Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center
Curtis Houck currently serves as the Managing Editor of NewsBusters after almost two years as a news analyst in the Media Research Center’s News Analysis Division. During that time, he served as the sole evening news analyst, chronicling the best and worst of the network evening newscasts, primetime cable shows, and late-night comedy programs. From January 2016 to April 2016, he also acted as the Sunday news analyst for NewsBusters.
In the roughly two years that he's been with NewsBusters, his work has been featured on various Fox News Channel programs and outlets such as The Blaze, Breitbart, Conservative Review, The Daily Caller, The Daily Wire, Drudge Report, The Federalist, FoxNews.com, The Mark Levin Show, Mediaite, New York Times, Red State, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Resurgent, Townhall, Washington Examiner, The Washington Post, Washington Free Beacon, and The Wrap. He’s also appeared on Cheddar, NRA-TV, and Newsmax TV plus hundreds of radio appearances from coast to coast on both local and syndicated programs.
He returned full-time to the MRC after serving in summer 2013 as an intern with CNS News. Curtis is a 2014 graduate of Penn State University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Political Science. He also had the pleasure of interning with The Heritage Foundation in fall 2013. A proud native of Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, Curtis is also an Eagle Scout and lives in Vienna, Virginia.
Latest from Curtis Houck
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewed President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice during Thursday’s edition of The Situation Room and neglected to bring up the second anniversary of the tragic attack in Benghazi, Libya that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty dead. Instead, the nearly eight-and-a-half-minute interview discussed President Obama’s speech to the nation from Wednesday night on ISIS and reaction to Diane Foley speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about how she believed that the United States did not do enough to save her son Jim before he was brutally murdered by ISIS.
On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing provided not only spin favorable to President Obama a day after his prime time speech on ISIS, but also suggested that this could help the President in the midterm elections. At the conclusion of her report, Jansing told viewers that: "It's a war the President inherited with decisions made now shaping his legacy and his successor's as well. Something else to watch, while it's too soon to tell how voters will react to the President's plan from last night, if they rally around the Commander-in-Chief it could impact the midterm elections with control of the Senate at stake."
After President Obama’s speech to the nation on Wednesday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow asked NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel what he thought of President Obama’s analogy that the U.S. strategy in fighting terrorism in Yemen and Somalia would carry over to dealing with the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. Needless to say, Engel was not at all pleased with the comparison the President made, telling Maddow immediately that “I think it is wildly off base, frankly” and “[i]t's an oversimplification of the problem.”
After President Obama’s speech to the nation on Wednesday night, CNN brought on its newly-minted senior political commenator and former Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney and Republican Senator John McCain (Ariz.) to comment on what the President’s speech regarding U.S policy in dealing withy the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. However, the next eight minutes instantly evolved into a heated debate between the two over the President’s actions of withdrawing troops from Iraq early in his administration and whether that allowed a threat like ISIS to proliferate.
After President Obama’s speech on confronting the Islamic terrorist group ISIS on Wednesday night, each of the major broadcast networks offered some brief analysis before returning to regularly scheduled programming. Over on CBS, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer anchored that network’s coverage and had nothing but good things to say in the few minutes before CBS’s coverage concluded.
Schieffer told the audience that Obama’s speech “shows us a real evolution in where the President was just in the last week of August” when he told reporters at a press conference that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in how to deal with ISIS and particularly in Syria.
On Tuesday night, ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir and NBC Nightly News omitted from their coverage any mention that President Obama’s upcoming speech to the country on Wednesday night will not include some crucial details on how he plans to go about defeating the Islamic terrorist group ISIS.
In contrast, the CBS Evening News offered a more detailed report with CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett telling viewers that the President’s speech “appears short on specifics.” Garrett reported in a one-minute-and-two-second segment that “[t]here will be no timetable for defeating ISIS and no cost estimates for the emerging military campaign.”
Tuesday evening marked a return to ignoring President Obama’s poll numbers for ABC News as its evening newscast, World News Tonight with David Muir, failed to report on the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll and its findings.
Over on CBS, it continued to ignore these poor numbers as the CBS Evening News made no mention of them on its Tuesday evening newscast. In contrast, NBC Nightly News both unveiled and discussed its own NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Appearing on Monday night’s Late Show with David Letterman, liberal talk show host Bill Maher joked with David Letterman and the audience about the drought in California (where he lives) and after suggesting that global warming was killing off fish and allowing jellyfish to thrive, he drew laughs from the audience when he declared that “[t]he future looks bright if you’re a spineless glob of goo. Which is why I say, Mitt Romney in 2016, ladies and gentlemen.”
Beginning on Monday afternoon, Democrat and former Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin began a 10 year prison sentence for corruption charges that were as result of his actions following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding of the city in August 2005. When it came to reporting on the story during their evening newscasts, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir refused to cover the story while NBC Nightly News offered only a 15-second news brief. Over on CBS, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley was preempted due to coverage of the men’s tennis final at the U.S. Open.
