Howard Kurtz Waits Over 40 Days To Issue World's Most Embarrassing Correction

Howard Kurtz

In what appears to be a really weird decision, Howard Kurtz is only now issuing a correction on a story he did on California Rep. Darrell Issa for The Daily Beast on November 27, 2010.

The story supposedly featured an interview with the colourful, “tough-talking” Rep. Issa, who once infamously told Rush Limbaugh that Obama “has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” (Issa later said he didn’t mean Obama was personally corrupt.)

In Kurtz’s original article [cached version] he attributes several statements to Issa, such as “The bureaucracy is innately susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse.”

Except that he wasn’t actually interviewing Issa — he was interviewing Issa’s spokesperson, Kurt Bardella.

In today’s statement, Kurtz said his “unambiguous understanding” was that he was speaking with Rep. Issa:

I subsequently learned that I was speaking to his chief spokesman, Kurt Bardella. None of the views ascribed to Issa are inaccurate, but the attribution throughout the story should have been to his spokesman, not to the congressman.

The funniest part of the story is that Kurtz actually says in the original story that Issa “has a tendency to refer to himself in the third person.”

The earlier version also mentioned Darrell Issa’s “tendency to refer to himself in the third person.” In fact, that usage was appropriate because the interview was with his spokesman.

Now for the strangest part: Kurtz actually heard about his mistake two days later — on November 29th.

On Nov. 29, after my story ran on The Daily Beast, I got a note from Bardella saying there had been “a little confusion” and “it wasn’t the congressman you spoke with, it was me speaking in his capacity as his spokesman.”

It’s a pretty huge, embarrassing blunder to wait so long to correct.

Kurtz further explained the delay to Politico:

I screwed up. I was so puzzled by the note that Bardella sent… that I wasn’t sure how serious he was. He didn’t ask for a correction, which he certainly is entitled to if I wasn’t in fact talking to Darrell Issa. Then I got busy with other things and I let it slip, and that was a mistake on my part.

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