Sunday, July 27, 2008

MSM Stealing Blog Content: Times Online Joining Growing MSM Trend?

John Edwards Love Child Story Goes International
No Attribution in TimesOnline Edwards story

Is This a New Business Model for a Mainstream Media in Trouble?

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"We contacted an AP senior editor and ombudsman both and both admitted to having had the article passed on to them, and both stated that they viewed us as a blog and because we were a blog, they did not need to credit us."
--Larisa Alexandrovna, Huffington Post & at-Largely

- - - - - - - - - - was alerted yesterday to both a good news-bad news situation by Doug Ross, of DougRoss@Journal.

The good news was the TimesOnline had used several of our quotes from our interview this week with David Perel, Editor-in-Chief of the National Enquirer, in a story it ran on John Edwards' run-in with the Enquirer's reporters at the Beverly Hilton while visiting his mistress and their love child.

The bad news was that the Times reporter, Sarah Baxter, in her story, Sleaze scuppers Democrat golden boy never credited DBKP as her source for the quotes, which were taken word-for-word from our story, "John Edwards Affair: Interview with David Perel, Editor-in-Chief of the National Enquirer".

Doug has an account at "Sunday Times runs Edwards-Mistress-Love Child story, rips off Blogosphere".

As Doug points out: "When this story first broke in December I wrote that the blogosphere renders the mainstream media less relevant by the day.

Through its questionable behavior, the Times has done nothing to counter my assertion."

At first, we tended to attribute the non-attribution to an oversight. After all, the story was widely mentioned this week, among other places at Slate, The Corner at National Review Online, Ace of Spades HQ and made the front page of FARK.

But upon closer inspection, doubts began to arise. We sent a letter yesterday to the Times Editor-in-Chief asking that proper credit be given. We also sent a copy to the Times News Desk.

Easy enough, right? Just add the proper credit and link to the corrected story on-line and publish a small correction later for the print edition.

Then we received some disturbing news.

DBKP's LBG sent in an email: I posted a comment on the story at the Times yesterday noting that the reporter did not attribute the Perel quotes to the story written by DBKP. My comment was never published." She included her comment to the Times:

"The reporter who wrote this story did not attribute the original source of the Perel quotes, a story at Death by 1000"

I received another email shortly thereafter from Doug Ross with basically the same message.

Though other comments to the story made after both LBG and Doug Ross' had been published, their's were not. So, someone at the Times was aware of their concerns.

This got us wondering if this practice was widespread among the major media; we then started searching the Internet.


At least in America, the MSM is mining blogs for stories and flipping off the original creators/writers when reminded whose work they're using.

The Associated Press commenced suing bloggers quoting AP stories in June 2008. AP's Intellectual Property Governance Coordinator Irene Keselman had this to say in a letter to Cernig, of Newshoggers:

"... you purport that the Drudge Retort's users reproduce and display AP headlines and leads under a fair use defense. Please note that contrary to your assertion, AP considers that the Drudge Retort users' use of AP content does not fall within the parameters of fair use. The use is not fair use simply because the work copied happened to be a news article and that the use is of the headline and the first few sentences only. This is a misunderstanding of the doctrine of "fair use." AP considers taking the headline and lede of a story without a proper license to be an infringement of its copyrights, and additionally constitutes "hot news" misappropriation."
--Fair Use and the Associated Press

The above mentioned dispute involved Drudge Retort using excerpts--some as small as 18 words, according to many reports--under Drudge Retort's own headlines.

AP, thy name is hypocrisy.

Larisa Alexandrovna, Huffington Post and at-Largely wrote about a disturbing experience with AP in "MSM Plagiarism Strikes Again – AP Welcome to the Party"

On March 14, 2006, the AP did their own article, left out any attribution to me or my publication and lifted not only my research but also whole sections of my article for their own (making cosmetic changes of course).

We contacted an AP senior editor and ombudsman both and both admitted to having had the article passed on to them, and both stated that they viewed us as a blog and because we were a blog, they did not need to credit us.

