Prior to his departure last month, Fox News anchor Shep Smith was regarded by many as the network’s most outspoken liberal. It looks like Howard Kurtz might be on the way to claiming his title.
That’s evident from the way he reacted when fellow Fox personality Mollie Hemingway named the alleged Ukraine whistleblower.
During an episode of Media Buzz, Hemingway referred to CIA employee Eric Ciaramella, the man reputed to have filed a whistleblower complaint against President Trump over his July 25 telephone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
While Hemingway argued that “the media should be in the business of sharing information that is in the public interest,” Kurt disagreed.
“I don’t think that should have happened”
After discussing what future plans that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley might have, Kurt began to criticize Hemingway’s decision.
“I don’t think it’s the role of the media to disclose the identity of the whistleblower,” he said said.
“As you know, a name came up on my program yesterday. I don’t think that should have happened. Mollie Hemingway says that she was simply repeating a name that had been bandied about by certain sites, and no one had told her that Fox and other organizations were not using the name.”
“First of all, we have no independent reporting that says this is the guy despite what some partisan sites are saying,” Kurtz continued.
“And even if we did have independent reporting, I don’t see why the media should be baited into naming somebody because I think it violates the spirit of the Whistleblower Protection Act. I’ve dealt with a lot of whistleblowers in my career, this is not a pro-Trump stance, this is not an anti-Trump stance, I just think that we shouldn’t be pushed into this because certain politicians don’t want to take the heat for identifying this person themselves.”
Kurtz went on to say that the whistleblower is “somewhat irrelevant now,” noting that he lacks first hand information.
It’s not the first time that Kurtz has come into conflict with a conservative. President Trump tweeted that his program was part of the reason why Fox was “getting worse.”
Kurtz responded by saying, “He’s certainly entitled to criticize Fox’s news division which is separate from the opinion folks just as he takes shots at other media outlets.”