"Reliable Sources" host Howard Kurtz apologized Sunday for his incorrect coverage of NBA player Jason Collins, saying he had read a story by Collins too quickly and that as a media critic he should be held to a higher standard.
He also said his joking about Collins was "completely inappropriate" and that he was insensitive to address the fact that Collins was engaged to a woman at one point before he came out Monday as gay. He said his mistake was "sloppy and inexcusable."
"For all those reasons, I apologize to readers, to viewers, most importantly, to Jason Collins and his ex-fiancée."
Kurtz made his error in a Daily Beast story, and subsequently parted ways with the site, for which he had been Washington bureau chief. Kurtz said Sunday that an "amicable divorce" was already in the works with the site before the error.
He also said his work with another site, The Daily Download, was on a freelance basis and that he did not think he made the Collins error because he was spread too thin among the Daily Beast, the Daily Download, and CNN. Kurtz also said he was an unpaid advisor to Daily Download, and was not one of its founders.
CNN said Friday that Kurtz's status with the network has not changed and that he remains the host of "Reliable Sources."
Collins came out as gay on Monday in a Sports Illustrated piece. Kurtz claimed in a Daily Beast story that Collins "didn't come clean" about his past engagement to a woman. In fact, Collins had noted the engagement in the Sports Illustrated story.
Kurtz amended story, writing that Collins had "downplayed" the engagement. The Daily Beast then went further by retracting Kurtz's story and writing, "The Daily Beast sincerely regrets Kurtz's error—and any implication that Collins attempted to hide or obscure the engagement."
Kurtz included two other media reporters on "Reliable Sources" Sunday -- NPR's David Folkenflik and Poltico's Dylan Byers -- who grilled him on why people should consider him credible given the Collins mistake and others. Kurtz said he was committed to making sure his stories from now on would be "double and triple checked."
Folkenflik said other reporters have been "forced out... for lesser transgressions" than those Kurtz has committed.
"Why should we put stock in you as a media critic... when so much of your recent work has been sloppy and even reckless?" Folkenflik asked.
"Well, I would say we're talking here about a small minority of cases," said Kurtz, arguing that he should be judged by his work overall. "I have worked very hard over the course of three decades to establish credibility, and people can make their own judgment about weighing the occasional mistakes versus what I have done. But I am taking this very seriously."
From there, Kurtz tried to get back to doing what he usually does. The focus turned to media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.
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