Howard Kurtz, Buck-Passer

Is Howard Kurtz a media critic at all?

We ask because, yesterday, New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt used his weekly column to argue that a recent Times piece about sexism in campaign coverage should have mentioned the paper’s star columnist, Maureen Dowd, whose columns, wrote Hoyt, were “loaded with language painting her as a 50-foot woman with a suffocating embrace, a conniving film noir dame and a victim dependent on her husband.” Dowd defended herself in the piece, arguing that no one has objected to her use of similar images when writing about men (Not true!)

I’m with Hoyt on this one—and CJR (both in the past, and again today) has generally made its feelings clear about Dowd’s juvenile take on politics. But we were curious to know what The Washington Post’s Kurtz, the nation’s most prominent media critic, had to say about this latest controversy.

Fortunately, he addressed the subject in his Media Notes column this morning:

The NYT, in a piece on sexist cracks about Hillary, somehow failed to include Maureen Dowd’s columns (Clark Hoyt says she went over the top; Dowd says she pokes fun at pols of both genders.)

And there you have it!

We’ve criticized Kurtz before for his chronic failure, as a media critic, to actually offer an opinion on the media. But this latest example of on-the-one-hand-ism—about an issue that has nothing to do with either of Kurtz’s employers (he also hosts a segment on the media for CNN)—is one of the most hilarious buck-passings yet.

Howard Kurtz, media critic: He Reports, You Decide!

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Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.