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Howard Kurtz Admits He ‘Screwed Up’ Correction Delay

Daily Beast writer cops to error in story a month after learning about it

"I screwed up."

That's what Howard Kurtz, Daily Beast media writer and host of CNN's "Reliable Sources," told Politico on Wednesday when asked why he didn't issue a correction to a story, published in November, when he learned about it ("a few days after it ran") and waiting until this week to do so.

One reason Kurtz would've wanted to keep it under wraps: as far as corrections go, this one is particularly embarrassing.

When I conducted the telephone interview for my Nov. 27 article on California Rep. Darrell Issa, my unambiguous understanding was that I was speaking with Rep. Issa. I subsequently learned that I was speaking to his chief spokesman, Kurt Bardella. None of the views ascribed to Issa are inaccurate, but the attribution throughout the story should have been to his spokesman, not to the congressman. We have since corrected the article. The earlier version also mentioned Darrell Issa’s “tendency to refer to himself in the third person.” In fact, that usage was appropriate because the interview was with his spokesman.

Reasonable enough. It appears Kurtz thought Issa was like Rickey Henderson!

It also appears Kurtz would've never corrected his piece, but the New Yorker found out about the incident while pursuing its own profile of Issa.

As Kurtz explained to Politico:

I was so puzzled by the note that Bardella sent — about my not having talked to the man I repeatedly called congressman, and who identified himself as Darrell Issa — that I wasn’t sure how serious he was. He didn’t ask for a correction, which he certainly is entitled to if I wasn’t in fact talking to Darrell Issa. Then I got busy with other things and I let it slip, and that was a mistake on my part. What made me realize that I should have dealt with this at the time, and I am kicking myself over that, was a call from Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker who had apparently gotten wind of the ‘confusion’ from Bardella. And then I did what I should have done immediately, which was just lay it all out.