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Howard Kurtz Scolds Media For ‘Prognostications’ On SCOTUS Amid Sea Of His Own Prognostications

Media critic and CNN contributor, Howard Kurtz, took the media to task on Thursday for offering erroneous predictions as to how the Supreme Court would rule on the constitutionality of health care reform. Kurtz slammed members of the media for their projections in the harshest of terms, seemingly unfazed by the fact that he engages in the very same practice he condemns.

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In his Daily Beast column from Thursday, “Train Wreck: How the Media Kept Blowing It on Obamacare,” Kurtz says the media “botched the big moment” of Thursday’s SCOTUS decision on health care reform by offering a series of prediction that varied wildly, yet were all – in varying degrees – off base. Yes we all know many in the media blew it.

Kurtz was particularly harsh with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who famously described the government’s arguments before the Supreme Court in March a “plane wreck.”

He also accused Washington Post reporters Robert Barnes and N.C. Aizenman of attempting to “leap to reading the justice’s minds” in their March piece summarizing the first day of oral arguments.

He goes after Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer and CNN personalities Wolf Blitzer and John King for overreaching in their straight news coverage when they reported incorrectly that the high court had ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional early Thursday .

This is the problem with so much media prognostication. We’re bad enough at forecasting presidential primaries and vice-presidential picks. But to try to divine what a court may do in a complicated legal case borders on malpractice.

“Malpractice,” eh?

Well, one would expect a sage and reserved authority like Kurtz to refrain then from engaging in any bold predicting of his own. Right?


…Huh. Well, Kurtz is being a bit tongue-in-cheek there. At least, he has not offered a series of dead-serious predictions related to the Supreme Court within the same week he offers a sanctimonious admonishment of the entire industry of punditry.



Ah, well… maybe it was just a bad month.

Kurtz is a valuable critic of the often hyperbolic news media but I guess sometime hyperbole and the natural desire to have “called it” can be infectious. Everyone likes to be able to say ‘I told you so,’ even media critics.

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