Howard Kurtz Fired From Daily Beast After Jason Collins Error
A day after Howard Kurtz wrote a widely criticized story about NBA star Jason Collins, The Daily Beast has retracted the story and dismissed the Washington bureau chief.
"The Daily Beast and Howard Kurtz have parted company," said Tina Brown, the Beast's editor in chief, in a statement obtained by THR, adding that new political director John Avlon would assume Kurtz's duties.
In its retraction of the Collins story, the Beast notes that Kurtz committed several errors, saying the NBA player "didn’t come clean" about being engaged to a woman.
In Collins' essay for Sports Illustrated, which drew international attention, Collins wrote, “When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged."
Kurtz later updated his story, saying instead that Collins “downplayed” the engagement and “didn’t dwell on it."
"The Daily Beast sincerely regrets Kurtz’s error -- and any implication that Collins attempted to hide or obscure the engagement," the retraction reads.
It's not the first time Kurtz's work for the Daily Beast has drawn criticism. In January 2011, Kurtz published a correction to his interview that was billed as being with California Rep. Darrell Issa. Kurtz actually had interviewed a spokesman for Issa over the phone and claimed he was unaware of the mistake at the time. And in October of that year, Newsweek and the Daily Beast retracted a quote Kurtz attributed to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that was highly critical of the Obama administration. The quote actually came from another source.
Kurtz left his job as a media writer for the Washington Post in 2010 to join Brown at The Daily Beast, which later merged with Newsweek. He's hosted Reliable Sources, a CNN show focused on the media, since 1998.