- The Fox News host Howard Kurtz pushed back on his panelists who blamed media bias for the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Environmental Protection Agency chief last week.
- Kurtz suggested that his network displayed bias by “barely” covering Pruitt’s resignation amid more than a dozen investigations into his conduct at the EPA.
The Fox News host Howard Kurtz pushed back on his show’s panelists who blamed media bias for Scott Pruitt’s resignation last week as the Environmental Protection Agency chief.
Kurtz said his network had failed to adequately cover the administrator’s resignation last Thursday amid more than a dozen federal investigations into his conduct at the agency.
“Pruitt’s resignation was barely covered on Fox in primetime or early the next morning … and I think that was a mistake,”Kurtz said on his Sunday program, adding that he spoke about the administrator’s exit on the Fox opinion host Laura Ingraham’s show. (Ingraham, a prominent right-wing personality, publicly called for Pruitt’s firing earlier this month.)
Two conservative panelists on Kurtz’s show argued that reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and elsewhere were motivated to conduct the investigative journalism that exposed dozens of allegations of unethical behaviour by Pruitt by their personal opposition to the Cabinet secretary’s conservative policy agenda.
Pruitt “was trying to take apart the Obama-era EPA regulations, and he accomplished a lot of that, and I think that fuelled the investigatory desires of journalists to try to take him down, and outside groups … and people within the EPA – leakers – to try to take him out for that very reason,” the Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio said. “He made himself a very easy target, clearly. But he would not have been the same level of target if he had a different job within the administration.”
Mollie Hemingway, an opinion writer at the conservative website The Federalist, added that Pruitt’s unusual living arrangement, in which he paid $US50 a night to rent a condo in Washington, DC, owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist, was approved by a senior official in the EPA’s ethics office.
The same senior ethics official later called for new investigations into Pruitt’s activities and allegations that he abused his government position and misused taxpayer money.
Kurtz has long criticised Pruitt’s ethically questionable activities, said to have included directing government employees to assist him with personal chores and spending copious government funds on luxury travel and security.
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