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
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]
As reported on Tuesday night, two of the three major broadcast networks covered a new report from the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs on the scandal-ridden agency and its Phoenix VA hospital that led to a nationwide investigation of delayed wait times and secret waiting lists.
While the coverage was mixed with ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer completely omitting the story, the coverage in print and online sources such as Politico, the Associated Press, and The Washington Post completely missed the boat.
Chris Matthews devoted a segment during his MSNBC show Hardball on Wednesday evening to the tragic shooting death of a firearms instructor at a Arizona gun range after a nine-year-old girl accidently shot him with an Uzi submachine gun. Instead of discussing how tragic this incident was or possible safety measures to take in the future, Matthews and his guests chose to rail against the National Rifle Association (NRA) for somehow being connected to this terrible incident.
At the conclusion of the six-and-a-half-minute segment, Matthews shamefully declared: “This is the slippery slope, what we're watching. This is where you get when you go all the way with gun rights. All the way is what it looks like – take a look at that girl. That's a slippery slope to hell.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Reporting on the latest in Ferguson, Missouri for Tuesday night’s CBS Evening News, CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers interviewed a St. Louis detective on what Missouri state law says regarding the ability of law enforcement to use deadly force. After reading from the law directly, Duthiers opined to the detective that it “[s]ounds to me as if the cops are protected no matter what they do.”
To Duthiers’s comment, Detective and St. Louis County Police Association President Gabe Crocker responded that police officers are not “protected by a blanket policy where they can just shoot people and get away with it,” but emphasized that “I do think the law allows for police officers to use deadly force.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
On Tuesday evening, NBC Nightly News offered a soft news brief on the scandal-ridden Veterans Affairs (VA) Administration by promoting President Barack Obama’s calls that the VA’s many issues will be fixed on his watch. In addition, substitute anchor Lestor Holt made quick mention of an inspector general’s report that the actions of the agency in delays in veterans waiting for care did not result in any veteran’s death.
What NBC Nightly News failed to mention in their one-sided report was that skepticism surrounding the VA remains as both widows of veterans who died awaiting care and one of the whistle-blowers who brought the problems at the VA to light are publically raising doubts about the report’s findings. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton appeared on the Fox News Channel (FNC) Monday afternoon and informed viewers that a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney admitted to his organization on Friday that the e-mails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner that were thought to be lost likely still exist. He declared to FNC’s Shannon Bream that the story of Lerner’s hard drive being damaged and destroyed and thus her e-mails were permanently lost has “all been a pack of malarkey” and “a big lie.”
When it came to the major broadcast networks covering this huge story on their Monday evening newscasts, there was no coverage to be found as ABC, CBS, and NBC all carried out the latest censoring of news surrounding the IRS. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Friday’s CBS This Morning dove into the subject of President Obama vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard while events domestically and internationally rage, including the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. While they were the only network to mention this story, the report from CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett and discussion among the hosts afterward did little more than cover for the president.
At the segment's conclusion, co-host Norah O’Donnell compared Obama’s golfing minutes after making a statement about Foley’s murder to former President George W. Bush going golfing after speaking about a suicide bombing in Iraq. O’Donnell observed that: [MP3 audio here; See the video after the jump]
Washington Post parenting writer Mari-Jane Williams took to the paper’s Thursday "Local Living" section to continue the paper’s advocating the name “Redskins” be stripped from the city’s NFL team through a conversation she had with her seven-year-old daughter after she wanted “to buy a Redskins outfit” for a bear she had at home. Upon hearing her daughter’s request, she told readers it was then that “we had to have the talk.” in which she told her “I don’t think so, honey. I think you should pick something else.”
Williams informed her daughter that the team’s name “has become a political statement, and not a good one” that is “an offensive word for a group of people” and she agreed that the team should change their name.
The morning news shows for the major broadcast networks came and went on Thursday and two of the three networks in ABC and NBC refused to mention a key revelation in the ongoing fighting between Israel and the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. After previously denying involvement, a senior Hamas official admitted to the group's involvement in the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in early June that later led to the intense fighting throughout the summer.
The other major broadcast network, CBS, did mention this new development at the end of a 21-second news brief on its morning show, CBS This Morning. Co-host Norah O’Donnell reported that: “Also this morning, for the first time, Hamas officials confirm that the group kidnapped three Israeli teenagers who were killed back in June.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
On Wednesday night, the major broadcast networks ignored the latest news from the Fast and Furious scandal as a federal judge ruled that the Department of Justice (DOJ) must turn over a list of documents regarding the botched gun-running scheme that was formally called Operation Fast and Furious.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled in court hearing Wednesday that the DOJ will have until October 1 to produce what is known as a privilege log to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. According to an article posted on The Blaze: