Howard Kurtz asked an interesting question on Sunday's "Reliable Sources": Is it appropriate for Fox News hosts and contributors to be making political speeches at events like this weekend's CPAC?
Given Saturday's extremely successful keynote address by Glenn Beck, as well as the controversial nature of the rising star, such a question seemed inevitable.
But there was still something peculiar about this segment, for although Kurtz mentioned other FNC contributors that spoke at the event including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and John Bolton, he failed to notice George Will of ABC News (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: The other big story in Washington here this week that's gotten a lot of attention is the CPAC conference. And the keynote speaker, or at least the most ballyhooed speaker, was Glenn Beck. This was carried live on Fox News. It was not carried on CNN or MSNBC.
Let's look a little bit at what Mr. Beck had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: Progressivism is the cancer in America, and it is eating our Constitution. It was designed to eat the Constitution, to progress past the Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So here's my question. Glenn Beck has a very popular show on Fox. Some of the others who spoke at the conference -- Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Tucker Carlson, John Bolton, they're all Fox News contributors.
Is this what Fox News contributors and hosts should be doing?
AMY HOLMES, GUEST CO-HOST, "AMERICA'S MORNING NEWS": Well, I think it is a fine line between reporting the news, but then showcasing one of your own stars who gets all of these ratings.
I listened to Glenn Back, actually, on C-SPAN, which broadcasts all these things for listeners. I think it's certainly fair for Fox viewers and listeners who want to hear this. But if CNN only takes a clip of whatever the sound bite was out of Glenn Beck's entire speech, I think that's appropriate as well.
KURTZ: Well, last year, Rush Limbaugh was the keynote speaker on CNN, and I think everybody covered that.
Contributors maybe are in a different category, because they're also political activists. But Glenn Beck is full time. Sean Hannity, of Fox, is headlining a Republican congressional committee fundraiser next month.
Is that over the line?
JOHN ARAVOSIS, FOUNDER & EDITOR, AMERICABLOG.COM: Well, I mean, it's over the line, but it's not atypical for Fox. I think a lot of us on the left have been arguing for a long time that Fox is a little too closely associated with the Republican Party, to put it nicely. You have got all their folks doing these shows, you've got almost all the Republican presidential candidates working for Fox right now. It's a little too unseemly, I think, the connection.
HOLMES: Well, Sean Hannity says very clearly that he is a partisan and that he is there to promote the Republican Party.
ARAVOSIS: Yes, but even Brit Hume --
HOLMES: So, if Fox wants to pay -- he's not being paid to be a journalist, he's being paid to be a personality.
ARAVOSIS: -- back in '96 had supported Dole publicly. You had way too much of a crossing the line of the news and the opinion on Fox.
KURTZ: We've got to go. But in fairness, CPAC is not a Republican event.
ARAVOSIS: It's partisan.
KURTZ: And Glenn Beck also criticized the Republican Party, as well as the Democrats. But maybe not so --
KURTZ: Amy Holmes, John Aravosis, thanks for coming by this morning.
Was this a fair question by Kurtz?
Or, given that CPAC isn't a Republican event as he pointed out, and that his concerns didn't extend to George Will, was this just so much Fox bashing?