Howard Kurtz Rips Media Double Standard On Mozilla CEO's Resignation

On Monday's Special Report, Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz ripped the media double standard on the resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich.

After news surfaced that Eich supported California's Prop 8 six years ago, gay activists were furious and Eich resigned amidst a firestorm of controversy. Kurtz noted that the network evening news casts completely ignored the story last week, but probably would have "been in an uproar" had Eich been a gay rights supporter and his company conservative.

"But consider this, if a conservative company had pushed out a CEO for supporting gay marriage, chances are much of the media would have been in an uproar. There would have been outrage," Kurtz insisted.

He pointed to the lack of coverage from the networks and major newspapers:

"But what about the mainstream news coverage? The network evening news casts couldn't find a single minute to devote to the Mozilla controversy last week. The Washington Post buried a short squib deep on an inside page. While the New York Times gave the story front page prominence, USA Today stuck it on the business page with no hint of criticism of the company's move."

While the evening news casts were silent on the story, ABC's Good Morning America was rough on Eich, even using footage of the Westboro Baptist Church's "God Hates Fags" signs in its story on Eich. Meanwhile, to prove Kurtz's point, the network hailed a pro-gay ad twice in 24 hours, calling it a "clever statement against bigotry."

Below is a transcript of the segment:

FOX NEWS
SPECIAL REPORT
4/7/14
[6:15 p.m. EST]

BRETT BAIER: More reaction tonight from the story we brought you last week, after a software executive was forced out of his job for taking a political position in favor of traditional marriage. Fox News media analyst and host of Fox's Media Buzz Howard Kurtz, with what many people are saying, and what many media outlets are not saying.

(Video Clip)

HOWARD KURTZ: It's a highly emotional, inflammatory debate surrounding a tech executive that few people had heard of. When Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned under pressure for having donated six years ago to a California initiative against same-sex marriage, some gay activists said he'd gotten what he deserved, and painted him as a horrible villain.  

JOHN ARAVOSIS, gay rights activist: Would you have a holocaust denier as the CEO of a company –

LAUREN ASHBURN, Fox News contributor: How can you equate gay rights with the holocaust? That's outrageous.

KURTZ: Other gay commentators, like former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan, accused his side of bullying and intimidation. And some liberals agreed with conservative critics who said that say hounding a man out of a job for taking the same position that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton held in 2008 was troubling.

NEWT GINGRICH (R-Ga.), former House Speaker: This is just the most open, blatant example of the new fascism, which says if you don't agree with us 100 percent, we have the right to punish you.

DONNA BRAZILLE, Democratic strategist: I do agree with Andrew Sullivan that we have to be very careful we're not practicing a new McCarthyism.

KURTZ: But what about the mainstream news coverage? The network evening news casts couldn't find a single minute to devote to the Mozilla controversy last week. The Washington Post buried a short squib deep on an inside page. While the New York Times gave the story front page prominence, USA Today stuck it on the business page with no hint of criticism of the company's move. Now there's an online backlash, with some saying they are deleting the company's Firefox browser.

(End Video Clip)

KURTZ: (on camera) Public attitudes are clearly shifting in favor of same-sex marriage. But consider this, if a conservative company had pushed out a CEO for supporting gay marriage, chances are much of the media would have been in an uproar. There would have been outrage.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014