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CNN's Howard Kurtz: Mea Culpa
Well, that was different: Howard Kurtz, TV's -- in fact, all of U.S. media's -- most prominent critic/observer stood (or rather sat) before two inquisitors to deflect charges that he was sloppy, over-extended and too often wrong.
He did this, by the way, on his very own show, "Reliable Sources," a Sunday CNN fixture for well over a decade. Happened this morning.
I posted below, but you'll maybe need a bit of background. Kurtz, formerly the Washington Post's prominent media reporter, was let go by the Daily Beast last week. (He has been Washington Bureau chief.) Reasons why are unknown, but that didn't stop the Twittersphere from jumping all over him, charging that he had made terrible mistakes -- or maybe not so terrible, but kind of dumb -- and that it all somehow explained the termination.
Of course, as mentioned, no one knows the real story, but Kurtz, in a post on Jason Collins -- the Wizards' center who came out and said he was gay on SI.com last week -- said Collins had neglected to mention that he had been engaged to a woman. Why this was relevant in the context of the Kurtz post is unclear, but the fact of the matter is that Collins had indeed said he had been engaged. Kurtz was wrong.
Other reporters suggested Kurtz had been spending too much time on an obscure media site called "The Daily Download," and for this reason had been remiss in his Daily Beast duties.
And so on.
Go on. Admit it. You are really bored by this post, right?
Nevertheless, it is interesting, and quite possibly Kurtz's tenure at CNN is now imperiled as well. Which would be a shame, because his program is a vital part of the discourse on media. Meanwhile, if Kurtz needs personal references, I'm happy to supply them. I've known him for years, known his work even longer. He is a superb reporter -- and above all, fair.
If anyone cares to quibble with this, I refer them to his work on the Howell Raines implosion at the New York Times, and much much more. He's first-rate. Moreover, I have no personal or professional interest in saying so; I've been on Kurtz's show once or twice, and we know each other only slightly. He's the best at what he does. End of story.
In any event, here's his mea culpa: