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
In dual columns Tuesday and Wednesday, National Journal columnist Ron Fourier tore into Hillary Clinton and her email scandal, declaring her to be “[a] pay-phone candidate in an iPhone world” and having utterly failed to answer numerous questions as to why “she seized control of documents that were supposed to be on a government server.”
On Tuesday, none of the major English or Spanish-language networks devoted any news coverage during their evening newscasts to the decision by the Obama administration to not follow through with a proposed ban on ammunition that is often used in AR-15s. The move by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) comes after an overwhelming response from gun owners, gun rights advocates, and members of Congress expressing opposition to the ban. FNC's Special Report did mention it during its Tuesday show.
Following in the footsteps of Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, the CBS Evening News worked to paint the 47 Republican Senators who signed a letter to Iranian leaders in a negative light and portraying their actions as meddling in the Obama administration’s negotiations while making no mention of the moves that Democrats made to thumb their noses at Republican administrations.
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley took it upon himself on Tuesday night to pull out all the stops to dismiss Hillary Clinton’s email scandal by chalking it up to just “one of those stories” Washington obsesses over and channeling a famous phrase of Clinton’s by wondering: “[W]hat difference does any of this make in Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination?” Following the show’s opening teases, Pelley avowed that the ongoing story represents “one of those stories that gets Washington hyperventilating.”
In reaction to Hillary Clinton’s press conference on Tuesday addressing her email scandal, CNN host Wolf Blitzer praised the softball question asked by a Turkish reporter about gender playing a role in the media coverage of the scandal as a “good question from Turkish television.” After expressing approval of the question from Turkish reporter Kahraman Haliscelik, CNN’s chief political analyst Gloria Borger spun for the Clinton camp by predicting that the presser “detoxed” the scandal “a little bit” and defended her deleting of emails by saying she “delete[s] personal emails after I get them very often.”
During Monday’s NBC Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell hit Hillary Clinton hard over her email scandal and the millions the Clinton Foundation had received from foreign governments, but still found time to fawn over “a path-breaking speech” Clinton gave “in Beijing 20 years ago” on women’s rights and her “extraordinary” levels of support among Democratic voters.
The Indianapolis Star reported on Monday that it had obtained emails from an employee at the Indianapolis VA hospital who mocked returning combat veterans who were facing mental health issues and committed suicide. On Monday night, both the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News failed to cover this story.
On Monday, NBC Nightly News featured a full report on the letter signed by 47 Republican Senators to the leaders of Iran concerning its negotiations with the Obama administration over its nuclear program, but took the step of describing the letter as one that “patronizes Iranian leaders.” In addition, the report by NBC's Peter Alexander gave three times the airtime to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Obama than Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton (who authored the letter).
During his opening monologue on Thursday’s Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon made a few jests toward Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and each of their chances of winning the 2016 presidential election. Fallon began the gag by playing a clip of Clinton speaking to the abortion group EMILY’s List on Tuesday night and asking if they “someday want to see a woman president of the United States of America” to which “the crowd,” Fallon said, “went crazy.”
CBS News contributor and Republican pollster Frank Luntz convened a focus group on Hillary Clinton that aired on Friday’s CBS This Morning and while many expressed their frustration with the possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Luntz failed to mention both Clinton’s email scandal and questions surrounding the Clinton Foundation. As opposed to asking about these important stories, Luntz blamed his focus group for not bringing them up and instead threw softball questions at them concenring Bill and Hillary Clinton and Hillary’s qualifications to be president.
On Thursday night, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News neglected to mention video that had surfaced earlier in the day of Hillary Clinton attacking the Bush administration in 2007 over their supposed email practices. Instead of mentioning this latest example of hypocrisy by a Clinton, CBS touted a Democratic Congressman who lamented that this story is merely “in the realm of presidential politics” while NBC’s Andrea Mitchell pushed a Clinton-camp talking point and dubbed the scandal as just “fuss.”
NBC Nightly News covered the Hillary Clinton email scandal for a second straight evening with another segment on Wednesday, but it took the position of downplaying the situation by portraying it as political and invoking Republican Jeb Bush’s email usage in comparison. Interim anchor Lester Holt updated “the firestorm over Hillary Clinton’s private emails” by describing those desiring to see them as “her political enemies in Congress” in the form of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Continuing the standard set by NBC’s Today, on Wednesday night the major broadcast networks played up the fears that “health care coverage for millions” might be lost and “could doom ObamaCare” if the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case heard on Wednesday, rules against the federal government and its federal subsidies. ABC and NBC used covert liberal activists, with ABC turning to an ABC News contributor who served as an Assistant Counsel to President Obama and NBC interviewing a man who had joined an amicus curaie brief in support of ObamaCare at the appellate level.
On Tuesday night, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC continued to report on the latest scandal involving Hillary Clinton's exclusive use of a private email account while she was Secretary of State in what may have been a violation of federal law. On the CBS Evening News, substitute anchor Charlie Rose flashed his favoritism for his dear “friend” Hillary Clinton by wondering to CBS News political director John Dickerson: “Why is this story getting so much attention?”
All three broadcast networks reported on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress with segments in their Tuesday night broadcasts, but it was CBS and NBC that led the way in hitting Netanyahu for making a “controversial speech” and touted President Obama for “firing back,” “point by point for 11 minutes.” CBS Evening News substitute anchor Charlie Rose told viewers “Netanyahu did an end run around President Obama today” in his speech with the caption “controversial speech” appearing beside him.
Late Monday night, The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton “exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state” and in turn “may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.”
With a story potentially as big as this one, the question ahead of the Tuesday morning network newscasts is this: Will the networks cover this story or will they do as they did regarding the Clinton Foundation stories in all but ignoring it?
The Monday editions of ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News aired news briefs on the announcement that Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski will retire. They both failed to label Mikulski a liberal and heaped only effusive praise on her. On ABC, anchor David Muir hailed the announcement as “the end of an era in Washington” for the 78-year old “longest serving woman in Congress” who was “the daughter of a grocer.”
Following a morning in which NBC’s Today offered only criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his visit to the United States, Monday’s NBC Nightly News continued piling on the denunciation of Netanyahu for creating a “storm of controversy” during “a tense and critical moment” in U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations. Fill-in anchor Savannah Guthrie proclaimed that a “storm of controversy” was brewing “as the Israeli Prime Minister arrives in Washington to deliver a warning to America.”
The major broadcast networks all ignored on their Monday night newscasts reports that a federal judge ruled earlier in the day that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had lied to Landmark Legal Foundation in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and warned the agency to cease discriminating against other conservatives. In a 25-page opinion, Washington D.C.-based Judge Royce C. Lambreth declared that the EPA’s conduct was “suspicious” and showed “apathy and carelessness” in carrying out the multi-year FOIA request.
News concerning the mass kidnapping of Christians by ISIS in Syria worsened on Thursday with reports from multiple human rights groups that raised the initial number of those taken from 150 to now at least 220. If you watched the network evening newscasts, though, you would not have known that if you had tuned into CBS or NBC. This latest case of network bias by omission comes as NBC has yet to cover this story on either Today or NBC Nightly News.