The major broadcast networks continued their month-long plus streak of not covering the IRS scandal on Friday night and Saturday morning as ABC, CBS, and NBC all omitted from their evening and morning newscasts two major developments. The new details on the scandal involving the agency that targeted conservative groups include the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informing congressional staffers that a possible 760 IRS computer servers exist that could contain lost e-mails from Lois Lerner.
After Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday inquiring the whereabouts of a former Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney and one-time Lois Lerner employee and Judicial Watch released new IRS emails on Thursday revealing a “secret research project” on donors to non-profit political groups, two additional IRS bombshell broke on Friday. Upon these stories breaking today, the question is: Will the major broadcast networks cover these stories?
The evening newscasts for the major broadcast networks came and went on Thursday night and ABC, CBS, and NBC refused to cover a new poll from Gallup that showed President Barack Obama’s approval rating at an all-time low of 38 percent. After the CBS Evening News made mention of a CBS News poll on Tuesday showing only 36 percent of Americans approving of how Obama was doing his job when it came to foreign policy, it reverted back to joining ABC and NBC in ignoring any and all polls concerning President Obama and his job performance.
Late Thursday afternoon, The Wall Street Journal reported that a hacker broke into a portion of the government-run website Healthcare.gov back “in July and uploaded malicious software” to the site that people in 36 states use to enroll in health care coverage. When it came to the major broadcast networks covering this story on their evening newscasts on Thursday night, they chose to avoid the story completely.
ABC, CBS, and NBC combined for zero coverage of the latest piece of bad news for ObamaCare and is no surprise for a liberal media that has provided plenty of cover for ObamaCare throughout its implementation.
Filling in for Alex Wagner on her MSNBC show Wednesday, Luke Russert had a segment on NFL player and defensive end Michael Sam, who was signed earlier in the day to the Dallas Cowboys after being released by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday. Russert opined that the reason there was a delay before Sam was signed by another team was not because of any media “distractions" or that he was not a good enough player, but it was “probably because he’s gay.”
In the first portion of the over five-minute-long segment, Russert cited reports from anonymous NFL general managers to two sports media outlets that teams wanted to sign Sam, but “fear[ed] the media attention” and “the circus coming to town” in additional media. [See video below]
On Wednesday night’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams completely missed the mark on President Obama’s mixed signals regarding how his administration intends to deal with the threat of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS and omitted remarks from Obama that ISIS can be contained to the point of being “a manageable problem.”
At the top of the broadcast, Williams made this blatant falsehood: “[F]or all those who may be wondering if the U.S. is going to rise up, take the bait and get into the fight to root them out, the answer today from both the President and Vice President appeared to be clear and unambiguous.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
On Tuesday night, the three major broadcast networks omitted from their coverage on the Islamic group ISIS a report that President Barack Obama has received briefings on the terrorist organization “for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer.”
ABC, CBS, and NBC all led their evening newscasts with multiple segments on the gruesome murder of American journalist Stephen Sotloff at the hands of ISIS in a propaganda video released on Tuesday afternoon. Over on the Fox News Channel (FNC), Special Report with Bret Baier aired three segments on the story, including a report from chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
After appearing on Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, CBS News political director John Dickerson joined substitute anchor Charlie Rose on Tuesday night’s CBS Evening News to discuss the upcoming midterm elections. While Dickerson told Rose that voters are citing domestic issues as what they care about most, he said that “overlaying this entire election is disappointment with the President” which “motivates Republicans and discourages Democrats.”
Along with highlighting a CBS News projection that Republicans will take the Senate by a 51-49 margin, Dickerson mentioned the latest CBS News poll which shows only 36 percent of Americans approving of President Barack Obama’s handling of foreign policy. Due to this low poll number for the President, he analyzed that “Democratic candidates suffer” in a landscape where “the world is in crisis and the President is getting blamed.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
MSNBC’s Krystal Ball substituted for Ronan Farrow as host of his MSNBC show on Friday and remarked with a guest during a segment on the Islamic terror group ISIS that their reported waterboarding of their captives, including the late James Foley, can be blamed on the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and what happened at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
After shifting gears from talking about the increased terror alert in the United Kingdom and fears across western Europe that hundreds of their citizens have joined ISIS and could return to commit terrorist attacks, Ball mentioned an article in The Washington Post that reported ISIS captives were waterboarded. She then asked MSNBC terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann what he thought about this news. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
On Friday morning, the major broadcast networks were out in full force to defend President Obama after his remarks at a press conference Thursday afternoon in which he said that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in how to militarily address the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in Syria.
Leading the way was NBC’s Today, where co-host Matt Lauer told NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd that “[c]ritics pounced” when Obama made that remark and wondered if they took “his words too literally.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
To close out his MSNBC show on Thursday, Ed Schultz invited on a Native American social activist to discuss the push by liberals and sympathetic members of the sports media to force the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change their name.
In discussing recent supporters of the name in Sarah Palin and former NFL coach and player Mike Ditka, author and Native American activist Gyasi Ross smeared Ditka for being a “segregation-era football player who became, appropriately, a coach of – of a team – a team – an NFL team that was comprised largely of black players that he could dictate his will to.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]