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Howard Kurtz began his weekly Sunday media show on CNN by apologizing to Jason Collins for his “sloppy and inexcusable” Daily Beast story that suggested the NBA player wasn’t telling the whole truth when he came out as gay in a Sports Illustrated cover.
“The mistake I made was sloppy and inexcusable,” Kurtz said. He read Collin’s SI story “too fast and carelessly missed” that the basketball player had written about his previous engagement to a woman.
Last Wednesday, Kurtz published a Daily Beast story entitled “Jason Collins’ Other Secret” that stated the player hadn’t mentioned his prior engagement to a woman. In fact, Collins had written about it in the SI essay, saying, “When I was younger, I dated women. I even got engaged.”
After the error was pointed out, Kurtz revised the language in the story and initially stood by the premise. “My first correction to that story was not as complete and full as it should have been,” the anchor conceded Sunday. He apologized to his readers, Jason Collins and the basketball player’s former fiancee.
“I hope that this very candid response may earn back your trust over time,” Kurtz said. “It is something I am committed to doing.”
The Daily Beast officially retracted the entire post Thursday. And Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown subsequently issued a statement saying that “The Daily Beast and Howard Kurtz have parted company.”
On Reliable Sources, Kurtz was interviewed by Politico’s Dylan Byers and NPR’s David Folkenflik about what led to his Newsweek/Daily Beast exit.
Byers and Folkenflik also asked Kurtz about his involvement with the website, the Daily Download. In a video for the site, Kurtz appeared with Download founder Lauren Ashburn and mocked Collins by saying that the player had “played both sides of the court” in reference to his prior engagement to a woman.
“My tone was completely inappropriate,” Kurtz said Sunday about the video. Ashburn also apologized for the video clip Sunday. In a statement on the Daily Download, she wrote: “To Jason Collins, who courageously revealed details about his personal life, I am deeply sorry. And, I also apologize to Daily Download readers who trust the information we provide.”
During the CNN interview, Kurtz characterized his Daily Beast firing as an “amicable divorce” whose timing did not necessarily have to do with the Collins story. “We were moving in different directions, after the closing of Newsweek‘s print edition. There were a lot of personnel changes. There was downsizing,” he said.
Kurtz will continue to host CNN’s Reliable Sources after this week. “There has been no status change with Howard Kurtz; he remains the host of Reliable Sources,” read a statement Friday from the network.
Watch the segment below:
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