Former Washington Post media critic and Daily Beast Washington bureau chief Howie Kurtz is joining Fox News, the network said Thursday.
Kurtz, who is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources," will appear in that role for two more Sundays, and then will join Fox.
"Howie Kurtz has served as host of Reliable Sources for 15 years, developing it into a leading source for commentary and critique on the media," a statement for CNN said. "We thank him for all his contributions to CNN, and wish him all the best in this new opportunity. Reliable Sources will continue on CNN, and will be hosted by a variety of people in the coming months."
Kurtz, said in a statement: “I’m excited to be bringing my independent brand of media criticism to Fox News. I want to thank CNN for giving me such a prime opportunity over the years and was tempted to continue, but the chance to create a revamped program and establish a strong online presence was too good to pass up. I hope to add a new dimension to Fox’s coverage and have some fun while diving into the passionate debates about the press and politics.”
Kurtz will be writing a column for Fox's online platform as well as reporting throughout the day for various shows on the channel. Kurtz is one of the hardest workers in media.
Having competed against him when he was at the Post and having been a recurring panelist on "Reliable Sources" the last eight years, I have to say this is good news not just for Kurtz, but also Fox. Outstanding news for Fox.
I expect social media will be busy with colleagues talking about what they think they now know about Kurtz's politics because he's joining Fox.
I have gotten to know Kurtz pretty well professionally over the last eight years and have had what I consider some candid conversations with him when I found myself in situations where I needed advice on the mores of Washington media and politics from someone I trusted. And I can tell you after all that time, I do not know what Kurtz's politics are. I really have no idea,
And I will tell you something else, I don't particularly care, because I have never seen any kind of politics color the way he presented a topic when we were competing as rival reporters or discussing as host and guest on "Reliable Sources." Kurtz is one of the last "down the middle" guys in journlism, which is the real reason I like him so much.
He will be working for Michael Clemente, vice president of news. who has done a lot to bring credibility to the news portion of Fox News, particularly with staffers in Washington like national correspondent James Rosen.The Kurtz hire will buttress that in an undeniable way.
Clemente will use him on other shows throughout the day, such as Bret Baier's neswscast. And what as asset Kurtz will be in covering that space where politics and media meet during election cycles.
Think of it, no one on cable news has a real media critic -- except Fox News now. When a big media story breaks, are you going to go to a channel with a reporter who has no background in media coverage trying to tell you what it means -- or are you going to the channel that has Kurtz?
I am thinking of this because of what I saw last night when I tuned into CNN after news of the death of James Gandolfini. What I saw was empty-headed, grab-anyone-you-can-to-blabber coverage.
As deep as CNN can go on politics, it was Access Hollywood out-of-it when it came to the cultural significance and artistry of Gandolfini. From the lousy selection of images and videotape to the vapid conversation, it was embarrassing. And I wondered why CNN couldn't afford a real popular culture correspondent -- or media critic -- who could write an online column as Kurtz will do and report for shows like Jake Tapper's throughout the day and night.
I remember sitting on the set of "Reliable Sources" one Sunday waiting for the show to start when we got news of the death of CBS correspondent Mike Wallace. Kurtz threw away the script for the top of the show and we went live with a conversation about Wallace that was only about 2,000 times deeper and more informed than what the channel did with Gandolfini Wednesday night with its Larry King meets Piers Morgan blather.
While some envious media critics and reporters will probably chirp away about the Kurtz hire in partisan political terms, I am guessing viewers who have come to trust Kurtz for his impartiality on CNN will make the move with him to the media show he will be hosting at Fox. And he will find a new audience as Fox viewers read his online reporting and see him on-air throughout the day and night.
For my money, the biggest platform in cable TV news just got a little bigger and better today.