The media critic, fired from The Daily Beast, is now under review with his CNN bosses
Howard Kurtz and his weekly “Reliable Sources” media talk show are under review after his firing from The Daily Beast over erroneous reporting, a CNN spokeswoman told TheWrap on Thursday.
"We are reviewing it," the spokeswoman told TheWrap.
Kurtz has long been one of the most respected media critics in the country. He spent 29 years at the Washington Post before being lured to run the Daily Beast’s Washington bureau. CNN has aired the show on media since 1992 and Kurtz has hosted it since 1998.
But the show has had its critics, and Kurtz is vulnerable after erroneously reporting in the Beast that gay basketball player Jason Collins "didn't come clean" about the fact that he had been engaged, and later amended his post to say that Collins "downplayed" the engagement.
Jeff Zucker, the new chieftain at CNN is “supportive” of Kurtz’s show, but the network is unhappy with the error and is reviewing it, the spokewoman said. Another senior executive at Turner said that there was no planned change with the show, but that it would ultimately be Zucker's decision.
But the firing at the Daily Beast probably has more behind it than merely the lunk-headed gaffe over Collins, which Kurtz should have been smart enough to immediately admit and rectify. (Instead he prevaricated, and made it worse with a video about it with his friend, Lauren Ashburn.)
Where Kurtz might have created friction in the Daily Beast newsroom was with that very video venture called The Daily Download, an independent business he started with Ashburn. Kurtz told me more than once he had editor Tina Brown’s permission to pursue the independent venture, but it clearly had the potential to create resentment within the newsroom.
“Reliable Sources,” which takes a weekly hard-headed look at media and its gaffes (the very kind that got Kurtz fired), has its longtime critics within CNN and has been on the verge of being cancelled in the past.
Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent is known to be a fan of the show, and has protected it from cancellation over the years.