As NewsBusters reported Friday, HBO's Bill Maher recently gave $1 million to pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action.

On CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, host Howard Kurtz correctly observed, "There’d be a bigger fuss if comedian Dennis Miller gave a million dollars to a pro-Romney or a Santorum Super PAC" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):



Baltimore Sun television critic David Zurawik on Sunday called NBC hiring Chelsea Clinton a "journalistically-bankrupt decision."

Talking to CNN's Howard Kurtz about Clinton's debut, Zurawik said if she's been preparing for this all her life "it's been a largely wasted life" (video follows with transcript and commentary):



As NewsBusters reported Saturday, Rachel Maddow wasn't the only MSNBC commentator last week that lied to viewers about the budget battle in Wisconsin.

Having misrepresented the same nonsense as Maddow about the Badger State having a surplus instead of a deficit Friday, Ed Schultz was exposed by Politifact for dramatically exaggerating how much Gov. Scott Walker's repair plan would cost public employees (video follows with transcript and commentary):



Some on the left have been crying foul at CNN's decision to air live Rep. Michele Bachmann's response to the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night. None have been more vocal than MSNBC libtalker Rachel Maddow.

One media critic had enough. On Thursday, the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik laid into Maddow's criticism, saying it derives from "the mentality of a lockstep party member, not a journalist." Zurawik's gripe was Maddow's insistence that because Bachmann was not officially representing a political party, her speech should not have been given comparable treatment to the president's or to Rep. Paul Ryan's Republican response.

Journalists "don't let political parties tell us who we should and shouldn't cover," Zurawik added. "I have a West Highland terrier named Bugsy who has better journalism credentials and chops than you do," he quipped.



Media critic David Zurawik and former MSNBC contributor David Shuster got into quite a heated debate Sunday over the surprise exit of Keith Olbermann.

Appearing on CNN's "Reliable Sources," the pair also quarreled about the difference in journalistic standards at Fox News and MSNBC (video follows with transcript and commentary):



The Baltimore Sun's media critic is still fuming about MSNBC's pathetic coverage on election night.

In his piece published Saturday, David Zurawik called the cable news network a "liberal prep school" while claiming the behavior of folks like Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Keith Olbermann was "so egregious" that the "entire realm of TV journalism was diminished in the public mind":



There's a cable news channel out there operating with a single partisan voice, and doing its best to scare the pants off of viewers as the new Congress approaches. Listening to much of the media, you might think that network was Fox.

But in fact Fox has a wealth of opinions on air, though most of its prime time hosts are consistently conservative. And while certainly a number of critics try to paint FNC as "fear-mongers," it's been MSNBC that has really gone full force with the doom-saying this week.

Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik is absolutely livid about it, and has devoted considerable space this week to bashing MSNBC for its apocalyptic tone.



The Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik on Sunday made fools out of CBS White House Correspondent Chip Reid and former CNNer Frank Sesno.

Ironically, this happened during a "Reliable Sources" segment on CNN dealing with today's "Poisonous Press."

With host Howard Kurtz leading a discussion about how news outlets today are spending a great deal of time bashing each other, the conversation predictably led to Fox News.

Both Reid and Sesno tried to make the case that FNC is irrelevant because nobody watches the network.

Zurawik marvelously clued them both in (videos and transcripts follow with commentary):



It's turned into something of a week for TV hosts, if not to bite, then at least to nibble hard on the hands that feed them . . .

First, as noted here, on Friday Joe Scarborough passed along the comment of an unnamed conservative biggie who wondered "what the hell [Rand Paul] was doing on MSNBC?", where during an interview with Rachel Maddow he caused controversy with his comments on the Civil Rights Act.

Today, it was Howard Kurtz's turn.  In the wake of Campbell Brown's withdrawal from CNN, in which she cited her show's poor ratings, Kurtz, host of Reliable Sources also on CNN wondered whether the network's business strategy of offering news in contrast to the opinion-oriented programming on Fox News and MSNBC is "viable."   For good measure, Kurtz also managed to suggest that Brown, Connie Chung and Paula Zahn—all of whose CNN shows failed—weren't strong enough personalities to attract an audience during the 8 PM hour, up against the likes of O'Reilly and Olbermann. Ouch!


Contrary to how most of the President's sycophants saw his interview with Bret Baier Wednesday, a media critic from the Baltimore Sun felt it was "a textbook encounter of how the press should engage the executive branch of government."

"As much credit as I give Obama for taking his healthcare message to Fox News and staying on point, I also praise Baier for being thoroughly prepared and hitting a very difficult tone of being appropriately aggressive without being hectoring or rude," wrote David Zurawik Wednesday.

"Think of it as the antidote to NBC anchorman Brian Williams' bow to Obama in his prime-time White House special last year" (video of part one of the interview embedded below the fold, h/t TVNewser):



Howard Kurtz must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed Sunday, for his "Reliable Sources" review of John Stossel's new Fox Business Network show was uncharacteristically way off base.

After presenting a cherry-picked video clip of Stossel talking about how he wished Nobel Laureate Al Gore would come on the program to debate man's role in global warming, Kurtz asked guest David Zurawik, "[D]oes this continue a trend of partisan people going to partisan networks and putting them on partisan shows?"

After Zurawik's answer, Kurtz carped, "My only problem with that first program is that he basically had one guest for three-quarters of the show, a guy from the Libertarian Cato Institute who is also very skeptical of global warming. And so, except from the studio audience, you didn't hear a lot of contrary voices."

Unfortunately, Kurtz edited out the segment when Stossel read an e-mail message from Gore's representative saying the former Vice President had to decline the invitation to appear on the program because he was too busy (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):



David ZurawikDavid Zurawik, the Baltimore Sun’s TV critic, didn’t even wait a full 24 hours after Robert Novak’s death to launch a stinging criticism of the former Crossfire host on the newspaper’s website on Tuesday. Zurawik lamented the apparently contaminated state of political discourse on cable TV and placed much of the blame on Novak in the blog entry titled, “Robert Novak on cable TV: A Polarizing Presence.”

The critic began by announcing his intention to focus on the conservative’s television legacy, instead of his “place...on the political and journalistic map.” He then when right into his attack on Novak, which read like a thinly-veiled critique of the Fox News Channel: “Novak titled his 2007 memoir, ‘The Prince of Darkness,’ and he was indeed a very dark force in cable TV news contributing mightily to the toxic culture of confrontation, belligerence and polarization that so defines cable TV and American political discourse today. There is no way to be nice about his impact on cable TV during its formative years -- and his contributions for the worse to the tone and style of what passes for political conversation today.”