Commenting on the sale of his former employer to IBT Media, journalist Howard Kurtz issued a back-handed compliment to Daily Beast/Newsweek head Tina Brown on Twitter this morning that “Tina tried hard to save Newsweek, which was probably impossible, but this captures the chaos, waste and dysfunction.”
The tweet so deliciously lacks self-awareness, however, as Kurtz was very much part of the “chaos, waste and dysfunction” he alludes to, having “parted ways” with the Web site after it was discovered that he is illiterate. The snafu, in which Kurtz wrote a factually incorrect critique on recently out NBA player Jason Collins is just one of the many stains on Kurtz’s long career as a journalist. It culminated with the ultimate joke: a meta-grilling of Kurtz on Kurtz’s own journalism grilling show, “Reliable Sources.”
The irony was not lost on Brown:
Beneath its snark, Brown’s tweet also reveals what the media world had assumed, but wasn’t able to confirm: That Kurtz indeed fired by Brown after the Collins incident.
But while Kurtz has been wrong about many things in his career, he doesn’t seem to be wrong in this case: Newsweek, which struggled since before it was purchased by The Daily Beast in 2010, was long-considered a poor investment even at the time and The New York Times reports that management under Brown was described as “a state of panic.”