CNN's Kurtz criticizes media birthers -- but stays mum on CNN president's flip-flop

Howard Kurtz should have listened to me.

Last week, I twice noted that the Washington Post/CNN media critic was oddly silent about CNN's Lou Dobbs and his promotion of the birther nonsense. Kurtz's silence seemed like an obvious conflict of interest.

Well, by the time Kurtz got around to addressing the issue on today's Reliable Sources, CNN President Jonathan Klein had weighed in, calling Dobbs' birtherism "legitimate" and denouncing Dobbs' critics as “people with a partisan point of view from one extreme.” (Klein had earlier indicated that the story was dead and the birthers' claims baseless; his flip-flop raises the question of who is in charge -- Klein or Dobbs.)

On today's Reliable Sources broadcast, Kurtz called Dobbs' birther coverage "ludicrous." That's great, though long overdue. But with CNN's president now taking Dobbs' side, there's a bigger story here than Lou Dobbs. And Howard Kurtz just couldn't bring himself to criticize his boss.

Had Kurtz addressed the Dobbs issue last week, when he should have, he might have been able to get away with not coming back to it. But by waiting until today, he put himself in a position where he had to either address Klein's comments, or shy away from criticizing the boss. He chose to keep quiet about Klein. And so we learned from Kurtz's unwillingness to criticize Klein that he likes having the job of media critic more than he likes doing the job of media critic.