Daily Beast Axes Columnist Howard Kurtz Over Jason Collins Article

  • Rick Chandler

In basketball terms, this was missing a wide-open layup. Whether star Daily Beast columnist Howard Kurtz deserves to get fired for his monumental screw-up is not for us to say — that’s up to TDB editor Tina Brown, and she just made the call.

Did you see Game of Thrones on Sunday? Spoiler alert: Howard Kurtz = Rickard Karstark.

Kurtz, formerly of the Washington Post who was Washington Bureau Chief of Newsweek and the Daily Beast, in addition to hosting CNN’s Reliable Sources, started a firestorm of social media criticism on Wednesday with his column on Jason Collins. Kurtz wrote that, in his interview with Sports Illustrated, Collins held back the fact that he had been engaged.

In fact, Collins talked about the cancelled engagement at length in the SI piece: giving the distinct impression that Kurtz never actually read it. See Kurtz’s column here.

But as per usual in cases like these, it’s the aftermath that does more damage than the initial mistake. Kurtz then tweaked his online-only piece to read that Collins “downplayed” his relationship with a woman (Carolyn Moos). This, obviously, was not the case either (see graphic below).

A new volley of Twitter criticism hit the Daily Beast, and finally they had enough — after first retracting the column, they fired Kurtz earlier today.

Daily Beast:

Following almost 24 hours of Twitter-born criticism and ridicule, the Daily Beast has retracted a factually inaccurate blog post by Howard Kurtz, who had insisted that Jason Collins didn’t tell the whole story when he came out as gay.

In an unbylined post on Thursday, the Daily Beast acknowledged that Kurtz’s error-ridden piece resulted in a “misleading characterization” of the NBA player who made history on Monday when he made his homosexuality public in Sports Illustrated. Kurtz initially wrote that Collins failed to reveal that he was once engaged to a woman — 34-year-old model Carolyn Moos — but as it turned out, Collins did mention that he was engaged.

Here’s a pretty good timeline of events on Kurtz’s own Twitter page:

That this “had been in the works” might well be true, but to suggest, as Kurtz seems to be doing, that the timing of this is all a coincidence is pretty farfetched. “Deciding to part ways” was probably more like “Here are some cardboard boxes for your stuff, and Josiah here will help you remove your potted plant.”

The Huffington Post makes it all clear in this somewhat amusing graphic. Enjoy:

Kurtz’s screwup was pretty severe, to be sure: but should he have been fired for it? Like I mentioned above, if not for the clumsy attempt to cover his tracks, it probably wouldn’t have happened. If he’d just have come out and said “I goofed up, my bad,” I think this all would have went away.

But apparently that’s not how Howard Kurtz rolls. He’d rather curse your name and haunt you in the afterlife.