Updated 4:15 p.m.
It hasn’t been a great week for Kurtz. The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone questioned the media critic’s status as a contributor for the Daily Download, a media-reporting Web site where he appears frequently in videos alongside Daily Download founder Lauren Ashburn. “Reliable Sources,” Kurtz’s Sunday program on CNN, also frequently features Ashburn. And then came the Jason Collins engagement mistake, which stemmed from a first-person by the gay professional basketball player in Sports Illustrated.
A source at The Daily Beast suggested Thursday that the parting of ways was a matter of accrual, saying, “It definitely wasn’t a reaction to what happened yesterday with the Sports Illustrated post. It’s been something that for quite some time — there’ve been some errors like this.”
Kurtz drew attention for a 2011 misquote of Nancy Pelosi and for a 2010 story in which he misattributed quotes to California Rep. Darrell Issa.
The source added, “Howie’s been quite distracted with other ventures. We were at the point where it was interfering with the quality of The Daily Beast.” Those other ventures consist of Kurtz’s work for the Daily Download and his CNN program, both of which, the source says, were fully allowable under the terms of Kurtz’s employment with The Daily Beast.
The longtime Washington reporter, says The Daily Beast source, has spent a “considerable amount of his energies” promoting Daily Download content on social media, “as opposed to stories on The Daily Beast.”
The result of Kurtz’s divided attention: “It kind of lets those people down,” says the source, referring to Daily Beast staffers, “when you have the feeling that someone in a senior position in the organization isn’t as focused.”