Tina Brown and Howard Kurtz Square Off Over Newsweek

Media Critic's Departure Not So Mutual as He Suggested, Ms. Brown Says

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Safe to say there's no love lost between former Daily Beast and Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Howard Kurtz and his old boss Tina Brown.

Mr. Kurtz got Ms. Brown's attention Monday when he approvingly tweeted a link to a bruising New York Times piece about her tenure editing The Daily Beast, which she still does, and Newsweek, whose remnant online-only edition was sold over the weekend.

Ms. Brown fired back quickly, and not terribly kindly:

The tweet from Ms. Brown has drawn hundreds of retweets and dozens of responses, many of them encouraging:

Others weren't that supportive of either figure:

As alluded to in the Twitter exchange, Mr. Kurtz, a longtime media critic who carved out a name for himself while working at The Washington Post, left The Daily Beast in May after he wrote a post for the site about NBA player Jason Collins, who acknowledged he was gay in a Sports Illustrated article. In his post, Mr. Kurtz called out Mr. Collins for not mentioning that he had been engaged to a woman.

The only problem was that Mr. Collins actually had included that fact. The Daily Beast retracted the article.

At the same time, questions arose about Mr. Kurtz's involvement with a website called Daily Download.

The Daily Beast didn't cite a reason for his departure at the time, though Mr. Kurtz weighed in on Twitter, saying: "I've enjoyed my time at the Daily Beast but as we began to move in different directions, both sides agreed it was best to part company." In a separate tweet, Mr. Kurtz said the move had "been in the works for a while."

Ms. Brown's tweet today seemed to suggest otherwise.

The New York Times story Mr. Kurtz referred to in his own tweet today explores the decision by IAC to merge The Daily Beast with Newsweek -- a venture that IAC chairman Barry Diller has publicly called a "mistake" -- and Ms. Brown's management style in the wake of the deal.

The Times story portrays Ms. Brown running Newsweek and The Daily Beast in a "state of panic" and spending extravagantly on magazine assignments. In one instance, Ms. Brown reportedly sent Robin Givhan, a Pultizer Prize-winning fashion writer, to Paris on only a few days' notice to score an interview with Vogue Editor Anna Wintour that she had not agreed to.

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