and I think they're beautifully taken, and, [by] a professional photographer and I didn't have any problem with them."

Asked why she believed Kurtz would write such a column, Quinn said she did not know, other than he could not find anything else to write about.

"I guess it's been a slow news week. I just don't know what he's up to, would I go after a friend's child? No," she said. "I don't think it had anything to do with anything. I think it was just a slow news day. There has been no personal animosity between Howie and me, none, never."

Still, Quinn said the column was hurtful."Why would he want to hurt me and Ben and Quinn and Pari by doing that?" she asked. "I just don't know. Ben has seen the photos...but they're not revealing."

Sally Quinn has been the Queen Bee of the D.C. Villagers for a long time, so it won't surprise me if he gets his membership card revoked.

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