A day after Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway identified the so-called whistleblower on the air, MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz voiced his disapproval, saying “I don’t think that should have happened.”
Hemingway revealed the name of anti-Trump complainant Eric Ciaramella on Sunday during a discussion about whether or not the media should disclose his name.
“The media should be in the business of sharing information that is in the public interest,” Hemingway argued on Sunday. “We’re not seeing this kind of concern that the media has for this whistleblower that they have had for other people. You had CNN doxxing a grandmother because they didn’t like what she put on Facebook. … You have had the New York Times out a CIA station chief in Iran. You don’t see concern when it doesn’t match their political motivation.”
Turning to Clinton adviser Philippe Reines, Kurtz then asked why Republican Sen. Rand Paul was asking the media to “do his dirty work.”
Reines relied that it was because Paul is a “Hypocrite and a weak man who wants someone else to do his dirty work.”
But Hemingway pointed out that many media outlets have already identified the anti-Trump complainant, so she was confused as to why the rest of the media was still pretending he hadn’t been outed.
“The New York Times did all but reveal his name in September,” she said. “And RealClearInvestigations has identified a man named Eric Ciaramella as the whistleblower, so it’s already out there and we could be talking about this reporting.”
Looking a bit shell-shocked, Kurtz abruptly stepped in to say, “I just want to clarify that I don’t know that that is the person.”
“I don’t know whether this is actually the person or not, and I don’t want to speculate about that,” he added. “But there have been a few conservative outlets and commentators that have floated that name.”
For the past week, YouTube and Facebook have been deleting all material publicizing Ciaramella’s name, while Twitter has been allowing his name to be posted.
The New York Times all but named the Whistleblower. Some media is reporting on his name but others are refusing.
— ALX ???????? (@alx) November 10, 2019
Hemingway wasn’t the first person on Fox to name the suspected “whistleblower.”
Conservative radio host Lars Larson outed Ciaramella during a live Thursday afternoon segment on Outnumbered Overtime, which is hosted by Harris Faulkner.
Larson told The Hollywood Reporter why he did it: “I named him because the American people deserve to know the name of the man making the accusation that the Democrats hope to use to remove an American president.”
As recently as Tuesday, Fox News has said publicly that it has not confirmed the whistleblower’s identity. “We have read some reports that give a name,” the network’s Brit Hume said on air. “We haven’t confirmed it, so we’re not saying it.”
Asked on Thursday about the admission, the network said in a statement: “Fox News has not confirmed or independently verified the name of the whistleblower,” the network said in a statement on Thursday.
Additionally, the Democrat-run House Intelligence Committee published Ciaramella’s name last week when it accidentally released it in the transcript of testimony from Alexander Vindman.
A Fox executive reportedly instructed production staffers to “NOT fulfill any video or graphic requests” regarding the person’s identity.
Investigative journalist Paul Sperry named career CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, 33, in an article late last month, and many conservative news sites quickly followed suit.
Ciaramella left his White house National Security Council post in mid-2017 amid concerns about negative leaks to the media, and is reportedly now a deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia on the National Intelligence Council where he continues to work with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Ukraine policy.
Appearing on Fox News’ The Daily Briefing, Monday afternoon, Kurtz told host Dana Perino that he didn’t think it was “the role of the media to disclose the identity of the whistleblower.”
“As you know, a name came up on my program yesterday,” he added. “I don’t think that should have happened.” he continued.
Hemingway maintains, meanwhile, that she did nothing wrong. “Mollie Hemingway says that she was simply repeating a name that had been bandied about by certain sites and no one had told her that Fox and other organizations were not using the name,” Kurtz said.
He went on to argue—without evidence—that there had been “no independent reporting that this is the guy, despite what some partisan sites are saying.”
RCI however is part of the Real Clear Foundation, a nonpartisan 501(c3) news organization.
“Even if we did have independent reporting, I don’t see why the media should be baited into naming somebody because I think it violates the spirit of the Whistleblower Protection Act,” Kurtz added.
But the Whistleblower Protection Act bars agency authorities from taking or threatening to take retaliatory action “against any employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that employee or applicant.” It does not bar the media from naming a “whistleblower” who makes allegations against a sitting president as Democrats ramp up impeachment efforts.
Kurtz concluded by saying he has dealt with a lot of whistleblowers over the years and that his opposition to naming Ciaramella was “neither a pro- nor anti-Trump stance. He repeated his contention that media outlets shouldn’t be pushed into naming the “whistleblower” because “certain politicians don’t want to take the heat for identifying this person themselves.”