On Monday, I read the Sports Illustrated article by Jason Collins, the first pro-male team athlete to come out as publicly gay. I read it too fast and carelesly missed that Jason Collins said he was engaged previously to a woman and then wrote and commented that he was wrong to keep that from readers, when I was in fact the one who was wrong. My logic about what happened between Jason Collins and his former fiancee and what was and wasn't disclosed, in hindsight, well I was wrong to even raise that and showed a lack of sensitivity to the issue.When Kurtz says he read the Collins piece "too fast," he has put his finger on the problem. Not only did he not read the article thoroughly, but Kurtz also liked to crank out a lot of material every day. The demand of having to create lots of fresh content, often several times a day, caused Kurtz to become careless -- and as The Daily Beast's Washington bureau chief, with a two-decade reputation, he didn't have an editor checking what he wrote before it was published online.
Also, I didn't give him a chance to respond to my account before I wrote it and in addition my first correction was not as complete and as full as it should have been. In a video where I discussed the issue, I wrongly jokingly referred to something I shouldn't have joked about. I apologize to readers and viewers and most importantly to Jason Collins and to his ex-fiancee. I hope this very candid response will earn your trust back over time. It is something that I am committed to doing.
Our first mistake in journalism is to pretend that we don’t make mistakes. That hubris has gone before many a fall. Now, of course, our imperfection is no excuse, no cover to make mistakes. But knowing they will be made, the real question is what we do about them. That is when credibility is truly tested. Kurtz and CNN just set a new example for what to do.Like Jarvis, I hope CNN keeps Kurtz and "Reliable Sources" on the air. It is often the only time anyone in broadcasting turns a critical eye on the media business and the people inside it. However, many other journalists have been fired for similar (and fewer) transgressions -- which Kurtz knows and will no doubt take to heart as he tries to reassemble his shredded credibility.
Imagine if Dan Rather of CBS or Judith Miller of The New York Times had submitted to being interviewed by outside journalists not after some stupid remark but after reporting that was called into serious question.
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