Why Did Howard Kurtz Sit on an Embarrassing Correction for Six Weeks?

Howard Kurtz has quite a correction today! It seems that Howie mistakenly believed he was interviewing a Congressman, when in fact he was speaking to the Congressman's spokesperson. Weirder: Kurtz waited more than a month to correct the story. [Updated]

In late November, Kurtz wrote a story in The Daily Beast about "tough-talking" Republican Rep. Darrell Issa. The story was based on what Kurtz thought was a phone interview with Issa. But it turns out that, no, Kurtz had actually been speaking to Issa's spokesman, Kurt Bardella, the entire time. Hate when that happens! Today, Kurtz writes:

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."

Bardella had never told me that during the conversation, though there was one reference to "Darrell Issa" that I attributed to lawmakers sometimes speaking of themselves in the third person. To my best understanding, none of the opinions ascribed to Rep. Issa are inaccurate. But it's now clear the attribution should have been to his spokesman, and I erred in not dealing with this matter immediately.

That's a pretty insane error. But even insane errors can and will happen to every reporter, if they keep at it long enough. The real question here: Bardella apparently told Kurtz of the error on Nov. 29. Today is January 12, of the following year. Why the delay? It's hard to think of a real good reason a reporter would sit on a fairly major, embarrassing correction for well more than a month. We've emailed TDB's spokesperson, and we'll update if we get an explanation.

UPDATE: Keach Hagey at Politico gets an explanation from Howie:

"What made me realize that I should have dealt with this at the time, and I am kicking myself over that, was a call from Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker who had apparently gotten wind of the ‘confusion' from Bardella," he said, explaining that Lizza was working on a piece about Issa. "And then I did what I should have done immediately, which was just lay it all out."

Howie says that Issa's spokesman didn't actually ask for a correction, and Kurtz was just paralyzed by the weirdness of it all. Uh, you ain't the only one.

[Photo via Getty]