Howard Kurtz Smacks Down Bill Press for Comparing Glenn Beck to Al Qaeda

Howard Kurtz on Sunday smacked down liberal talk radio host Bill Press for saying the Park Service allowing Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" event at the Lincoln Memorial was like "granting al Qaeda permission to hold a rally on September 11th at Ground Zero."

Towards the end of the opening segment of CNN's "Reliable Sources," Kurtz surprisingly brought up last Friday's disgraceful editing job by ABC's "Good Morning America" that Beck himself said was like something Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would have done.

When finished with this admonishment, Kurtz went right after Press who was seated directly in front of him (video follows with transcript and commentary): 

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: All right. I want to talk about that, but first I want to play this clip that we didn't have earlier. This is the "Good Morning America" piece that Beck specifically criticized. Let's take a quick look at it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BECK: Blacks don't own Martin Luther King.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Glenn Beck is no Martin Luther King.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Here's what Beck actually said: "Whites don't own the founding fathers. Whites don't own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don't own Martin Luther King."

Was that deceptively edited?

JANE HALL, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY'S SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION: Well, I think that it should have had the context. I mean, you cannot accuse one side of not including context and not including the context --

KURTZ: Somebody makes a statement involving both races --

HALL: If somebody says two things, you've got to say two things.

KURTZ: -- and you just show one, I think that was deceptive.

I applaud Kurtz for bringing this up. However, maybe he could have put a finer point on this issue if he reminded his guests and viewers of the recent furor involving the editing of former USDA official Shirley Sherrod's NAACP speech.

After all, what ABC and Shipman did Friday was actually far more reprehensible as it was intentionally done and aired on national television. By contrast, Andrew Breitbart wasn't the person who did the editing of the Sherrod video which was posted at a website reaching far fewer viewers than "Good Morning America."

But Kurtz wasn't finished, for he next set his sights on Press for what the liberal talker said and wrote in June:  

KURTZ: You, Bill Press, said that for the Park Service to allow this rally was like "granting al Qaeda permission to hold a rally on September 11th at Ground Zero,"

Isn't that way over the top?

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think the rally was a stick in the eye to any --

KURTZ: I don't know. But answer my question. You wrote a book about toxic talk.

PRESS: No, I said it and I'll stand by it because --

KURTZ: You're invoking a terrorist analogy for a talk show host. Why is that not over the top?

PRESS: No, what I'm comparing are sacred places. We have very few of them in this country. To me, the Lincoln Memorial I think for all Americans is one of our sacred places. Again, it should not be politicized, in my opinion, at Ground Zero.

KURTZ: I'm talking about your language, your language in bringing al Qaeda into it. Why is that appropriate?

PRESS: I think it is just as outrageous to have the people who offended -- I mean, who carried those attacks out at Ground Zero on 9/11, to give them that sacred site, to give a political huckster the Lincoln Memorial, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

HALL: I think it points to the dilemma, because the left hasn't known how to respond. And so now we are getting more response from the people.

MATT LEWIS, BLOGGER: But this is the toxicity of politics in our nation, where good folks like Bill, who are liberal, believe the conservatives, their political adversaries, not enemies, are worse than terrorists.

KURTZ: I've got to go, but let me ask you before we --

PRESS: That is not true, by the way.

KURTZ: All right. Denial registered.

Nice job, Howie. We on the right would love to see you tear into hypocritical liberals far more often.

*****Update: Matt Lewis's take on Press's behavior. 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.