Howard Kurtz Wrote the World’s Worst Column on Jason Collins

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Howard Kurtz.Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz really thought he had a winner on his hands. He alone seemed to notice that Collins failed to mention in his supposed tell-all coming-out piece that he'd previously been heterosexually engaged. Armed with unique insights into the significance of this glaring omission, Kurtz wrote an entire column based around the idea that Collins was not the brave truth-teller he'd passed himself off to be:

One of the reasons that Jason Collins’ coming out packed such an emotional punch is that he appeared to be telling all ... Except that he left one little part out. He was engaged. To be married. To a woman ...

Collins was hailed by the media and other public figures for having the courage to tell his story. Turns out it was an edited story ...

I have to assess a foul for the incomplete nature of the disclosure. Did Collins think his longtime squeeze was just going to stay silent? Perhaps in his next interview, as he tries to get another basketball team to pick him up, Collins can tell us the rest of the story.

There was one major flaw in Kurtz's premise. Collins did mention his engagement to a woman:

When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged.

Alerted to this glaring oversight, Kurtz quickly tweaked the text of his column to make it factually accurate. "He left one little part" was changed to "he downplayed one detail." "Turns out it was an edited story" became "He mentioned the engagement to Sports Illustrated, but didn't dwell on it." A correction was belatedly affixed to the story long after the changes had been made. 

On Twitter, Kurtz apologized for his error while arguing that his column still had merit:

What does this mean? We don't know. It's true Collins didn't mention in his story that he only recently came out to his ex-fiancée. But why does this mean Collins "didn't tell the whole story"? This seems like a minor detail, not a major one that objectively should have been included in Collins's story. The truth is that Kurtz wouldn't have written his column knowing what he knows now, but since he did write it, he's just going to try to save face by pretending it still works.