Daily Beast Dumps Howard Kurtz
Late Thursday afternoon, about 24 hours after Daily Beast columnist Howard Kurtz published a false Daily Beast column accusing openly-gay NBA star Jason Collins of not being completely forthcoming about a past-engagement to a woman, Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown released a statement stating, "The Daily Beast and Howard Kurtz have parted company."
Kurtz had been the Daily Beast's Washington Bureau Chief, and was reportedly paid somewhere around $300,000 per year.
Prior to yesterday's debacle, there had already been talk that Kurtz was spreading himself too thin with the Daily Download, a new venture where Kurtz is listed as a member of the Board of Advisors. Kurtz frequently writes for the site, constantly tweets out Download articles, and regularly appears in short videos with the site's founder and editor, Lauren Ahsburn.
On top of all this, Kurtz hosts "Reliable Sources," a weekly CNN show about the state of media.
[ADDED] TVNewser reports that, although apparently unrelated to today's events, Kurtz is unlikely to be at CNN for much longer, "Kurtz’s current deal with the cable channel will likely be his last. ... It is not clear exactly when his current deal with CNN expires." [END OF UPDATE]
Yesterday, though, was a total meltdown. After publishing a story about Jason Collins that simply wasn't true, Kurtz then attempted to clean it up with a weak correction and the watered-down accusation that Collins had "downplayed" his prior engagement to a woman. But this also wasn't true. Collins was quite forthcoming about this episode of his life in a Tuesday interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America."
Eventually, the Daily Beast took it upon themselves to do the right thing and retract the entire Kurtz column.
UPDATE: A few minutes after the news of his departure with the Daily Beast was made public, Kurtz tweeted out the following:
The terseness of Tina Brown's statement pretty much says it all.
SECOND UPDATE: A Daily Beast source tells WaPo's Erik Wemple that yesterday was the last straw in a series of errors made by Kurtz that the publication worried was "interfering with the quality of The Daily Beast."
The errors, the source believed, were caused by Kurtz being distracted with his other ventures.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC