The Mirror

To Catch A Politi-Thief: Politico Swipes Story, Then Gets Robbed Of One Of Its Own

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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The karma was swift.

As the saying goes, what comes around goes around. In this case, Politico stole a story from Mediaite like it was nothing. Politico Playbook writers Mike Allen and Daniel Lippman were informed that the journalistic crime had been committed. They kindly congratulated Mediaite columnist Joe Concha, the writer who broke the news. But they offered no correction or update and moved along on their merry way.

And then it happened to Politico.

Last Thursday morning, 12 minutes after midnight, Mediaite columnist Joe Concha broke the “exclusive” news of bold changes coming to MSNBC — namely that Chuck Todd was returning to MSNBC to host a one-hour program and that three programs were out. They included The Cycle, Now With Alex Wagner and The Ed Show With Ed Schultz.

By morning, some seven hours later, Politico Playbook also had the news and was also claiming EXCLUSIVE.

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Allen, whose face regularly pops up on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” must have insider sources.

So which story was exclusive? Can both be?

Well, no, not even close.

That is, unless you’ve graduated cuma sum laude from the WaPo Paul Farhi School of Media Reporting, which assumes that credit does not matter.

“Personally, I believe it’s a courtesy to credit the original news source of a story, but I don’t think it’s a requirement or even important,” he told me for a story I wrote for my previous employer about his attribution issues. “All news originates from somewhere and it’s the reporter’s obligation to check and verify.”

The Mirror sought comment from Politico Playbook on why it did not update its non-exclusive story that was labeled as such. A side note: Politico not properly crediting other publications is not something new.

To make matters worse, Politico‘s Dylan Byers followed up with a story on the big MSNBC news and cited — you guessed it — Politico Playbook as his source.

A boiling Concha could no longer contain himself. The following day he called out Politico for its blatant thievery.

He complimented Mike Allen and other Politico reporters repeatedly throughout his story and talked about “exclusivity” as a dying breed of journalism that often only unfortunately matters inside the media bubble.

But enough is enough.

“It’s hard for me to continue to hold the likes of Allen and Byers in such high regard moving forward, given the obvious attempt to claim something as a Politico exclusive when they (and anyone else following this) both know that just ain’t true,” he wrote.”

The best part of this whole attribution saga arrived Saturday when a Politico Europe writer announced that the Financial Times had stolen a story from Politico Europe.

Awww. Poor Politico.

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Concha wrote Politico Playbook’s proprietors and informed them that he’d broken the story several hours earlier and would appreciate proper attribution.

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He received “courteous” and “respectful” responses.

But that’s about all he got.

Which is a whole bowl of wrong.