Just a little walking around money

In case you needed another reason to loathe Howie Kurtz, go to Gawker and enjoy. It looks a lot like Kurtz used his profile to help secure a whole lot of funding for a minor wingnut website called the Daily Download along with a minor figure named Lauren Ashburn. Kurtz seems to have drawn a significant salary and helped Ashburn to run the site, then he lied about it when Ashburn started appearing as an ‘independent’ expert on TV shows hosted by Kurtz. The website disappeared with what might or might not be about $600,000 unaccounted for (bolding mine).

After Ashburn abruptly shut down the website in late November, for instance, officials at Maryland Public Television issued several panicked emails about the importance of staying in the Knight Foundation’s good graces. BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, who first noticed the Daily Download’s closure, inspired a separate flurry of emails.

The site never reappeared.

Ashburn later told Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon that “our grant from Maryland Public Television and the Knight Foundation ended” and that “operating an advertising-based niche website without additional funding is tough going in this economy.” But, again, the site did have additional funding, $600,000’s worth, according to Ashburn’s revised budget.

It is not clear how the supplementary funds were spent if, as Ashburn suggests, they were not used to maintain the Daily Download’s website. Nor is it obvious why she never acknowledged the other funds.

You may recognize Laura Ashburn as one of the constant rotation of faces that reads the cue cards that Roger Ailes scribbles in Sharpie every single day. Sadly for Ashburn the scandal could get too hot for FOX and leave her on the street drinking cheap zinfandel from a paper cup, or worse, writing for Breitbart.

15 replies
  1. 1
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Convene a blogger ethics panel immediately.

  2. 2
    kindness says:

    See and if it was Hillary she got paid through we might find her dead as a result of a “suicide” in some State or Federal Park.

    Sorry. I know it is completely poor taste but I can’t help but provoke the firebaggers. Yea there is a circle of hell waiting for me. I’ll take the 7 1/2 please.

  3. 3

    Don’t walk around with your zin in a paper cup. Althouse will snatch that shit right out of your hand.

  4. 4
    Yam says:

    Boy, I’d hate to see both of them lose their jobs.

  5. 5
    PaulW says:

    $600,000 unaccounted for? That’s just peanuts to the billions disappeared during the Iraqi occupation…

    Simple question: how hard is it to sue Ashburn for fraud? I am assuming that at $600,000 this clears the legal hurdle for what constitutes fraud…

  6. 6
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @PaulW: IOKIYAR

    I’m waiting for one of the conservative “heroes” to show up in the office with a gun and try to take over, Freedomworks style.

  7. 7
    Joey Maloney says:

    “You fucked up – you trusted us!”

  8. 8
    RaflW says:

    Sad to see that wingnut welfare expose’ garners 7 (no 8!) BJ comments.

  9. 9
    El Caganer says:

    I can’t feel too sorry for the Knight Foundation. You fund wingnuts, you get what you deserve.

  10. 10
    Anton Sirius says:

    Mistah Kurtz… he dead

  11. 11
    Nutella says:


    Sad to see that wingnut welfare expose’ garners 7 (no 8!) BJ comments.

    Dog bites man. Happens every day.

  12. 12
    the Conster says:


    Howie Kurtz is a warmed over dog lunch who no one listens to or cares about, because he’s doing what he’s always done which is to carry wingnut water then pretend he doesn’t.

  13. 13
    LanceThruster says:

    Drinking right from the bottle helps save on the cost of paper cups (plus, sufficient backwash helps keep the moochers away).

  14. 14
    StringOnAStick says:

    You’d think Howie Kurtz would have been a little more circumspect, given the paper trail and all that. You’d think the same for the Outlaw Joisy Whale too, but no. Seems endemic.

  15. 15
    Cervantes says:

    @RaflW: Kurtz has been a reliable source of horse manure for a long time. The only thing in this episode that’s worth a comment is the following from Gawker’s J. K. Trotter: that Kurtz was “once one of the most powerful media critics in the United States.” I like the sound of that “once.”

Comments are closed.