Instead of probing how other media outlets are doing their jobs, CNN media critic Howard Kurtz spent a big chunk of his Sunday morning show “Reliable Sources” being questioned about his own work.
Kurtz took heat last week for a piece he wrote for the Daily Beast about NBA player Jason Collins coming out as gay. Kurtz criticized the piece Collins wrote for Sports Illustrated because Kurtz claimed the athlete didn’t acknowledge that he had once been engaged to a woman. Kurtz also made a video about the story that mocked Collins for a website called Daily Download to which he contributes.
The problem was that Collins indeed had addressed his engagement in the article. Kurtz then did a slow backtracking from his own story suggesting Collins had downplayed the engagement. But that didn’t make the controversy die down and eventually Kurtz issued a fuller and more sincere apology.
The Daily Beast has since let Kurtz go, although the media critic said that was in the works well before the Collins flap.
On “Reliable Sources,” Kurtz opened with a lengthy apology to Collins and the audience.
In his opening remarks, Kurtz said he read the Collins story “too fast” and carelessly missed the part where the NBA player addressed that he had been engaged to a woman.
“I apologize to readers and viewers and most importantly to Jason Collins and to his ex-fiancée. I hope this very candid response will earn your trust back over time. It is something that I am committed to doing,” Kurtz said.
Kurtz then opened himself up for grilling by two other media reporters -- NPR’s David Folkenflick and Politico’s Dylan Byers. Both questioned him about what went wrong with the Collins story but also brought up some other high-profile flubs by Kurtz including one in which remarks were attributed to U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) that actually came from his spokesman.
“I should be held to a higher standard,” Kurtz told the pair. He added that “sometimes under deadline pressure ... I have not been as careful” as he might have been in a longer investigative piece.
Asked if his work on the Daily Beast, for CNN and the Daily Download was stretching him too thin, Kurtz said he would “leave it to others to judge if I have taken on too much.”
Kurtz said he has worked “very hard over the course of three decades to establish credibility and people are going to have to make their own judgment about weighing the occasional mistakes vs. what I have done.”
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.