In his final edition of CNN's Reliable Sources before moving to host a media criticism show on Fox News, Howard Kurtz praised Fox's “call for balance” in covering the Supreme Court's rulings on marriage equality, which he contrasted with the rest of the media “rooting for” equality.
Kurtz's new Fox News program will replace Fox News Watch, the network's media criticism show which followed a regular pattern of attacking the “liberal bias” of the press while praising Fox coverage and ignoring stories that reflected badly on Fox or its parent company. Kurtz himself has at times been harshly critical of Fox, while maintaining a close relationship with its president Roger Ailes and defending the network from allegations of bias.
Kurtz opened his final CNN show by stating that when “the Supreme Court issued a pair of rulings boosting same-sex marriage, the only real question was how far the media would go in treating it as a victory.” He questioned whether journalists are “being fair to the other side of this emotional debate.” Later in the segment, he called the media's tone “strikingly upbeat” and questioned whether they were “rooting for what was framed as a victory for gay rights,” airing clips from ABC, CNN, and MSNBC to make his point.
But there was outlet that came in for Kurtz's praise: Fox News. Kurtz said that on his new employer's airwaves, “there were few outright denunciations of the rulings, but there was a call for balance,” airing a clip of Fox News' Laura Ingraham saying that she wanted to make sure that “both sides can be heard without people who believe in traditional marriage being branded as intolerant or anti-gay.”
Later in the program, Kurtz said that “what we in this business always say is, yes journalists lean left ... but we can keep our opinions out of it,” but that in covering the marriage equality decisions, many reporters did not do so. He again contrasted this with the coverage on Fox News, where he said there weren't many “denouncing these rulings, but they were saying that this could lead to, for example, federal government nationalizing the issue of marriage, taking it away from the states.”
In the final segment of his last CNN show, Kurtz praised his colleagues at CNN before saying that he is moving on to Fox. “There's already been some sniping from people who don't like Fox,” said Kurtz, “but I haven't changed, and I'll be continuing my independent brand of media criticism.”