Alexandrovna goes on to state in the same article:

"Unfortunately this is far too common and has happened to me and to other writers and bloggers far too frequently. This time, however, we made a point of tape recording the AP apparatchiks admitting to taking our work and using it without attribution, stating "we do not credit blogs".

She then goes on to list six or seven of the most egregious examples of AP plagiarism at the time of her article, March 27, 2006.

More recently, the New York Times tried to take credit for the Iranian Missile Fauxtography.

The Iranian thugocracy doctored a photo adding in a fourth missile, most likely to cover up a failed one. The blogosphere exposed the manipulated photo. Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs [Iran's Photoshopped Missile Launch ] was the first to the scene. However, the New York Times blog, The Lede, is taking credit [in a Iranian image, a missile too many] for exposing this even though their report was given much later. FOX, obviously slacking on research, also credits the lede. Mac's mind: Ny Times Commits Plagiarism on Fake Iranian Missile Photos

The above article cited Ace, of Ace of Spades HQ, [Shock: NYT Blog Claims Credit For Fauxtography Story They Didn't Break] who said:

"Whether CJ (Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs) deserves all the credit, I don’t know. I do know the NYT deserves little of it, and ought to stop claiming otherwise."


The New York Times, forced to eat the bitter fruit from its looney-left editorial policies, may have hit upon the only business model that allows it to survive the death spiral of falling ad revenue, circulation and stock prices: lay off its news reporters and rely on ripping off content from the Blogosphere.

But the AP and NY Times are not alone.

There is so much news theft going on, in fact, that Hamilton Nolan, of Gawker, had to explain "The Golden Rule" in The Complete Guide to Stealing New Stories:

Media outlets can only steal outright from other media outlets that are not their direct competitors, and do not fall in their same class. First-class outlets: National TV news networks (including the big three on cable), the top five national newspapers, top-level weekly news magazines, and a select few websites like Drudge. Second-class outlets: Niche TV networks, local TV news affiliates, smaller metro papers, smaller but still well-respected news magazines, well-known internet news operations that don't fall in the top handful. Third-class outlets: Trade magazines, niche magazines, smaller local papers, niche internet news sites. Fourth-class outlets: Others.

Nolan also includes tips for the aspiring news thief.

All this occurs after many pompous, blow-hard pieces have been written by ex-members of the MSM, now posing as "professors of journalism", about the defects of citizen journalists, and bloggers, in particular.

This was all touched upon in "Citizen Journalism: “911, I’d Like to Report an Unregulated Blogger”. In that piece, David Hazinsky, an ex-NBC-reporter-turned-journalism-prof had railed against the 'dangers of citizen journalism'.

The premise of citizen journalism is that regular people can now collect information and pictures with video cameras and cellphones, and distribute words and images over the Internet. Advocates argue that the acts of collecting and distributing makes these people "journalists." This is like saying someone who carries a scalpel is a "citizen surgeon" or someone who can read a law book is a "citizen lawyer." Tools are merely that. Education, skill and standards are really what make people into trusted professionals. Information without journalistic standards is called gossip.

As we noted then: "One images Hazinsky in the pre-Revolutionary American colonies: he'd be the one beating on John Peter Zenger's printing press with a pitchfork--or shouting down Tom Paine."

So while the MSM dismisses bloggers and other citizen journalists as the great unwashed, it's not above "borrowing" stories from the rubes when it suits them.

As Alexandrovna noted, "What the AP and others are saying essentially is that, while "your work" is good enough for us to steal, you are not credible enough to cite."

"Trusted MSM news professionals" was our nominee for "Oxymoron of the Year".

Although DBKP did not yell, "Stop, thief!" when first alerted to the Times reporter using our work without credit, the more we researched the subject, the more it became apparent that that may have been the proper action to take.

We've been checking our email hopefully; we sincerely hope that an upbeat update will be added to this article.

We're loathe to lump the Times in with the likes of the NY Times and AP. We hope we're contacted--sooner rather than later.

by Mondoreb

NOTE: Ah my! We originally left out one source (see how easy it might be?) but caught it within 10 minutes of this article going up. We marked the quote as a quote--just forgot to include the link. It is now corrected.

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