Fox's Kurtz: My Network Fell 'Seriously Short' in Bundy Coverage

Monday, 28 Apr 2014 02:47 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Fox News "fell seriously short" in its coverage of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's racial comments last Thursday after network hosts and commentators had built him up so much in the weeks before, says Fox's "Media Buzz" host and media critic Howard Kurtz.

"On Thursday, all day long until "Special Report" at 6 p.m. Eastern, there was virtually no mention of these racist remarks by Clive Bundy when everybody else was covering it," Kurtz said during a panel discussion on his show Sunday.

"I think to ignore a major story that was on the front page of the New York Times, at a time when the network, among others, had devoted a lot of time to covering this story and to building up Clive Bundy, gives ammunition to Fox's detractors," Kurtz said.

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Bundy's confrontation with federal authorities at his Nevada ranch became an overnight cause and a symbol of the government's overreach after federal authorities demanded that he start paying land-use fees for grazing cattle on federal public lands.

But when Bundy publicly commented about seeing black families at a local public housing project and said blacks would be better off if they were still slaves, many of the people championing his fight started backing away, including Fox commentator Sean Hannity.

"In my view, Fox News fell seriously short on this story on Thursday," said Kurtz.

But once Fox entered its prime-time programming on Thursday, Kurtz said, "[Charles] Krauthammer, Greta [Van Susteren], Megyn [Kelly], [Bill] O'Reilly and Sean Hannity all denounced this. And Hannity of course got the most attention because he had given Cliven Bundy the biggest platform, interviewed him and his wife a couple of times."

That night, Hannity said he thought Bundy's comments were "downright racist. They are repugnant, they are bigoted, and it's beyond disturbing. I find those comments to be deplorable, and I think it's extremely unfortunate that Cliven Bundy holds those views."

Kurtz said he gives Hannity credit for his comments, and "The New York Times deserves credit for revealing these remarks."

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