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Monday, September 28, 2020
MRC's Houck Dishes It Out, Can't Take It
Topic: Media Research Center

Curtis Houck is among the most vicious of the Media Research Center's writers. He routinely slings personal insults at CNN personnel -- he has called CNN employees "deranged" "lemmings," smeared another as "immature" with an "incapacity to behave like an adult" (one of his favorite attacks against CNN) and was absolutely giddy that pro-Trump protesters heckled the network. And that's just at NewsBusters, where he serves as managing editor; on his Twitter account, he obsessively bashes CNN's Oliver Darcy as a "conservative Benedict Arnold," whatever that means, accused another CNN personality of having "sold her soul" to join "Zuckerville," insists that "liberal media" like CNN are "the enemy of the people," has ranted that CNN and other outlets "want vaccines to fail and don't see any problem with people going full anti-vaxxer" to spite Trump and smeared the channel as "bad people. They're purposefully spreading fake news, but they don't care. Why? Because if you don't agree with their hysteria-filled way of doing things, they hate you."

But it seems Houck can dish it out, but he can't take it. Responding to a snarky tweet from CNN official Matt Dornic,  Houck served up his usual nastiness: "CNN's 'head of strategic communications' reminding us that CNN should come out and endorse Biden. Because if you're not a liberal and actually want to vote for Trump, CNN and people like Matt probably think you're racist, stupid, and just not that smart." Dornic -- clearly aware of Houck's history of responded unhinged invective -- responded in kind: Your gaslight game has improved significantly, Curtis. [clapping emoji]  If I didn’t know better, I‘d blame your tweet on an actual personality disorder rather than a desperate plea for attention and approval.

Suddenly, Houck decided to play the victim: "Actually, I've suffer [sic] from depression and attempted suicide, so nice of you to invoke mental illness as a joke to try and attack me instead of respond to the merits of CNN's hatred for people who disagree with them." Houck wrote in a separate tweet: "CNN PR lead joking about mental illness to someone who's battled depression and attempted suicide. That would be me."

Now, we don't attack people on the basis of their mental health, and we have never criticized Houck on that basis. But for Houck to hide behind his mental health issues (which, by the way, are not a secret; he has a thread regarding them pinned to the top of his Twitter page) as a way to change the subject and avoid engaging with people taking issue with his repeated nastiness is unfair, not to mention little more than a way to avoid responsibility for one's own words.

We are very much sympathetic to Houck's mental health struggles -- we'd be happy to talk with him about it sometime (though, in another attempt to evade criticism for his work, he's muted us on Twitter). But he doesn't get to hide behind them to keep from being called out on his nastiness. And if it's his job that makes him so vicious toward CNN that it feeds into such issues, maybe he should find another line of work.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 28, 2020 9:33 PM EDT

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