Recent Fox News hire Howard Kurtz is getting a lot of (well-deserved) flak for a post he wrote for the Fox site about Facebook photos of Ben Bradlee's daughter-in-law:
Ben Bradlee, one of the great men of American journalism, celebrated his 92nd birthday yesterday, and his daughter-in-law paid tribute by posting a photo of them and saying "it is a dream to be part of his family."Gawker's response to this is typical -- "Welcome to Howie Kurtz’s Mid-Life Crisis." But I wonder if this was all Kurtz's idea.
That, however, is only one of the photos that Pari Bradlee has been putting on Facebook.
Her new profile picture, in a Swiss-cheese bra that leaves little to the imagination and long black leather sleeves and briefs, is so revealing that it drew a torrent of breathless comments. In another just-posted photo she is nude, shot from the back, twisting one arm behind her.
Pari Bradlee is a personal trainer and yoga instructor who gives private lessons and whose clients include many Washington A-listers. And she is marketing herself with a combination of Facebook's share-everything ethos and her famous last name.
Do the pictures go too far?
I have a hunch that this was an assignment. Remember, Rupert Murdoch is the guy who's brought Page 3 girls to British readers for more than forty years. He and Roger Ailes have made pretty, Botoxed, nipped-and-tucked female newsreaders into a key feature of Fox News, one that's inspired fan sites and even a terrible country song.
And both Murdoch likes a good old-fashioned media war -- think the New York Post vs. the Daily News -- while various parts of Fox, under Ailes, love to take cheap shots at NBC, CNN, The New York Times, and Politico.
Kurtz's Fox TV show debuts in twelve days, and I think he was asked for something that would make a splash, something that would flip the bird to the hated media establishment, and something with, y'know, a little sex in it. That's what Ailes would want, isn't it? And Murdoch?
Done, done, and done.
Even if this was what Kurtz was asked to do rather than something he cooked up on his own, he's a sleazy SOB for doing it. If it wasn't done on his initiative, he still deserves all the scorn heaped on him, and more. But I think others may also be to blame.