Though Fox News was effusive in its praise of new hire Howard Kurtz, several of the network's hosts and contributors have harshly criticized Kurtz in the past, labeling him “full of crap,” “a walking conflict of interest,” and someone who does “the bidding of Media Matters.”
In a June 20 press release, Fox announced that beginning July 1, Kurtz “will anchor a version of what is now called Fox News Watch, which focuses on the media, with a new format during the weekends,” while also serving as an on-air analyst and writer for FoxNews.com. His switch to Fox will mark the end of his tenure at CNN's Reliable Sources, a weekly media criticism show that he has hosted for the past 15 years.
Discussing Kurtz' 2010 move from The Washington Post to The Daily Beast, Fox News contributor Judith Miller said on Fox News Watch that Kurtz's dual role as a writer for Daily Beast and anchor for CNN made him “a walking conflict of interest.” When Kurtz criticized Fox News contributor Karl Rove following his historic on-air election night meltdown, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume tweeted that he “like[s]” Kurtz, but “should you be complaining about conflicts of interest, w/your dual role as media critic & CNN host?”
Judith Miller isn't the only regular panelist on Fox News Watch that has criticized Kurtz in the past -- fellow Fox News contributor Richard Grenell attacked Kurtz before the 2012 presidential election for supposedly concluding that “Romney has gotten bad press but it's deserved.” Grenell added, “Hey CNN, your media bias guy is biased.”
More recently, Kurtz was strongly criticized in April by Fox host Sean Hannity. Unhappy with Kurtz's commentary on Fox News host Dana Perino's interview with her former boss President George W. Bush, Hannity derided “liberal” Kurtz's CNN program as “Unreliable Liberal Sources,” referred to him as a “nitwit,” and continued, “I don't like him. He's full of crap. He thinks he's a sanctimonious, self-righteous, phony establishment journalist.”
Kurtz has also drawn the ire of hosts on Fox's The Five. Referring to the Perino-Bush interview, Five host Bob Beckel told Kurtz to “keep your mouth shut,” as his co-hosts cheered him on. During a June 11, 2012 segment on the leak of classified information, Five host Greg Gutfeld stopped the discussion to convey “a number of very, very important points,” including his belief that Kurtz resembles Looney Tunes character and Bugs Bunny race opponent Cecil Turtle.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly accused Kurtz of “once again” doing “the bidding of Media Matters,” and “empowering Media Matters,” despite Kurtz's “background in journalism” during a July 2012 broadcast. O'Reilly's criticisms stemmed from Kurtz's highlighting of a promise by O'Reilly that he would “apologize for being an idiot” if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court. Media Matters had previously written about O'Reilly's prediction.